This Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread is delicious; soft light chewy bread, a sweet sticky and lightly spiced filling, and a crunchy sugary topping. It’s a little messy, and it takes a little time. But most of the time is used up by the dough proving and it’s a very simple recipe to follow. You can even prepare the dough a day ahead to save on time. Good Times!
Apples aside there’s probably no flavour more synonymous with autumn baking than pumpkin. It isn’t a very common ingredient in Irish desserts, and to be honest I think the only time I’d even tried pumpkin before this week was when as a child, I would scrape out some of the pumpkin flesh with my finger as it was being gutted in preparation for carving. This obviously wasn’t the best introduction to pumpkin and for years afterwards I was under the impression that I really disliked the flavour. So it was with surprise that when I dipped my finger into a can of squishy packed pumpkin puree (really wasn’t arsed roasting my own pumpkin!) I realised it had quite a turnipy-root-vegetabley-kind-of-flavour, and really wasn’t bad at all. Combined with cinnamon and nutmeg and lots and lots (and I mean LOTS) of sugar this bread is absolutely scrumptious. Best served warm.
Pumpkin Cinamon Pull-Apart Bread.
Adapted from a recipe at Willow Bird Baking.
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup caster sugar
28g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
28g unsalted butter
Bread dough: Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the butter; Let it bubble and as it starts to brown, stir it so that it browns evenly. When it’s the color of dark honey, remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl to cool. In the same saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk until it bubbles. Remove from the heat and pour it into the bowl with the butter. Let these cool until they’re lukewarm (just stick finger in to check).
Stir the sugar and yeast into the milk/butter mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes to activate (some little bubbles should form on top, if they don’t discard the mixture and try again with new yeast). Stir in pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition. When the dough is combined, knead with a dough hook on low speed, or by hand on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour until it doubles in size (After it rises, you can put it in the fridge overnight to use it in the morning, but let it sit out for half an hour before rolling if you do.)
Make the filling: While the dough is rising, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Toward the end of the rising time, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter for the filling in the saucepan over medium-high heat and brown it. Put it in a small bowl to cool for use later.
Knead about 1 tablespoon into the dough, deflating it. Let it sit to relax for 5 minutes. Flour a large work surface and turn your rested dough out onto it. Roll it out to approximately a 20 inch long and 12 inch wide rectangle (approximately). This can take quite a bit of elbow grease as the dough tends to pull back after you roll it out. I found quickly lifting the dough after each roll to stretch it out a bit the easiest way to do it.
Spread the browned butter over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush and then sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top, patting it down to ensure it mostly sticks. It seems like a heck of a lot of sugar, I used most of it and it wasn’t too sweet at all.
With the long edge of the rectangle toward you, cut it into 6 strips (do this by cutting the rectangle in half, then cutting each half into equal thirds). Stack these strips on top of one another and cut the resulting stack into 6 even portions (again, cut it in half, and then cut the halves into equal thirds). Place these portions one at a time into your greased loaf pan, pressing them up against each other to fit them all in. Cover the pan with a damp towel and place it in a warm place for 30-45 minutes to double in size.
While dough rises, preheat oven to 175 degrees C. When it’s risen, place the loaf in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until dark golden brown on top. Eat while warm!