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When liquids are reduced — and the excess water boiled away — the flavor of the liquid is concentrated and wonderful. All kinds of liquids can be reduced and used as a very flavorful addition to food: chicken or beef stock, balsamic vinegar, port wine or other wines, or heavy cream.

A wonderful liquid to reduce for added flavor is apple cider. Buy an extra gallon of cider this fall, pour it into a pot, bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid is 1/4 of the original volume (4 cups). Keep that elixir for all kinds of recipes, including adding to salad dressings. One of my favorite recipes using reduced apple cider is Apple Sabayon (a warm baked apple topped with a custard flavored with reduced apple cider). Here is a classic pumpkin quick bread flavored with my favorite reduction, apple cider.

For another year, canned pumpkin is in short supply. Why bother with a canned product when plenty of fresh squash are available? The hard winter squashes (or sweet potato) are interchangeable in any recipe; I’ve made pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, and pumpkin ravioli with my all-time favorite squash: butternut.
Pumpkin-Cider Bread

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg

In a saucepan, bring the cider to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool.

Using a boning knife, cut the squash in half. Use a pitting spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Place on a sheet pan. Roast at 350 degrees until soft, about an hour. Puree the pulp in a food processor. Whisk a cup of the squash with cider, eggs, butter, sugar, and orange zest.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Fold into the pumpkin mixture. Pour the batter into a loaf pan pan and bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until a cake tester comes clean.


2 Comments for “Quick Loafin’ Around: Pumpkin-Cider Bread”  

  1. Vicki Bensinger

    This sounds wonderful Anne and perfect for this time of year.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anne

    It’s a perfect loaf to bake at this time of year!