Monday, November 14, 2011

Real Southwestern Pumpkin Bread

This is an authentic sweet pumpkin quick bread from the Pueblos of the southwest.  It calls for canned pumpkin because the government gave commodity foods to federally recognized tribes; stuff like lard, bacon, large jars of jelly, wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oils and canned meats, vegetables and fruits of all sorts.  Some groups got dried fruits of various sources as well; which explains why this bread has dates in it.  Date, of course, come from Arabia and they are not generally grown in the southwest, but they were once a popular treat provided from government rations.  This particular recipe comes from Marcia Keegan's important little cookbook Southwest Indian Cookbook.


3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups canned pumpkin (if it isn't puree, mash it)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup dates, chopped
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup water
2 greased loaf pans

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugar, oil and eggs together, whisk to help the sugar to start to dissolve. Add the pumpkin and mix completely.

2.  Meanwhile, sift the dry ingredients together and add, alternating with the water to the pumpkin mixture.  Fold in nuts and dates.  Mix well.  Pour into the greased loaf pans and bake until done.  The original recipe calls for it to bake for 1 1/2 hours, I have found this is too much, so I put the timer on every 30 minutes, and then run a knife or cake tester into them; the amount of sugar in the recipe means that it will burn easily.  They may need to be covered after baking for 30 minutes.  The bread is done when it makes a hollow sound when you knock on it.  


You can use roasted or boiled fresh pumpkin in this.

You can change up the spices, and allspice is always welcome in any Native American dish.

More natural sweeteners, like honey can be used in place of the sugar.  Brown sugar can be used too.

Different types of dried fruits are good in this and raisin always go well in any type of quick bread.  

They can be made with any type of winter squash that has been cooked first.

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