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Pumpkin Damper

by Roy Chambers (follow)
Easy (2874)      Lunch (1798)      Vegetarian (1517)      Simple (966)      Baking (674)      Pumpkin (119)      Australian (62)     
Dampers are a quick and easy way to make your own deliciously flavoured bread at home. Being a quick bread, dampers are not as light as breads that use yeast, but you can compensate by adding other ingredients such as sweet potato, zucchini, cheese, and for this recipe, pumpkin.

I would recommend using the more flavoursome Kent pumpkin rather than the more lightly flavoured butternut pumpkin. This lets you have the most flavour for the least pumpkin. Personally I usually just use whatever type of pumpkin is on special at the markets.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Makes: One damper large enough for 8 slices

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (if needed)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
30 grams of butter, softened
No more than 1/2 cup pumpkin, cooked and mashed
Up to 1/4 cup of milk, as needed

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.

Chop the softened butter into small cubes and add to the flour mix.

Using your hands, combine the butter with the flour. The result will make the flour look like fine grained sand.

Chop and cook the pumpkin. Boiling is okay, but steaming will leave the pumpkin a little drier. Roasting is even better as the pumpkin will be the most dry and have that lovely roasted flavour as well.

Mash the pumpkin, You don't want more than a 1/2 cup of pumpkin, but it can be hard to estimate until it is mashed. I normally cook more than I need and reserve the rest for another recipe such as these pumpkin and apple muffins. After mashing remove the pumpkin from the bowl using a fork help drain the pumpkin a little.

Add the pumpkin to the flour mix and combine as thoroughly as possible.

At this stage it may look a little dry, but actually in the photo below there was already too much liquid, so I had to add a little more flour. You will see for sure when you start to knead the bread.

Coat your hands with a little flour, press and knead the dough together.

If the damper is too dry and cracks when you knead it, you can simply add a little milk. Add it one tablespoon at a time while you continue to knead. If it is too sticky and clings to your fingers, then simply add some more flour.

Form the damper into a nice round ball.

Put the damper on a sheet of baking paper on an oven proof tray. Shape the damper into the shape you prefer. In this case I have made it into a nice flat disk. You can also make it into a more rounded ball shape if you prefer.

Dust with the top with flour to give it a nice rustic look.

As the damper cooks it will try and expand in all directions. However the cooking process will form a hard crust which means it will have to give in some way, usually making it rise in a misshapen form. To aid the even expansion you will need to scour the top of the damper.

In this example I have made 4 shallow cuts across the top of the damper. If you want the damper to pull apart in your hands, then make deep cuts.

Bake for 30 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius. To test that the damper is properly cooked inside, poke it with a thin metal skewer. If it is not cooked properly, a little bit of dough will stick to the skewer. When it is cooked through the skewer will come out dry.

Ideally let it cool for 10 minutes before serving with a little bit of butter or margarine. Or serve cold with butter or a relish.

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