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Sep 21, 2005 01:18 AM

Pumpkin bread recipe and using fresh pumpkin?

  • c

One of my husband's colleagues has gifted us w/ some cute little pie pumpkins from her garden. In return, I'd like to bake a loaf of pumpkin bread for him to bring to work. I plan to halve a pumpkin, roast at 350F til soft, and then make fresh puree.

Questions for you hounds:

1. Anyone have a great pumpkin bread recipe that is moist, rises well, and has a nice balance of spices? Not essential, but I'm particularly interested in recipes that include ground ginger and walnuts or pecans.

2. If a recipe calls for canned pumpkin, what modifications do I need to make if I sub in fresh?

Thanks, and I can't say I'm missing summer food all that much right now...

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  1. On the fresh pumpkin note, I made 2 pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving last year. One was made with fresh pumpkin, that I roasted first. The other with a can of Libby's. Boy was I disappointed when the canned pumpkin pie tasted better than my freshly roasted one! (used the correct baking pumpkins btw).

    (P.S. Epi has a great recipe for pumpkin bread that is very spiced. Let me know if you want me to find/link it.)

    12 Replies
    1. re: Funwithfood

      I think "better" is subjective. I went nuts for a few years trying to make a good pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkins. tried a dozen recipes (literally). but my family likes the familiarity of the libby's taste... it just took them a while to break the news to me.

      the only people who liked my "other" pies were people who had grown up with homemade, fresh pumpkin pies.

      I can only figure it is an acquired taste. as for myself I love all things pumpkin... :)

      1. re: withalonge

        No one in our family grew up eating pumpkin pies, so it wasn't a familiarity thing. We are all pretty food-nerdy and are into homemade and quality. In this case however, the home-roasted pumpkin pie just did not have as much pumpkin flavor.

        I think a good squash would have had a more concentrated "pumpkin-y" flavor. Maybe I'll try that next time! (Won't tell anyone of course.)

        1. re: Funwithfood

          have you tried making a sweet-potato pie? I like to roast the sweet pototoes in the oven with the skin on. makes a really lovely pie. but it is a quite different taste. but still good. esp w/ a little bourbon whipped cream.. mmmm.

          I have to admit, libby's does do a pretty good job at the pumpkin. I am wondering if cooking the puree on the stove top with a little butter and maybe some sugar... to carmelize and concentrate the flavor might help.

          hmm.. maybe I'll try it again this year. thanks for stirring up my interest in this again.

          1. re: withalonge

            Believe it or not, the CI recipe had me cook it stove-top first! (must have been bad pumpkins)

            Sweet potatoes do bake up beautifully, I make a killer yam (sweet potato) casserole. It is so pretty with concentric cirles of pecan halves topped with brown sugar and butter. A real beauty.

            1. re: Funwithfood

              ooh, can you post the recipe? I'll trade you for my bourbon sweet potato puree?


              1. re: withalonge

                I'll find it and post it later...then you post yours too!!

      2. re: Funwithfood

        I have to say, I always use fresh pumpkin or squash in my pies now, and it makes a huge difference! The fresh squash pies are fluffy and light instead of dense and heavy like the canned-pumpkin pies. Actually, I find butternut squash has a much richer flavor than pumpkin, so I always use that for my "pumpkin" pies. Just make sure to let your mashed fresh roasted pumpkin/squash drain a bit before using.

        1. re: Funwithfood

          Thanks for everyone's comments so far. I seem to recall this discussion that fresh doesn't taste as pumpkiny as canned. I just went to Libby's pumpkin website, and the only ingredient is spices, flavorings, coloring added.

          I'm looking forward to trying the fresh and tasting the difference. Sounds like everyone just subs 1:1. Now, if I can only find a great recipe...

          Linked the one from EPI below. It sounds like what I'm looking for, and I may just reduce/omit the cloves and sub in ground ginger instead.


          1. re: Carb Lover

            I believe this is the one I made (forget the changes/adjustments--have them in a stack), but I do remember that the cloves are what made it so good! (believe I reduced the cinnamon.)

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Libby uses a specific variety of pumpkin and the sweetest rarely make it to the grocery store because of it. Any comparison should consider the variety as a fair factor.

              A sugar pumpkin, aka New England Pie pumpkin, is highly recommended for pies. Here's a picture:

              "Sugar pumpkins can be found at most farmers' markets, specialty stores or large grocery stores."

