It took me a while to name this recipe. Pumpkin bread doesn’t adequately cover what I’ve done here. I didn’t think that ultimatesupremetastyrich or the First Reader’s contribution of WalCranPumpkin Cheesecake Bread! was quite right, either. I took a fairly basic quickbread recipe and made it into something much more… no, refined isn’t the right word here. More like curl up with a cuppa coffee and stare into the flames while you nibble a moist slice of this and enjoy all the different tastes packed into that…
I started out with a pumpkin bread recipe, and a big one, since the point was to take a loaf to work, and send one to work with Sanford, and have a bit at home for the kids. Being able to feed people at our works is not only happy-making, but helpful to waistlines since I can experiment more-or-less guilt free. The first thing I did to the recipe was slash the sugar in half. And then I added stuff to it. Cocked my head and contemplated the mental vision of the loaf, and added more. Yeah, that seemed about right… no, let’s change that. Perfect!
15 oz packed pumpkin puree (one can if you are using canned)
1 c oil (any veg oil, although olive would likely lend an interesting nutty note)
2/3 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
3 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1.2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
1 cup walnuts, chopped or in pieces
6 oz dried cranberries
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
Preheat oven to 325
Grease and flour three loaf pans, or two loaves and a dozen muffin pans (or use paper liners for those)
In one bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
In another bowl, beat the eggs into the oil and water, then mix in the pumpkin and sugar.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients: do not overmix. Stir in the walnuts and dried cranberries. Put batter into pans, set aside.
In stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in the egg. Transfer to a piping bag with care - it's messy!
Using piping bag and smaller round tip, push the filling into the center of each loaf along the midline three or four times - not all the way to the bottom of the pan. Some will get out on top, that's fine, I swirled some on top deliberately. For the muffins just give each a little squirt in the center.
Put in oven and bake. Loaves will take about 1 hour 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Muffins will take about 45-50 minutes to bake through.
As you may have guessed from the name alone, this is a moist, dense bread, sweet enough on it’s own, with the cheesecake adding yet another layer of sweetness. The nuts give it a good crunch for texture, and the cranberries are a burst of tartness that complements the bread beautifully. It’s a little more work to do the filling, but worth it, the First Reader says. I did muffins with and without the cheesecake, and he tried both to make his report. And then gleefully carried off his box to work to enjoy – there’s only a few people on his team, so I know he’ll get a slice at least!