This recipe jumped out at me the other day while flipping exhaustedly through my mother’s well-thumbed-by-me copy of A Blessing of Bread: Pan de Calabazas – Sephardic Pumpkin Bread.
The book describes it as a sephardic Rosh Hashanah bread, but I figure with pumpkins just coming into their own right now, it’s perfect for Sukkos. Plus, Ted loves anything with pumpkin!
I am reminded of the Ashkenazi custom to dissolve a few threads of saffron to give your challah a lustrous yellowy-orange colour (perhaps in times and places when egg yolks were not as plentiful?). In this case, though, the pumpkin (she says you can also use a sweet potato) also adds moisture, hopefully making for a long-keeping bread.
Here are the steps to creating this gorgeous orange challah.
Fold laundry, come back 1/2 an hour later.
Add in all the other liquids… (nice and sweet, but light on the egg; my favourite!)
Then dump in the flour all at once.
Whoops! Wouldn’t be pumpkin bread without pumpkin, now would it? (you’re supposed to add the pumpkin with the other liquids… and yes, it is tinned)
Shaggy dough, to say the least.
Knead for a few minutes…
… and then a few minutes more, until it is evenly pumpkin-coloured throughout, smooth and elastic.
Dump in the bucket and fridge until this afternoon.
Despite the distraction of a million fruit flies, craft 2 decent 1.5lb 4-braids and 1 decent 1lb 3-braid.
Done! Set in downstairs fridge to rise overnight.