Oh autumn. Crisp air, wool scarves, steaming lattes, falling leaves. Or at least that is how it is supposed to be. As it goes on the Central Coast, we are still experiencing what we call an Indian summer. This means that as much as we will it to be fall around here with pick-your-own pumpkin patches and pop-up Halloween stores, it’s still stinking hot.
I’m talking 85-95 degrees. Although with the grape vines turning bright orange and a new season of Walking Dead looming, I know it must fall. According to Trader Joe’s, this means pumpkin flavored everything. While they may have gone a little overboard, nothing helps it feel more like fall than a kitchen that smells like cinnamon and nutmeg. I think pumpkin bread with a little twist will do the trick.
Now this recipe involves an extra super secret step, but trust me, it is worth it! It will take that average ho-hum pumpkin bread to the next level. This recipe was inspired by the Krafted Koch
and Cooks Illustrated
Start by tossing those spices in to that bland ol’ can of pumpkin puree you have been hording in your pantry until socially acceptable to use. Then you will reduce the pumpkin spice mixture. Yes reduce it. It warms up the spices and concentrates the flavors taking that generic can of orange puree to a Whole. New. Level.
While your puree is reducing, it’s time to prepare the flair. Or swirl as the average person may call it. The blend of mascarpone with a hint of cream cheese makes for a much lighter texture than your typical cream cheese filling. The orange zest also adds a fresh, vibrant note to the finished loaves.
Don’t forget about the nuts! Walnuts are a good choice here although pecans would work really well too.
The perfect kick off to the season. My boyfriend seems to think the perfect kick off to the season involves a football, but I bet this will change his mind.
Orange Mascarpone Marbled Pumpkin Bread
For the bread:
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 can (15 ounce) or (425 grams) unsweetened pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed (218 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 ounces (113 grams) softened cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk*
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- *As a buttermilk substitute, I used 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt and added enough milk to equal ¼ cup
For the filling:
- 3 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 container (8 ounce) softened mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (I used the zest of a whole medium orange)
- Adjust oven rack to middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9”x5” loaf pans (preferably glass). Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan combine pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (6-8 minutes). The puree will become thick and hold a smooth shape. Add in sugars, vegetable oil, and cream cheese. Continue stirring over medium heat until cream cheese has melted and mixture becomes smooth. Remove from heat.
- While you allow the pumpkin mixture to cool slightly, whisk cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, flour, sugar, egg and orange zest in a small bowl until combine. Set aside.
- Lightly beat eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl and whisk into pumpkin mixture. Gently fold flour mixture in to pumpkin mixture. Mix until just combine (some small lumps may remain). Fold walnuts into batter.
- Pour half of the batter equally into both loaf pans. Dollop half of the mascarpone mixture into the partially filled loaves and gently swirl. Top loaves equally with remaining batter. Dollop the remaining mascarpone mixture on the top of the loaves and swirl to create marble effect.
- Bake loaves for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Note that mascarpone filling may be visible on the skewer when bread is done. Let cool on wire rack. Serve warm for breakfast, lunch, maybe a before dinner snack, or dessert.