Recipe: Sugared and spiced

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Indy Lifestyle Online
OUR winning recipe this week was found in the drawer of the great-grandmother of June Porrelli of Hilperton, Wiltshire. It is for pumpkin spice bread and has the wet texture of, say, banana bread. Ms Porrelli says it is believed to date from the early 1800s.

They must have liked their spice bread incredibly sweet. I have drastically reduced the sugar. The spices, too, could be reduced a little for subtler fruit flavour. Use organic eggs, butter and flour and they, too, will be taste elements themselves, instead of dull bulk. Raisins or walnuts would suit, as would some finely grated lemon zest.

Ms Porelli is one of two winners who will receive two bottles of 1991 Avignonesi Bianco from Reid Wines near Bristol.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Serves 8

Ingredients: 10 oz/285g pumpkin puree, cooked down from 12oz/340g pumpkin weighed

after peeling and cubing

3fl oz/90ml water

3oz/85g butter, melted

1 egg, lightly whisked

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1tsp cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

6oz/170g plain flour

4oz/115g sugar

Preparation: Cube and skin pumpkin. Steam for 15-20 minutes until tender. Puree. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Grease a loaf tin. Combine puree, egg, water and melted butter. Sift dry ingredients together and make well in centre. Add wet mixture slowly until batter is moistened enough to pour into tin.

Bake for 30 minutes and then test. If a skewer comes out cleanly, it is done. It may need another 20 minutes. This depends on your oven and the shape of the baking tin. I used a shallow roasting tin and ended up with something close to a flapjack. Cool briefly and eat warm.

Mrs Robert Williams of Hitchin, Hertfordshire knows her pumpkins. She grows them. This is her recipe for pumpkin pie:

Pumpkin Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients: 8oz/225g shortcrust pastry

4oz/115g light brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1tsp mixed spice

14oz/400g pumpkin puree (made as above, start with 1lb/450g raw pumpkin)

4 3/4 oz/140ml double cream

1 egg, lightly whisked

Preparation: Preheat oven to 340C/450F/gas 8. Roll out pastry and line a pie dish, reserving (if you wish) strips to make a lattice over the top. Blend together remaining ingredients thoroughly. Pour into pastry case, lay lattice. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 180C/350F/gas 4, and cook for a further 20 minutes until the filling is just firm and pastry golden.

Next week, the last of our pumpkin series. New entries for winter stews, stating the source if not original, should be sent to Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. The prize will be a bottle of 1991 Charles Melton Nine Popes from Barossa Valley, South Australia.

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