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I know it’s not fall, so what?

January 18, 2010

Mrslovey’s hometown has a Farmers Market that’s been operating in the same location for 84 years.  It’s definitely an institution, although I must admit that I have never made it there.  When we lived out there, we didn’t appreciate good local food the way we do now.  And now that we’re back in New England, opportunities to check out the market are few and far between.  Last summer Mrslovey and her mother decided to go visit the old market.  Having driven 13 hours straight the day before (and not being a member of the insane early riser club, like those two are), I opted to stay in bed.

They came back just after I woke up, proudly showing off the vast quantities of fresh produce they had acquired.  And there, in the bottom of the bag, was the most prized purchase of the morning.  The market had put together a cookbook as a fundraiser, so they each bought a copy.  People, this is no tiny mimeographed handout.  This book is substantial – over 180 pages.  The majority is, of course, delicious-looking recipes from good solid midwestern farm folk.  Also included is a history of the market, with a nice selection of pictures showing how it’s changed (and stayed the same) over the years.

Just like any community cookbook, there are sometimes multiple versions of the same recipe.  When I decided I wanted to make bread to use some pumpkin I had put up last fall, I had several to choose from.  I used two of the cookbook recipes as a basis, and added my own  variation (and glaze) to it.  It came out VERY moist, and the glaze added just the right touch.

PUMPKIN BREAD WITH MAPLE GLAZE

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice *

1 2/3 cups flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup canned pumpkin**

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins

1 cup water

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a standard loaf pan.
  • Put raisins and water small saucepan.  Simmer on low for about 10 minutes, until raisins are plump.  This will look gross, but that’s ok, promise.
  • Drain raisins, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water.
  • Combine all ingredients (including raisins and 1/3 cup raisin water) together in a large bowl.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool on rack in pan for 1 hour, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

MAPLE GLAZE

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup maple syrup***

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to blend thoroughly.  This glaze is rather thick, almost like a frosted doughnut glaze.  If you want a thinner glaze, add milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency.  Spread glaze over bread once you’ve removed it from the pan.

*Or, use your favorite pumpkin pie spice mix.  I used one I had made earlier for a cookie recipe.

**I used fresh (which I had pureed and frozen last fall), which I think made it moister.  If you’re going to use fresh, let it strain for a good long time before adding to your recipe.  I found that 2 cups of frozen pumpkin purée ended up yielding 1 cup of strained.

***Please, use real maple syrup.  If the bottle is shaped like a kindly old lady, just eat the bread without the glaze.

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