univacgrl: (Default)
( Oct. 14th, 2013 09:32 pm)
At the Stoke The World festival this weekend, I had a great conversation with Greg's mom Jan on Saturday morning.  She and Bob had missed out on the chili dinner the night before and I wandered up to her to make sure they'd gotten breakfast, and to offer her a tiny vegetarian pumpkin muffin.  I finally got to tell her why I'd brought the muffins to share. 

Before Greg went into the hospital for the last time, his doctors told him he'd have to put on and maintain a certain weight.  In my mind, this translated into "Operation Fatten Up Greg."  So I baked up a whole mess of mini pumpkin muffins, a vegan variation of a recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid, something she'd clipped out of the local newspaper back in the 70's, and brought a small bag to his house. It was a cool afternoon and we fiddled with some computer equipment for a while.  Morgan was there too, doing the knitting thing, so I fetched mine too, and worked on it. Other people came by, staying for a little or a long while.  We listened to music, ordered Chinese food, ate some pumpkin muffins for dessert, and just sat together, not talking much, enjoying each other's presence.  It was the last time I got to spend with Greg, and I can reach back for that warm peaceful evening in my memory whenever I smell the muffins. 

I promised I'd share the recipe with fellow STW folks. I've made some modifications to the original, which I've put into brackets.

Monastery Pumpkin Bread, recipe originally from  Monastery of the Angels in Los Angeles, California

3 ½ cups sifted flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
[1 teaspoon ground ginger]
[ ½ teaspoon ground allspice]
[ ½ teaspoon ground cloves]
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 eggs [Vegan version: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce or extra pumpkin puree plus 2 teaspoons baking powder]
1 cup oil [substitute more applesauce for any fraction of the oil; I used 3/4 c oil and 1/4 c applesauce] 
2⁄3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin, cooked & mashed or 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups walnuts, chopped  [may substitute pumpkin seeds]
walnut halves, for decoration [again, use pumpkin seeds instead]
[semi-sweet chocolate chips, which knock the flavor out of the park, but aren't vegan, just vegetarian]
 
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, [baking powder] and salt.
Combine eggs [or applesauce], oil, water, and pumpkin and mix well.
Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Fold in the chopped walnuts [or pumpkin seeds, which I omitted for the mini muffins].
Turn into three greased 8 X 4-inch loaf pans. [Portion into lined mini-muffin tins using a cookie dough scoop]
Top with a few walnut halves [or chocolate chips or pumpkin seeds, but really, you know you want to use both]
Bake for one hour or until a wood pick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
Cool before removing from the pans.
 
Notes: 

Since this is a quick-bread, substituting in a gluten-free baking mix  shouldn't change much about it except to make it a little bit crumblier.  It might be easier to line a loaf pan with parchment or foil to make the bread easier to remove. (I wish I could have accommodated the gluten-free folks, but my kitchen is too gluten enabled to keep people from getting sick, no matter how well-intentioned I might try to be.)
 
The loaves freeze very well if wrapped in foil first. 

Mini-muffins took 35-40 minutes to bake instead of an hour.
 
Vegan variation:  Instead of eggs, I substituted 1 cup of applesauce and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  It made absolutely no difference in flavor or texture.  
 
This makes a whole lot of pumpkin bread; three one-pound loaves is almost too much. The yield in mini-muffins of the size I took to STW was approximately 75.  
 
Use paper liners if you go with muffins.  Trust me, you do not want to spend all your time thoroughly greasing those tiny individual muffin cups, unless you really dig that sort of thing.
 
   

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