My dad’s side of the family is from New England, and my grandfather was full blood Norwegian which meant their family cooked all the time. It was something they grew up with. It makes sense that my dad grew up in one of the agricultural areas in Maine. Fresh food is a way of life in Maine (especially if it deals with potatoes). Good home cooked meals were very family oriented and in mid-late fall when it gets cold a lot of baking is done. I think that is where my love for baked goods originally came from. It brings a smile to people, knowing that time and effort was put into something for your benefit.
Fall is often one of my favorite times of the year because it means thanksgiving is almost here. I love baked deserts, and they seem to be most easily expected during the fall. With the warm weather replaced by cold, the oven can roar without further heating an otherwise hot house. It also means Punkin’ Chunkin’ is near, an annual event where unsuspecting gourds are shot, hurled, and flung across a field. All with the intention of getting the longest throw. Thanksgiving also brings my family together. It gives us time to reconnect and to spend a few days together as a family. We love sweet breads such as banana bread and pumpkin bread. Enjoying both allows multiple seasons where ingredients are available for making fresh breads with fresh ingredients such as pumpkin.
The nice thing about pumpkin is it takes on the flavor of what you mix it with. So when eating a pumpkin pie, what you really taste is the spices. There are many ways to make pumpkin bread: with real pumpkin, pumpkin pie mix, and from a box. It takes a bit more time to deal with the pumpkin, and if time is an issue you can always use the canned filling. But obviously fresh pumpkin will yield much better results compared to whatever comes out of a box! With my dad being from Maine I have pulled out one of my favorite pumpkin bread recipes.
Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
- 15 oz of fresh pumpkin puree or 1 can pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.