The idea of another pumpkin loaf either makes you excited or makes your eyes roll out of your head. If you’re in the latter camp, I implore you to give my iteration a shot.
Because I like the idea of pumpkin spice things but not their execution, I developed this loaf to be about all the good qualities of the flavor — cloying lattes notwithstanding. I take real pumpkin and roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper to give the puree an umami edge.
The loaf gets a crown of salty bread crumbs, perfumed with the usual “spice” suspects; it’s the ideal contrast to the tender loaf cake. Freshly ground spices do make a difference, but use the pre-ground kind if that’s what you have (but please don’t use pre-ground nutmeg; the flavor is acrid and bitter).
It’s a lightly sweet, kinda savory loaf, at home with butter slathered over the side with a drizzle of honey or with a thwack of ricotta and some chopped thyme. Best part: It’s the type of “PSL” treat where the spices accent the pumpkin flavor, not overwhelm it.
Roasted Pumpkin Loaves With Salty Spiced Bread Crumbs
1 hour 15 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.
Why such a strange amount of pureed pumpkin? Because it’s the same amount as one can of pumpkin puree, and if you insist on using canned, I want you to be able to swap it for the homemade version here. In that same vein, you can swap all the spices used in the bread crumbs here for 1 1/2 tablespoons premixed pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have all those called for. Don’t want to mess with the bread crumbs at all? Omit them and the olive oil, and add the spices directly to the batter by whisking them with the flour in Step 3. Because this is a loaf in which I want the flavor of pumpkin to shine through most, I opt for using neutral-flavored vegetable oil in the cake, since olive oil would overwhelm it (and there’s already enough background flavor of it in the pumpkin puree and bread crumbs). Lastly, this loaf is a flatsy-tatsy on purpose. High-domed loaves are beautiful but to achieve them, the texture always suffers for me. I prefer these flat-top loaves, which have a very tender, moist crumb more akin to cake than bread.