"This recipe makes a lot, and I mean a lot—two very hefty loaves to be exact. But given how good it is, I'm not really complaining."
When you work in a restaurant, brunch is a bummer. Everyone is either exhausted from the previous evening's shift or hungover or maybe both. Regardless of whether you are working in the front or back of the house , bad moods are inevitable.
The last restaurant where I had the (dis)pleasure of working brunch shifts was happily located in close proximity to Amy's Bread. Each weekend morning I made a point to stop there and buy a big bag filled with a variety of Amy's goodies to share with my grumpy co-workers. It worked like a charm. Moods improved almost instantly with a few bites of the pastries.
This Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Quickbread was a particular favorite at the restaurant. Since I no longer work brunch shifts and my trip's to Amy's are less frequent, I decided to make a loaf at home.
The recipe comes from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread and the home-baked version of the bread was deliciously identical to Amy's original, with one minor change.
My local market didn't have any fresh cranberries (not quite Thanksgiving time yet). In their place I substituted dried cranberries soaked in orange juice to rehydrate them, which also gave this a little extra tang. Just a word of warning: this recipe makes a lot, and I mean a lot—two very hefty loaves to be exact. But given how good it is, I'm not really complaining.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have a copy of The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread to give away this week.
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- Zest of 1 small orange
- 7/8 cup water
- 4 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cups cranberries
- 1 1/3 cups toasted walnut pieces
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top of the loaves
Position one rack in the top third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350&fegF. Grease the loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cooled slightly, with the eggs. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and sugar. Stir the orange zest into the water then add to the pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and whisk together.
Pour the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients and fold gently until almost combined, then add the cranberries and walnuts. Finish with a few gentle strokes combine without over-mixing.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle the top of each loaf lightly with the turbinado sugar, about 1 tablespoon per loaf, to form a crystal crust. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the loaf.
Cool the loaves in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully turn them out of the pans and place the loaves on a wire rack until completely cooled. Wrap in plastic film and store in the refrigerator. These loaves keep well for 3 to 4 days, and freeze well if wrapped in plastic and then foil.