Being October many young people and families will be buying their pumpkins to carve out weird and wonderful faces and put tea lights in, in preparation for Halloween. As fun as it might be to carve a face in a pumpkin, surly it is better to eat one?
Pumpkins are a versatile vegetable and at this time of year are found in shops all over the country, and in Lincolnshire we do not seem to have a shortage of them. This brightly coloured orange vegetable can weigh up to 18 lbs in weight and can be cooked in a number of ways – roasting, boiling, steaming, mashing, or incorporated into baked good. Being a native vegetable to North America, the pumpkin not only features at Halloween, but also in one of their most popular Thanksgiving deserts, pumpkin pie.
Pumpkins do not have too much flavour and like many of its squash family members it is a little on the bland side when eaten on it’s own. When cooked the pumpkin become sweet and the texture reminds me of sweet potatoes or even roasted butternut squash – smooth and creamy. Pumpkins are high in fibre which is great for anyone who misses out on this important nutrient due to their diet.
When tasked by the Lincolnshire Co-op to come up with a gluten free treat for Halloween I knew that I had to showcase the one vegetable that is associated with this spooky festival. having never made anything with pumpkin in before I embraced the challenge and after doing a bit of research I decided that all I could do was experiment and give it ago – what was the worst thing that would happen? I was pretty pleased with the results and I hope that you will be able to re-create what was a complete experiment for me.
My spiced pumpkin loaf might not be the spookiest of treats, but it’s a great twist on our counties favourite Lincolnshire plum bread, or even the traditional malt loaf. This gluten free spiced pumpkin loaf is seasonal and is a great way to use up the pumpkin flesh once you have finished carving out your lantern for Hallows Eve.
The loaf is sweet and has a sticky and moist texture. Feedback from my taste testers is that they really enjoyed the sticky texture, let along the taste. One tester said: “It’s like malt loaf should be, but made with pumpkin.” Another tester said that the loaf was “superb” and that the “sweetness of the pumpkin really comes through and the spice compliments it.” This is a very moist loaf and if you do like the traditional Lincolnshire plum bread you will find that there is not need to for butter with this loaf. Why not try toasting it and having it with a cup of tea one afternoon, or even having it as something different for breakfast?
I hope that you agree with me and enjoy this loaf as much as I did.
For this recipe you will need a 1lb loaf tin to make this recipe.
250g gluten free flour
200g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
250g soften butter/baking margarine
250g low fat natural yoghurt
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon xantham gum
50g pumpkin seeds
250g grated pumpkin
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200oC and line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper.
2. Into a bowl combine the flour, sugar, spices, and xantham gum and mix.
3. Into a separate bowl whisk together the butter, yoghurt and eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract. The mix will look like it has curdled, do not worry. You will need to whisk for about 3 minutes.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mix and using a spoon combine together. Add the pumpkin and mix into the batter and then add the sultanas and pumpkin seeds.
5. Pour the mix into the lined loaf tin and place into the centre of your oven and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The cake will be cooked when golden brown in colour and a skewer will come out clean. If it is not quite cooked, bake for a little longer. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn.
6. Leave in the tin to cool for about 20 minutes before turning out and cooling on a cool rack.
7. Once cooled, slice and serve with a warm cup of tea.
Happy gluten free baking 🙂