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story.lead_photo.caption TNS/Los Angeles Times/MARIAH TAUGER Roasted Pumpkin Loaves with Salted Breadcrumbs

The idea of another pumpkin loaf either makes you excited or makes your eyes roll out of your head. If you're in the latter camp, I implore you to give my iteration a shot.

Because I like the idea of pumpkin spice things but not their execution, I developed this loaf to be about all the good qualities of the flavor — cloying lattes notwithstanding. I take real pumpkin and roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper to give the puree an umami edge.

The loaf gets a crown of salty bread crumbs, perfumed with the usual "spice" suspects; it's the ideal contrast to the tender loaf cake. Freshly ground spices do make a difference but use the bottled kind if that's what you have (but please don't use pre-ground nutmeg; the flavor is acrid and bitter).

It's a lightly sweet, kinda savory loaf, at home with butter slathered over the side with a drizzle of honey or with a thwack of ricotta and some chopped thyme. Best part: It's the type of treat where the spices accent the pumpkin flavor, not overwhelm it.

Lastly, this loaf is a flatsy-tatsy on purpose. High-domed loaves are beautiful but to achieve them, the texture always suffers for me. I prefer these flat-top loaves, which have a very tender, moist crumb more akin to cake than bread.

Roasted Pumpkin Loaves With Salty Spiced Bread Crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the pans

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans

½ cup panko or plain bread crumbs

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (see note)

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided use

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

⅔ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 ¾ cups pureed Roasted Pumpkin (recipe follows) OR 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin

Flaky sea salt (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans with some olive oil and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Make the bread crumbs: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, 1 to 1½ minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves and ¾ teaspoon salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and remaining salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the pumpkin. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, then sprinkle each with half the spiced bread crumbs; if you like, sprinkle each with a pinch of flaky salt. Bake the loaves side by side until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center of each loaf comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the pans to racks and let cool completely. Unmold and slice or wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to one week.

Makes 2 loaves.

Notes: Can substitute 1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice mix for the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves.

Roasted Pumpkin

1 whole sugar pumpkin or kabocha squash (3 ½ to 4 pounds)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Split the pumpkin from stem to blossom end. Scoop out and discard all the seeds and fibrous strings. Place the halves cut side up on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil, using your fingers to rub it all over the exposed flesh. Season the pumpkin liberally with salt and pepper. Bake until the pumpkin is very tender and lightly caramelized at the edges, about two hours.

Remove the sheet from the oven and let the pumpkin cool. While it is still slightly warm, scoop the pumpkin flesh from the skins and either mash it or puree it in a food processor. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two months; thaw before using.

Makes about 4 cups.

Food on 11/13/2019

Print Headline: Pumpkin spice recipe that you will admire

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