I made this amazing, delicious Pumpkin Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting, and I’ll be sharing the recipe with you at the end of this post, but first I want to tell you a bit about my Saturday morning. I’d love for you to stick around and read about it, but if you’re just here for the recipe you know where to find it!
Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to listen to a panel at the Boston Book Festival that consisted of Stella Parks from BraveTart and Serious Eats, Karen Akunowicz from Myers+Chang and Top Chef, and Joanne Chang from Myers+Chang and Flour Bakery. Each of these women have impacted my life in different ways, and seeing them all come together in one panel was a truly amazing experience.
I have been following BraveTart since the first time I tried to start Flour de Liz back in 2013. I immediately became a fan because she, like me, is from Kentucky. It didn’t take long for me to realize how amazingly talented she is. I love her nostalgic style, and her love and appreciation of the food. It’s truly amazing that she is able to interact with everyone who reaches out to her, and because of that I became even more of a fan. She has inspired me in so many ways, but the one that keeps coming to mind is the measurement of ingredients in recipe development. I listened to her on a Serious Eats podcast where she mentioned being aware of measurements in which foods are sold when developing a recipe (for example, if something is sold in 8 oz containers, she would adjust the recipe so not to call for 9 oz of it). This is something I had not considered because I often keep all sorts of baking items in stock, so opening that second container wasn’t an issue for me, but it is something that is so helpful to those that are baking your recipes. (Also she talks about her method of toasting sugar – check it out!) I could (obviously) go on and on here because she is just as amazing in person as she is everywhere else you see her, but I still have two other amazing ladies to get to, so I won’t.
I was not familiar with Karen Akunowicz until I watched her season of Top Chef. As we often do, I picked her from the beginning because of the Boston connection, but immediately was in awe of her skill and in love with her personality. She didn’t need that Boston connection for me to be a huge fan! Unfortunately I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit Myers + Chang, but I have no doubt that it will live up to its stellar reputation. Karen might be the kindest, friendliest, happiest person you will meet and it truly makes me feel I could talk with her for hours. Everything about Karen is an inspiration from her skill to her confidence, to her personality, and I am honored to have met her.
Last, but certainly not least, Joanne Chang. Joanne Chang is my role model. It didn’t take long after moving to Boston to discover Flour bakery. In fact, I think I discovered it before I even actually moved here! When you are in an online search of the best cookies in Boston, this is one of the results. And it will not steer you wrong. The desserts at Flour are out of this world. I remember first discovering Joanne Chang and learning that she did not come from a culinary background and I was blown away. Her talent is unmatched. Her desserts are heavenly. And that small, little tidbit gave me hope that I could do this too. In addition to the delicious treats, Joanne treats her employees fairly and respectfully, and it shows in every store. If you’re having a bad day, all you have to do is walk into a Flour and your mood immediately improves. The staff are so friendly, welcoming, and happy, and they’re also giving you delicious food that will make you forget all your troubles! Joanne is so friendly and down to earth that you just want to be her friend!
As I mentioned before, I could go on and on about these women, but I do have a recipe for you today! This Pumpkin Chai Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting, is my Chai Loaves recipe I shared last year, but with pumpkin and frosting added, so, I mean, you can’t go wrong, right? The recipe calls for 1/2-1 can of pumpkin. This is really up to you. More pumpkin will make for a denser, pumpkinier (is that a word?) bread. No matter how much pumpkin you use, you won’t be wrong. These were so good that I’ve made two batches (with different pumpkin measurements) and they’ve been scarfed down so fast that I don’t even have a photo of the final product! Make this bread, and snag a photo then eat them up!