Pumpkin, for Challahs
I continue to be intrigued by the concept of pumpkin challah, and I recently made a whole LOT of pumpkin mush. I posted about that on my regular blog, but saved these luscious pumpkin-challah pics for this blog, as a special treat for readers here.
First of all, a fun discovery – you don’t need a shmancy recipe to get pumpkin challah! I actually just used the basic Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day no-knead challah recipe, which I didn’t even love all that much. The pumpkin kicked it into far loftier spheres.
Rather perfectly, this recipe called for 1 3/4 cups of water… for which I substituted about 1 3/4 – 2 cups of homemade frozen pumpkin purée, thawed. That’s it – that’s the trick. No water at ALL. If you’re using canned pumpkin, it might not work, because it’s very dry, but homemade frozen purée is a bit waterier and this worked out just fine. If you find that you can’t stir the mixture with your dough whisk, add a bit of water, maybe 1/4 cup at a time, until you achieve the proper consistency… it’ll still be delicious.
Look at that beautiful orange colour! (I grabbed the sheet of paper for contrast, not realizing it had part of a drawing on it…)
This is a fairly wet dough that could really benefit from at least one stretch-and-fold operation, if not two, an hour or so before baking. Or you could make the dough ahead and refrigerate it. Or some combination of the two, to whip this unco-operative, slack dough into shape.
And here they are, all risen, streuselled (the official Canadian spelling of “streuselled” has 2 l’s, I assure you), and ready to go! I added traditional pumpkin spice to the streusel – cinnamon, nutmeg, a tiny bit of clove.
Okay, now – big l’havdil, but in traditional Japanese geisha culture, maiko, apprentice geisha, wear their hair in a “split peach” style, where a little bit of red fabric peeks out from their dense nest of black hair. That bit of red is supposed to be highly tantalizing, in a frankly sensual way.
And THAT is exactly what the yellow of these finished challahs does for me. It calls out, inviting me, in the most tantalizing way, not just to eat, but to explore these challahs.
Let’s have one more shot of these split peaches:
I think – short of trying lurid things with food colouring, which has its place, for sure, especially for Parshas Noach! – this is the closest you’re going to get to a really intriguing contrast between interior and exterior colour.
But now you know – it’s easier than you thought to make a totally fancy challah!