Williams-Sonoma is often too gourmet for me in their choice of recipes, but I have found some real winners among the ones on their website. This is one I’ve been making for three years now, only in the fall of course, and even a few days before the “official” start thereof when I get antsy and the weather feels right—like this year. Enjoy. :)

Note: The bread is supposed to be baked in the Williams-Sonoma pumpkin loaf pan, which I never owned and now never shall: it seems to have been replaced in their inventory by a differently shaped pumpkin loaf pan (at $29.99, if you’re inclined) than is pictured in this recipe. At any rate, if you use a regular old 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan, it works, just don’t expect it to rise really high. Mine never has and the only reason I can think of is an unknown difference in the pan size (I never let my baking powder age too much, I follow the mixing directions exactly—if you have any other idea why it might be so relatively flat, let me know). It still tastes fantastic, and you might have loftier results with muffins (bake them at 350 degress for 25 minutes or so).

    Orange-Spice Pumpkin Bread

For the bread:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar (I use 1/2 c. and am quite satisfied with the sugaryness)
2 tsp. finely chopped orange zest
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree (note: CUP, not CAN :))

For the optional glaze:
3/4 cup water
Zest of 1 orange
2 Tbs. finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a pumpkin loaf pan.

To make the bread, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and orange zest on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in two additions just until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the water, orange zest and ginger. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a glass measuring cup.

Pour 1/2 cup of the orange-ginger mixture into a clean small saucepan (discard the remaining mixture). Whisk in the granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes to thicken slightly.

Tap the loaf pan gently on a work surface to loosen the bread. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Turn the loaf over and, using a pastry brush, brush it with the warm glaze. Let cool completely or serve slightly warm. Serves 10.

— Williams-Sonoma Kitchen