A student of mine last year sent me pumpkin bread all the way from DC as a thank you for writing letters of recommendation for grad school. I'm not sure I had ever had pumpkin bread before, but I loved it! This pumpkin bread is also wonderful - deliciously moist, even days after it's made and even after it's been frozen (although most cakes are great after being frozen). It's also super easy and quick, and it makes 2 loaves. What more could you want?
In keeping with the deliciously easy theme, this vanilla ice cream is the first ice cream I ever made in my ice cream maker. I went with the easiest recipe in David Lebovitz's book since it was our first adventure (the ice cream machine and me, that is). It was, without a doubt, the best vanilla ice cream I've ever had. By far. I immediately began dreaming up all sorts of interesting variations I could make: fudge and peanut butter swirls, chunks of chocolate cake, raspberry ripples, .... but that's for another post.
It's seriously very hard to express just how easy and incredibly delicious both the bread and the ice cream are. Make them immediately!
Pumpkin Bread Recipe (adapted from here)
1 can (about 2 cups) canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup Canola oil
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 9" x 5" loaf pans with baking spray.
Combine pumpkin, sugar, water, oil, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if you'll be using a hand mixer).
Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. Bake for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on rack.
Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (from David Lebovitz)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste*
Pour 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan, and add the sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat, and add the remaining milk, cream, and vanilla bean paste.
Chill thoroughly in the fridge. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. In my Cuisinart, it's ready in about 25 minutes with a perfect soft gelato-like texture. It gets much harder in the freezer.
*You can use a vanilla bean instead of the paste, but I find the paste easier. If you use the vanilla bean, split it lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds into the saucepan; drop the vanilla bean pod in as well. Remove the vanilla bean (before freezing) when you take the mixture out of the fridge; reserve for another use.