I realize the pumpkin season is over, but Indonesia happens to produce beautiful gourds all year long. Every time I go to the supermarket I am overwhelmed by the variety and size of the different pumpkins and I try to buy a different one every time. Although squashes are not really produced here the local pumpkins are so sweet that you could easily do without spending hundreds of rupiahs for an imported butternut squash. We particularly enjoy the kabacha hijau which is the Japanese style pumpkin with green skin and yellow interior and the plain-old orange pumpkin.
I usually buy small pumpkins although huge ones are available for very reasonable prices. By huge I mean Joshua-Sized pumpkins weighing about 13 kg and available at almost every supermarket. When we go to Puncak we always stop by the street-side markets and replenish our veggie supplies while spending less than 20 USD.
Last Thanksgiving season a very gracious friend had us over for coffee and our awesome bible-study host demonstrated once again why she is the hostess with the mostess by presenting a deliciously scrumptious pumpkin bread that I couldn’t help but have two (or three) pieces of. I asked her for the secret recipe and she gave it to me. That paper had been in my kitchen for about 2 months when I finally decided to give it a go.
Being in Jakarta, we have learned to substitute and make do with what we have. We also make an effort to make everything from scratch in our house so the first thing I did was to substitute the canned pumpkin for fresh pumpkin. I had no idea how to make my own puree and after looking here and here I came up with my own method. I just steamed the pumpkin for about half and hour and then drained it, really drained it. I have never bought the canned stuff but I’m pretty sure the consistency was very similar.
A few substitutions later and what seemed like a successful result according to my ever-supportive husband and friends here’s my version of Pumpkin Bread. My best advice when baking is just make it your own. Work with what you have, use the beautiful fresh ingredients your hometown provides and just enjoy the good things in life with a good cup of coffee (Vietnamese being my fuel of choice).
1¾ cup fresh pumpkin puree (This is about 3/4 of a 2 kg pumpkin after being steamed and drained, I froze the rest for later use)
3 cups of sugar (coconut sugar works wonders, too)
1 cup of water
1 cup vegetable oil
3 1/3cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon of nutmeg (Indonesia has awesome fresh (and cheap) nutmegs, just grate one!)
½ teaspoon allspice (Original called for ground clove which I didn’t have so I used allspice and it was wonderful!)
1. Heat the oven to 350.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
3. Measure the flour,baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and ground cloves into a separate bowl and sir them until combined.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture beating until smooth
5. Loaf Pans: Grease two 9×5 loaf bans and dust them with flour. Evenly distribute the batter between them. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6.Muffins: 20 minutes
7.Cool for 10-15 minutes
8.Remove from pans by inverting them onto a rack and taping the bottom.