It’s that time of year again: pumpkin season! From pantyhose to gummy worms, almost everything has been transformed into a pumpkin-flavored or scented object. With all of these pumpkin products now available, the great debate has reopened—what is the best dessert involving pumpkin? Options ranging from pumpkin cookies to pumpkin ice cream definitely heat up the debate. As a pumpkin-themed dessert connoisseur, I consider the following recipes to be the best desserts of the beloved pumpkin season. Pull-Apart Pumpkin Bread with Warm Vanilla Glaze
Ingredients for bread: 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1/2 cup milk 2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 1/4 cup white sugar 1 tsp. salt 2 1/2 cups bread flour 1 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Ingredients for glaze: 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1/8 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 tbsp. milk 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown two tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown (not black!). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer and cool to about 100-110 degrees. Once it has reached a proper temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to cool for about 8 minutes (the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the pumpkin, salt and one cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour one tablespoon at a time.
Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes.
While dough rises, brown another two tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean and floured surface and knead with hands for one to two minutes. Roll dough into a 20 by 12 inch rectangle. Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into six strips.
Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into six even squares (cut in half then cut each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan, bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.
To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Lightly coat the bread with glaze once cooled.