Spiced Winter Squash and Pecan Tea Bread
This sweet bread, scented with warming spices, is an ideal companion on a frosty day. Slather it with soft butter or, even better, cream cheese for a yummy treat. I make this bread with red kuri, but any winter squash is fine. Makes one 9"x5" loaf.
1) Begin by roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash down the middle, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
2) Place the squash cut side down on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool for a few minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
3) Butter a 9"x 5" bread pan. Set aside.
4) Once the squash has cooled, scoop the flesh out of the skin and place in a food processor. Puree for several minutes until smooth. Alternatively, mash by hand with a potato masher.
5) Combine the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk briefly to mix.
6) In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. This can be done with either an electric mixer or by hand.
7) Add the eggs, one at a time.
8) Add the vanilla extract and the squash puree and mix well.
9) Add the flour mixture in two parts and mix gently. Fold in the pecans.
10) Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.