I can’t believe we’re halfway past November and I have to to share a fall dessert!
Today I’m sharing pumpkin chocolate chip bread and shedding some fascinating history on canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is absolutely iconic of America, and it was one of the earliest foods brought to Europe from America.
Pumpkins became huge in pop culture – referenced in poetry, literature, and ads – and thus, pumpkins found themselves in the slavery/abolitionist debate (apparently many abolitionists adored pumpkin pie). When Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, people in Confederacy angrily felt Yankee traditions were being imposed on the South, even calling it “Yankee abolitionist holiday” and they already had Christmas – not that one can ever have too many holidays in my opinion (source, source, and source)
This goes to show that we American, even way back in the 1800s, can and will protest about anything. Some things don’t change much.
In 1929 Libby’s meat canning company in Illinois decided to branch into pumpkin canning. It was a hit, as people no longer had to roast and strain their own squashes – if you’ve ever tried yourself, it’s certainly a bit of work. Libby makes more than 80% of the world canned pumpkin, and their pumpkin breed is actually called Libby’s, a subtype of the Dickenson pumpkin. They actually look more like butternut squash than the pumpkin for what we think of as a traditional pumpkin (source and source).
I was craving some pumpkin bread (with chocolate chips of course) and whipped up this pumpkin bread recipe adapted from Epicurious.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
generous 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/8 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl. Beat the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and 2/3 cup water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.