by Caroline

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The cooking division of labor in our household goes like this: my husband Tony handles the stove, and I manage the oven. In practice, this means that he generally makes dinner and I make The Accessory Foods: roasted vegetables, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, bread, and other delicious — but not necessarily very sustaining– items. Tonight, Tony was out for dinner, and I didn’t have it in me to make my standard mom and the boys alone dinner, but luckily our local bakery, Arizmendi (which makes a different kind of pizza every day) was making roasted potato and pesto pizza, a big hit with the kids. With that and some carrot sticks and green beans, dinner was taken care of, and I turned my attention to our pumpkin puree. Remember the pumpkins that were sitting on our front stoop all October? I only roasted the big reddish one, and we’re still (two batches of muffins and one quart of puree in the freezer later) working our way through it. So I made pumpkin apple bread to give to Ben’s teachers. It has filled the house with such a fabulously cinnamon-y smell that I might have to bake a couple more for ourselves.

recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

For the topping
1 T flour
5 T sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 T unsalted butter, softened

note: I am, my sister might point out, one of the only people in America that doesn’t like streusel topping, but even I say don’t skip this one! it melts into a buttery, crackly cinnamon crust on the top of the bread.

For the bread
3 c flour
3/4 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground allspice
15 oz pumpkin puree (that’s one can of solid-pack pumpkin; I measured out a scant 2 cups in a liquid measure, which seems to have worked out fine)
3/4 c vegetable oil
2 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs
2-3 tart apples or firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 2 c)

Blend together all the topping ingredients in a small bowl until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350, and butter two 9×5″ loaf pans (or line with parchment).

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs. Add the flour mixture, stirring until well combined, then fold in the apples.

Divide batter between the two loaf pans. Sprinkle each loaf with half the topping. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool loaves on a rack for a few minutes, then remove from the pans to cool completely.