Living in a season-less city like San Francisco means that having a great sense of what month it is is an on-going battle, and the main way you know autumn has arrived is that the coffee mega chains have started pushing pumpkin lattes. Apparently pumpkin spice Oreos will also be happening this fall; I've never been particularly excited about Oreos, but I thoroughly enjoyed this review:
It’s true, I doubt anyone has ever enjoyed hot cider without scalding her tongue. And obliterated jack-o-lanterns were a recurring source of childhood heartache (Humans, we can be better!). Anyway, Alyna and I are similarly pretty crazy about pumpkin, so to mark the changing of the seasons we’ll be featuring pumpkin in a new fall series, “Good Gourdy!”
I have for a long time been mildly obsessed with the idea of making (so not actually making) this croissant loaf invented by Not Without Salt, so much so that I decided that I needed to take a class on croissant-making, and I did! The class I took was with Baking Arts, which was tremendous fun. The instructor was very clear and witty, and he even fed us croissants and chocolate as a mid-class snack. The class taught me two things: 1) I have absolutely no upper body strength, and 2) if someone makes you croissants from scratch, you keep that person around forever. Croissant dough is not as intimidating as it initially seems, but it does require enough patience and precision that it presumably also demands a good bit of adoration for the person for whom you are laminating all that dough.
You can omit the puréed pumpkin and make more of a autumn spice croissant loaf, but I was pretty into the bread-pudding quality that the puréed pumpkin bestowed upon the end product. Or replace the pumpkin with smashed banana! This would make a super delightful and unexpected fall brunch offering.
Pumpkin Croissant Loaf
Adapted from Not Without Salt
Yields 1 loaf
2 pounds croissant dough. For a croissant dough recipe with good visuals, bop on over to Top With Cinnamon.
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 cup canned puréed pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
* If you have a lower tolerance/outright contempt for purchasing admittedly frivolous spice blends, you can for sure make your own pumpkin pie spice.
Butter a loaf pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
Lay a few strips of croissant dough in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spread a thin layer of pumpkin purée on the croissant dough layer (1 to 2 tablespoons), and then sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice sugar. Continue to layer the croissant dough, pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice sugar until the loaf pan is about 2/3 full. The last top layer should be just croissant dough.
Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap or a cloth. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. If the dough was cold this may take longer. Press gently on the dough -- if it springs back after you press in, it’s ready for baking. It should look puffed but still a bit tight.
In a small bowl combine the egg yolk and water. Brush the egg wash on top of the loaf and then finish with a bit more of the pumpkin pie spice sugar.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake for 60 to 75 minutes. If the loaf begins to brown too quickly (mine did) lower the temperature a bit and/or cover the loaf with an aluminum foil tent. It takes this loaf quite a while to bake through.
Let cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting and finish cooling. Loaf lasts for 3 days in an air-tight container.