When I worked full-time, pre-baby, I listened to audiobooks while doing my job (thank goodness I never had to talk on the phone). It was a great way to maintain sanity as well as get a lot of "reading" done. I first saw Comfort me with Apples in the audiobook section at our library; I scoffed at it for months before checking it out. Don't ask me why - I'm an idiot. I think that I thought the cover was silly (I do judge a book by its cover). When I finally broke down and checked it out (the culprit being slim pickings), I immediately fell head-over-heels. I really like reading about others' life experience (thus, blogs) and it was thrilling to hear about her life-long love of cooking and food.
Glimpsing into her passion for cooking made me want to delve more into recipes that she had direct influence over. I did a little research and went straight to the library to check out the cookbook she edited: The Gourmet Cookbook. I liked it so much that, in turn, I went out and bought it. Not only are there many fabulous recipes, but it provides a lot of good information about the foods/ingredients used. For example, there is an entire page dedicated to potatoes: the properties of each variety and what they are best used for. For someone who is learning from the ground-up, this is extraordinarily helpful.
I've made this Pumpkin Apple Bread a fall tradition for the last two years. It is delicious. Spicy, sweet, and simply wonderful. Thus far, I've used solid-pack canned pumpkin; but this weekend, I bought a real pumpkin at the Farmer's Market and plan to use that instead. Even better than the real thing, baby! This one is for you, Alison.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Make the topping: Blend together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Make the bread: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a medium bowl, Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour mixture. Stirring until well combined. Fold in apples.
Divide batter batter between buttered loaf pans. Sprinkle half of topping evenly over each loaf. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 45 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.