For me, cooking classes are the perfect way to introduce my students to new dishes. And vice versa, to learn about new dishes myself too! That’s how this Pumpkin Bread with Sweetened Condensed Milk came into my kitchen.
“Oh, hey, you’re that gal that loves pumpkin pies, right?”
“You have a good memory, Mr. Pumpkin Bread Lover”.
I always imagine these conversations happen at the community pool after I taught a cooking class at an apartment complex somewhere in San Diego County. *
And what these conversations have to do with me teaching a cooking class? Get ready to read about my secret ingredient for teaching the most fun cooking classes.
A community that cooks together …
I always like to start my cooking classes not only by introducing myself, but also have the students tell something about themselves. Most of my classes, I teach at the clubhouse of apartment complexes and my students are neighbors, so I figure it’s nice for them to get to know each other a little bit. See above scene.
The last few weeks, most of my cooking classes involved pumpkins and squashes, so I had the students introduce themselves naming their favorite dish with these ingredients. Not surprisingly, number 1 was Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin soup, roasted butternut squash and pumpkin bread were close follow ups.
None of these pumpkin dishes were on my classes’ menus, so I hope that I changed some of their favorites with new ones. Turned out, I did in a few occasions.
The teacher is learning too
In turn, I learned about pumpkin bread. At one class, it was the most mentioned favorite pumpkin dish and I just stood there faking I knew what they were talking about. *t made me curious and I found myself in my kitchen the next day to try it out, using some leftover pumpkin pie purée and that half a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Pumpkin purée or pumpkin pie purée?
When looking online for recipes, I noticed something weird. Most recipes call particularly for either pumpkin purée or pumpkin pie purée, specifically stating you can’t substitute one for the other. But wait with running to the store to get ‘the other can’.
Of course you can replace one by the other. Knowing the difference will help you substitute if you happen to have the ‘wrong’ one. To put it simply, pumpkin pie purée is the sweetened and spiced version of pumpkin purée. In all sweet dishes, simply add or leave out the spices and about 1/4 cup of sugar.
Only if you need the pumpkin purée for a savory dish, you might run and get that one, not to sweeten your dish too much.
* If you have attended one of my cooking classes for Big City Chefs at your complex, reply to this email to let me know if these kinds of conversations actually happen. I’m soooo curious!
Pumpkin bread with sweetened condensed milk
My version of pumpkin bread uses sweetened condensed milk, simply because I wanted to use it. I considerably cut down on the sugar used in other recipes, not to make my pumpkin bread too sweet. It’s not. It has sugar, but it’s not super sweet. If you crave that, I’d suggest to add a frosting.
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin pie purée
1 T lemon juice
2 cups flour (see tip)
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins
Tip: To make this pumpkin bread with sweetened condensed milk a bit heartier, you can sub (a part of) the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. From Mr. Eats’ beer making, I had leftover beer grains that I dried in my oven and ground and used 1/2 cup in this recipe.
Preheat the oven at 350 F | 180 C. Line a baking tray of 8×8 inch | 20×20 cm with parchment paper. It helps to wet the paper a bit.
Mix the wet ingredients, using a hand mixer. Beat up the eggs, then add the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, softened butter, pumpkin pie purée and lemon juice.
Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, using a fork or a whisk.
Mix all quickly, not to over stir. Pour the batter in the prepared baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry after sticking it in the center of the pumpkin bread.