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Sep 2, 2012 12:58 PM

Has anyone tried CI's Really Good Pumpkin Bread? (Sept issue)

I am planning to make this pumpkin bread tonight and wondered if anyone has made it and if it turned out well. It calls for cooking down the canned pumpkin with buttermilk.

Thanks very much.

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  1. Is it the same pumpkin bread recipe they have in their cookbooks? If so I've baked it many times and it's good. I no longer read CI though so I haven't seen the new recipe to compare them.

    25 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      Presumably this recipe would not be in a cookbook since it's in the current issue. I don't have any of them, so can't say with absolute certainty.

      In addition to the cooking down of the pumpkin puree, it calls for cream cheese as well as the standard ingredients.

      1. re: laredo

        Cooks Illustrated recycles its recipes over and over... Small tweaks here and there, but often almost the identical recipe.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          If recycled, the cooking down of the puree would seem to be the tweak. Maybe the cream cheese too.

          I won't be trying it tonight because I just realized I have no eggs! .....but would like to hear any comments from those who have made it.

          1. re: laredo

            I use a pumpkin pie recipe of theirs that requires cooking the pumpkin purée. It makes an amazing difference and a fantastic pie

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            Oh they probably adapted their cooking down the bananas from the banana bread recipe to the pumpkin bread one. Why I have no idea, it's not like pumpkin is watery if you roast it.

            1. re: rasputina

              It's primarily because canned pumpkin has a raw taste. The cooking solves this issue.

              1. re: 1POINT21GW

                Canned pumpkin has a raw taste? Did they actually say that? As someone who has made plenty of pies over the years from canned pumpkin and with fresh pumpkins cooked by roasting and by boiling that statement makes no sense at all.

                1. re: rasputina

                  I had the same reaction, rasputina, but yes, they did say "raw" and also metallic.

                  But I am in search of an excellent pumpkin bread and am going to try it this morning.

                  I recalled after your post that I did try the cooked down banana bread recipe and thought it was fine, but not excellent. Maybe I did something not quite right. ILRC, I thought it didn't warrant the extra trouble.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    No, not raw but sometimes a bit tinny. The pumpkin pie recipe is, without a doubt, the best pumpkin pie I've had.

                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                      Hmmmm. Do you know what issue it was in? I vaguely remember reading it.

                      1. re: laredo

                        It's in one of their cookbooks. Not sure if it was in a magazine.

                        1. re: laredo

                          You mean the banana bread with the cooked down bananas? I saw it on their show, I think 2 years ago??

                      2. re: rasputina

                        Try cooking your pumpkin next time - it will be even better.

                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                          Not sure I follow, 1point. That was the point of the CI recipe. ARe you referring to pie?

                          1. re: laredo

                            Either one - pie or bread. I read that article in the most recent issue you're talking about too.

                          2. re: 1POINT21GW

                            I've never cooked a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread for that matter, where I didn't cook the pumpkin first. Your comments are really confusing to me.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              Cool. Most people don't though. Almost everyone else just follows what almost every single recipe out there calls for which is to simply mix the pie filling (including the canned pumpkin) together, pour it into the pie shell, then bake it. Before this article, I had never heard of cooking the canned pumpkin down before mixing it with the rest of the pie filling ingredients. That's great you've been doing it all along. You were way ahead of the rest of us.

                              1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                Neither had I heard of cooking canned pumpkin.

                                The bread turned out nicely, and I will make it again, but I will make some minor changes the next time.

                                I wasn't too crazy about the extra bowls to wash, so hoping I can streamline for next time.

                                Thanks so much to all for your help.

                                1. re: laredo

                                  Can you let us know what you'd do differently? Am planning to make tonight...

                                  1. re: hski7

                                    My loaf pans 9.25 by 5.25 and CI recommends 8.5 by 4.5. I would like for the loaf to be taller, so need to dib down and get new pans, (although I will hang on to the others given to me by my grandmother 44 years ago.)

                                    The recipe calls for .25 tsp nutmeg and that was too much for me, so will cut that down next time. I was surprised as my nutmeg is old; maybe it gets stronger with age?
                                    I used 1.25 tsp cinnamon instead of 1.5, and that was enough for me. Probably not for most.

                                    I would add the cream cheese to the cooked pumpkin before adding the sugars and oil because my cream cheese did not melt totally.

                                    The recipe said use a "large" saucepan and I used one way too big.

                                    Finally, I don't know how to improve this but hope someone can help: I had a hard time figuring out when the cooked pumpkin was "barely beginning to caramelize."

                                    (I didn't add cloves or nuts.)

                                    I'll be eager to hear how yours goes.

                                2. re: 1POINT21GW

                                  Maybe she means that canned pumpin is essentially cooked already, and very similar in that respect to home-roasted pumpkin purée? And therefore neither should require cooking.
                                  I don't have a horse in this race, but I do find CI sometimes invents "problems" to solve that I just can't relate to.

                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      "CI sometimes invents "problems" to solve"

                                      Bingo. I stopped subscribing after 10 years when I realized that CI prefers to keep to a shockingly narrow repertoire of foods and tweak recipes in this way. Not all the tweaks are without merit, but many don't really add value, shall we say.

                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        I read an Amazon review of a CI book where the reviewer said (paraphrasing) that CI basically has 300-400 recipes that they keep tweaking and republishing over and over.

                                        A recipe might appear in their "Comfort Foods" book, then "Skillet Dinners" book, then their "30 Minute Recipes" Book and they just tweak it slightly each time. I don't know how it works for the magazine, but this certainly seems true for their cookbooks. The same "best" recipe keeps popping up, slightly modified.


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          As far as the tweaking goes, I have found this to be absolutely true. I haven't seem this recipe but I have several of their cookbooks (won't buy more though) and those are very similar. I also think every single one of their recipes should start out: "Get a home equity loan. Buy a massive amount of expensive cookware. . ."

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. I made the recipe (I have tried many various pumpkin bread recipes) and I thought it was excellent.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: meerastvargo

                        Meer, can you shed any light on how long to cook the pumpking? I cooked mine for much longer than the recipe suggested.

                        1. re: laredo

                          I just cooked it for the amount of time indicated. It worked fine.