              "The Small Sugar Pumpkin, also known under the name of New England Pie Pumpkin is a 19th century pumpkin variety that was thought to have been developed prior to the American Civil War. This standard in pie pumpkins is thought have been developed to be a smaller version of the Connecticut Fields Pumpkin. Whatever its true history may be, Small Pumpkins or New England Pie Pumpkins are one of the very best pumpkins to use for making authentic New England style Pumpkin Pies, Pumpkin Cheesecakes or whatever your particular fancy for Pumpkins is.

              "Sturdy vines produce an abundance of 10 inch, vibrant orange-yellow colored pumpkins that weigh from 4 to 5 pounds each and possess a bright orange flesh with a small seed cavity."

              Also, "If you can find it, I suggest using a variety called the cheese pumpkin for pies. It is a medium-sized to large pumpkin with a very flattened shape, a light tan shell, and orange flesh. Found most readily at farm stands and in New England, cheese pumpkins make delicious pies."

              Pumpkins with a tan skin color are also widely used for commercially canned pumpkin. Those are:
              Buckskin (hybrid
              )Chelsey (hybrid)
              Dickinson Field
              Kentucky Field

              And, don't forget that sweet potatoes can sweeten up a pumpkin pie.

              See also,


              1. re: kc girl
                katherine bryant

                I am trying to find the history of pumpkin bread for a school project. Do you know anything about the history of pumpkin bread? Thank you, Kathy

              2. re: Carb Lover

                Epi's Spiced Pumpkin Bread is what I bake every's a great recipe.

            2. had a stint with making fresh pumpkin pies a while back.. FWIW this is my ultimate "technique" for processing the pumpkins after much trial and error.

              wash and halve pumpkin (split top to bottom), butter the rims, place face down on a baking sheet. bake until poking skin give a bit, then flip over to finish and dry them out a bit. (put a little water in the pan at the start, but not a lot as the pumpkins are pretty wet. they are done when fork tender. I cool a bit, scoop out guts, run through my food mill. (or process in food processor). I use cheesecloth and a colander to strain over night after it has cooled off a bit. that stuff is molten. makes for lovely battle wounds. be careful.

              as for a recipe... my recipe doesn't meet your nut & ginger requirements. I like my bread spiced like pie.

              4 Replies
              1. re: withalonge

                Withalonge: would you post your bread recipe? Sounds like just what i'm looking for! My CSA has had cinderella pumpkins the past two weeks and I'd love a bread recipe. thanks!

                1. re: fresser

                  It is buried with my holiday recipes. I'll will try to dig it out this weekend.

                  1. re: withalonge

                    Awesome! Thank you so much!

                2. re: withalonge

                  Thanks for your tips! I hadn't thought about all those details...

                3. Sounds like you have some great advice already. The October issue of Sunset Magazine has a section on cooking with fresh pumpkin and has a pumpkin bread recipe that has ginger and nuts, it might fit your bill.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Tracy L.

                    can that just be found online or does one have to buy the mag?

                    1. re: fresser

                      I checked their web site, the info isn't there. You have to buy/borrow the mag.

                  2. I think Maida Heatter's Pumpkin Gingerbread (p.283, Book of Great Desserts) is incredible. It has pecans, but I sub walnuts. If you don't have the book I'll post the recipe later.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Pumpkin

                      Sorry that's p. 283 of Maida Heatter's NEW Book of Great Desserts!

                      1. re: Pumpkin

                        I'd be interested in the recipe!

                        1. re: Funwithfood

                          Recipe written above under "Pumpkin Gingerbread". I really hope you'll try it despite its "interesting" ingredients. You will be amazed!

                    2. To answer your question #2, it is basically 1:1 puree, but the bread will be more moist simply by using fresh in the same ratio.

                      The home-grown pumpkin you received might be a very sweet "sugar pumpkin" (a variety same as pie pumpkin - an aka). If it is, it may be as good as as canned in the sweet department.

                      I would suggest you taste your puree before you decide the exact amounts of sweet and flour. If it is NOT as sweet as canned, I would consider subbing pecans for walnuts (walnuts are a bit more bitter than pecans). Also, brown sugar is more moist than white sugar, so you need to consider that also. I prefer brown sugar in pumpkin bakes, so I thought I'd mention that just in case.

                      And, you can dehydrate your puree of fresh pumpkin if you want to. But, that takes time. Your puree will stay fresh for 2-3 days before using. Adding more flour will reduce the moisture, too. So consider that adjustment.

                      Sounds like you already have you your recipe and just wanting ratios. Consider filling your cake pans a little less than when using canned pumpkin. This will insure the center gets enough heat. You could even use a bundt pan for your fresh pumpkin bread and then sprinkle the baked product with powdered sugar or make a maple glaze.