Let’s ease into this whole fall situation. I know it’s October, but so far I’ve been resisting the transition because:
1. We didn’t get full on summer weather in SF until late August.
2. I saw Halloween decorations in a store shortly thereafter. That is not OK.
Soon we’ll see Halloween decor immediately replace the 4th of July merchandise. I might not be able to deal…
In an effort to slow things down a bit I made pumpkin bread, but not the overly-spiced, sugar-laden, let-the-belt-out-a-notch kind. This one is tempered with beer, light as a feather, and little more subtle in its fall agenda.
We all know that everything is better with beer – there’s probably some science out there to support that. So it stands to reason that pumpkin bread should be exponentially improved by a pumpkin beer. It turns that San Diego-based food and beer writer Brandon Hernández has tested and proven this theory.
Brandon writes a food-centric column for West Coaster, the beer magazine for which I serve as Art Director. I’m always excited to jump into laying out his column because it means I get to drool over food for a bit while I design. My keyboard might be suffering, but hey, it’s a small price to pay.
The recipe for this bread is delightfully straightforward. Cream the butter and sugar, add the dry ingredients – you know the deal. The hardest part is waiting the hour it takes to bake!
Your patience is rewarded with a soft, fluffy bread with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. Ground pecans give it some body, and the flavors of pumpkin and malt come through to make for a truly unique bread.
For me, the most exhilarating part of making this bread is grating fresh nutmeg. One of the best smells in existence. Perhaps the only person that loves it more would be Alton Brown, who keeps fresh nutmeg (along with kosher salt) on his KEYCHAIN. Legit.
So whether your nutmeg is at the ready in your pocket or stashed in a seldom opened drawer in your kitchen, let’s break some out and dip our toes into fall with this bread! Not only does it serve as an ideal breakfast, mid-morning snack, late-night snack, dessert… the act of making it leaves you with a mostly full bottle of beer. I think you know what to do next.
Pumpkin Beer Bread
(c) 2013 Brandon Hernández
Remember: a long cooking time means you need to check on it early! Mine finished in 1 hour, and nobody wants overcooked pumpkin bread. ;)
- ½ cup pumpkin beer
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mashed pumpkin (canned or roasted and mashed)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup pecans, pulverized
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup Maple Spice Crème Fraîche (recipe follows)
- Pour the beer into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream the butter and the sugar together using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Add the pumpkin, baking soda, salt, flour, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and beer and mix until fully incorporated. Use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a greased loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake until a long toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Maple Spice Crème Fraîche
(c) 2013 Brandon Hernández
If you can't find crème fraîche, sour cream is a fine substitute. You may want to bump up the maple syrup a bit since sour cream is more tart than crème fraîche.
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon clove, ground
- Mix all of the ingredients together until they are completely incorporated. Chill or serve at room temperature.