A few years back, I came up with a recipe for a gingery pumpkin bread that was pretty much everything I wanted in a pumpkin bread. It was tender and moist, robustly — but not distractingly — gingery, and delivered loads of pumpkin and cinnamon flavour. It was good while it lasted...
Because as much as I love that recipe, this year I started thinking about ways to make it even better. Wouldn't it be delicious with dried cherries studded in there? And if cherries, perhaps maybe a smattering of pumpkin seeds, too? And at that point, why not go all the way and add a cream cheese filling?
And so I did. And now it truly is everything I could imagine an over-the-top pumpkin bread to be.
CREAM CHEESE-FILLED GINGER-CHERRY PUMPKIN BREAD
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cherries
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
For the streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a large (9- to 10-inch) loaf pan with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, dry ginger and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, 1 egg and the fresh ginger. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, then mix until just combined. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and cherries, then spread half of the batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining egg, the cream cheese, the granulated sugar and the orange zest. Spread half of the mixture evenly over the batter in the pan. Spread half of the remaining batter over it, then top that with the remaining cream cheese filling. Finish with a final layer of batter. Set aside.
To make the streusel, in a medium bowl use your fingers to rub together the flour, brown sugar, oats and butter. Sprinkle evenly over the loaf.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition information per serving: 390 calories; 160 calories from fat (41 per cent of total calories); 18 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 28 g sugar; 9 g protein; 220 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at email@example.com