Oh how my family loves sweet, delicious quick breads. This time of year I usually make pumpkin bread, but just about any sweet winter squash can be substituted. Today I'm using pureed acorn squash, but think about using other tasty varieties like butternut, buttercup, cushaw, delicata, hubbard, kabocha, and so on.
I like to freeze the roasted, pureed squash in 1-cup portions so I can bake a fresh loaf whenever the mood strikes. Also, baked loaves freeze beautifully when wrapped well in plastic followed by heavy-duty foil, being sure to seal very well. Thaw, wrapped, in the fridge overnight.
To begin, we'll need to roast some squash. For the bread shown in the photo, I used acorn squash, but just about any sweet winter squash variety can be used.
Preheat the oven to 400F and place the squash cut side down on a half sheet pan. Pierce the squash with the point of a sharp knife a few times so they don't explode in the oven.
Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes until they look like this. They'll be soft to the touch and the flesh will scoop out easily when they're cool enough to handle.
They should be soft enough to give under pressure. Don't be alarmed if the squash halves start to caramelize during the roasting process. Extra flavor. Cool and scoop the squash from the skins and puree it. If I have a lot of squash to puree, I use this wonderful piece of equipment. For a smaller amount, a hand-held immersion blender works well - I use this one).
Time to mix the dry ingredients for the bread. Flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Whisk to combine. Have you tried a flat whisk yet? I have this one - changed my life.
In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pureed squash, applesauce, sugar, and eggs.
Whisk to combine.
Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. I usually start out whisking, then switch to a silicone spatula - this one is my all-time favorite.
Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with Baker's Joy.... unless you want the corners of your bread to stick in the pan. Another life changing product. Just saying.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about an hour. Remove from oven and rest for about 10-15 minutes before unmolding. Cool completely on a rack before slicing with a serrated knife (my favorite brand).
Be sure to use a really good quality pan, like this one, for best results. Your bread won't burn and your pan won't rust. Commercial quality pays.
Roasted Acorn Squash Bread
makes one 9x5-inch loaf
1 cup roasted acorn squash puree (see note below)
4 ounces applesauce
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or double if using dried)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F, coat a 9x5-inch metal loaf pan with baking spray, and place oven rack in lower center position.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed squash, applesauce, sugar, and eggs; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, and cinnamon.
Pour squash mixture into flour mixture and whisk until no dry lumps remain.
Spread batter evenly in prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center (and all the way down to the bottom of the pan) comes out clean.
Remove bread from oven and rest for 10- 15 minutes before unmolding.
Allow bread to cool completely on a rack before slicing.
To roast squash, preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in half, scoop out and remove seeds. Place halves, cut side down, on half sheet pan. Pierce skin with knife in several places. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the outer skin softens and gives under pressure. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from skins and use a food processor to puree (you can skip this step if your squash doesn't have a stringy texture).
Freeze the roasted, pureed squash in 1-cup portions so you can bake a fresh loaf whenever the mood strikes.
Baked loaves freeze beautifully when vacuum sealed or wrapped well in plastic followed by heavy-duty foil, being sure to seal very well. Thaw overnight in the fridge before unwrapping.