I cannot claim to know Julie Potter, but I sure do know her Pumpkin Bread (although I am an authority on how lovely she is via email, since I wrote to ask her if I could post her recipe and got the most beautiful of replies – thanks again, Julie!).
I think we all have those food blog posts that we happen upon that snag us right away. For me, Julie Potter’s pumpkin bread was one of those posts. A recipe that snagged me, and I kept meaning to make. I even printed it three times with the intention of making it. No idea what happened, because here we are, a solid year after Maggy over at ThreeManyCooks posted the recipe, and I’m just now getting around to making it.
Guess what? Maggy never steers me wrong. This bread was worth. The. WAIT. It’s pillowy, pumpkiny, moist, and sweet. Everything you want in pumpkin bread on a cold Autumn morning.
I think of Autumn as our time, James’s and mine. We met in Autumn, I moved to the U.K to be with him in the Fall of 2003, and we married in the Autumn of 2005. When the first leaves start to fall, when there’s that first hint of crispness in the air, and the light starts to go a bit more grey: for me, it speaks of romance. Of walking in Hyde Park and seeing the Peter Pan fountain for the first time. (You know the one – it appears at the end of Hook. Robin Williams’ character wakes up at the base of it.) Of being proposed to at London’s Marble Arch. These are all the things that the crunch of leaves and the first sight of pumpkins brings to my mind and my heart. And so yes, I love Autumn more than any other time of year.
Because of this, I come alive in Autumn. I cook more (soups, stews, savory pies), I bake more (pumpkin empanadas, pumpkin bread, pumpkin french toast!), and darn it, I just love life more. This year’s Autumn has been filled with wonderful adventures: apple picking, soaking in our new hot tub in the dead of night with the trees and stars above us, and next weekend the arrival of a dear friend of ours from Vermont whom we don’t see very often.
She has a long drive from Vermont, a good seven hours. So, dear friends, I will make her Julie Potter’s pumpkin bread, and I will ready the tea kettle. I can’t wait to serve them both on a tray in front of our fireplace, where we’ll laugh and natter and have a wonderful time making new Autumn memories for me to cherish.
What’s your favorite season? Do you love Autumn (and pumpkin) as much as I do?
Julie Potter’s Pumpkin Bread
Makes two 9-inch loaves
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 sticks softened butter
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 can (16 ounces) pure pumpkin
2/3 c. water
Ready two 9×5″ loaf pans with butter and flour or baking spray that includes flour. Make sure oven rack is in the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350F.
Mix dry ingredients and spices in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is fully incorporated. Then add pumpkin and beat again until smooth.
Alternating, add dry ingredients and water in increments until both are fully incorporated. Divide dough between the two prepared pans, and bake until golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.
The original recipe advises “about 1 hour”, but your mileage may vary. My loaves took approximately an hour and 20 minutes each. Just watch closely, as you don’t want to burn.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen bread. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove from pan and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack. Try your best not to slice into the piping hot loaf and burn your tongue. (Not naming names, but it happened.)
P.S. If you’ve got a bunch of spare zucchini around, you might check out the Baking Barrister’s take on this pumpkin bread recipe.