While discussing my favourite foods with a friend from LA recently I discovered some generalities about Americans and Australians – notably that many residents of the US don’t seem to find a savoury pumpkin dish enticing while myself and many Australian’s find it hard to grasp this popular vegetable as a dessert ingredient. Pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg? Puh-lease! Pass me the salt, pepper and spices instead!
It was a very interesting conversation about cultural food differences and when I mentioned I was baking a pumpkin quick bread – not with the expected canned pumpkin pie and sweet spices, but with home-made roasted pumpkin puree, onion, chilli and garlic – I was met with a flurry of outraged emoticons and exclamation marks. For a North American, my recipe choice was completely unfathomable and a slap in the face to this sweet-natured, orange-hued vegie.
I won’t be easily swayed from my savoury-pumpkin loving ways however and this both this pumpkin quick bread and it’s roasted pumpkin puree base are intensely flavourful. Canned pumpkin isn’t something easily found in Australia (USA Foods stock it) and there’s really no need to go looking for it when a variety of pumpkin are sold year-round in our supermarkets and green grocers. You can use any leftover pumpkin puree for the spicy pumpkin bread recipe, or make some from scratch by roasting pumpkin, onion and garlic before processing into a silky puree. Try my favourite pumpkins for roasting – Japla or Butternut – and buy the most pungent and strong tasting variety of garlic you can find.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled and quartered
- Preheat oven to 200C. Line a roasting pan with baking paper. Gently toss pumpkin, onion and garlic cloves with oil and arrange in a single layer on baking tray. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
- Allow pumpkin mixture to cool until comfortable to handle and transfer to a food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree. Use immediately or store in a closed container in the fridge for 3-5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
- 1 cup Home-made Savoury Pumpkin Puree (or 1 cup pumpkin puree)
- 2 biodynamic, organic or free range eggs (or 2 gel eggs for egg-free/vegan)
- ¾ cup raw, organic or full cream milk (or non-dairy milk of choice for dairy-free/vegan)
- ½ cup butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free/vegan)
- 1 cup whole spelt flour (or wholemeal flour (not wheat-free))
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cayenne powder
- 1½ ground tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp celtic sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pepitas
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a bread tine loaf. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, milk and butter, mixing well to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and spices. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the pumpkin mixture, folding gently until just combined. If dough is too dry and stiff add more milk, one tablespoon at a time.
- Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle pepitas on top, pressing them down gently into the dough. Bake loaf for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the tray and remove from baking tray to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.