Last week I accepted a full scholarship to study abroad and live with a host family in Indonesia next year. I also made this pumpkin bread. The scholarship is through YES Abroad, a student exchange program funded by the State Department. The bread is a sweet, spiced pumpkin quick bread that warmed our rainy afternoon.
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was founded in the aftermath of 9/11 as a way to build connections and understanding between the U.S. and countries around the world, particularly those with significant Muslim populations. In the 2003-2004 academic year the first YES exchange students came to the U.S. from Egypt, Gaza, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, West Bank, and Yemen. Since then, the program has expanded to accept students from 39 different countries for the 2011-2012 academic year. Up until 2007 the YES Program brought high school students from countries around the world to study and live with host families in the U.S., but wasn't sending students from the U.S. to other countries.
When the YES Abroad Program was established in 2007 to send American high school students to selected YES countries it furthered the potential and impact of the program and fostered greater trust between the countries involved in the YES program. Next year 55 American students will be hosted in nine different countries, each with significant Muslim populations: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Thailand, and Turkey.
This pumpkin bread was made on a wet, dreary day last week. As all of the ingredients came together our kitchen filled with the sweet smell of spiced pumpkin. As soon as the loaves came out of the oven my sister and I dove in with spoons, carving out soft scoops of bread. Warm, spiced, sweet bites of pumpkin - the perfect solution for gray skies.
While I am in Indonesia I hope to be able to continue to share photos, stories, and recipes on this blog to share my experiences in an incredibly different region and culture with you. And maybe I'll have a chance to share a recipe for quick bread with my host family.
Vegan Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 2 loaves
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
scant 2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
15 oz pumpkin puree, just under two cups
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. In another bowl, carefully whisk together pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and water. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
Divide the batter between two greased loaf pans (I used 9x13 -inch). Bake for 55-60 minutes, or longer if you are using a loaf pan with smaller dimensions, an 8x4-inch pan for example.