Pumpkin Pie Spiced Challah

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Pumpkin Spice Challah

The pumpkin spice trend joins a Jewish classic. This Pumpkin Pie Spiced Challah is perfect for a winter Shabbat, and especially for your kosher Thanksgiving meal!  

You can choose to roast your own pumpkin for this recipe, but some good old canned pumpkin from the supermarket will work just fine, too. You can also choose to leave off the pepitas, but I find the sweet, soft texture of the challah pairs nicely with the slightly salty crunch of the pepitas on top.

If, by some chance, you have leftovers on Sunday morning, this challah makes an incredibly rich bread pudding made with white chocolate, eggs, milk and heavy cream.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 2 small challahsServings

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 11⁄4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons yeast
  • 5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs

Topping:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon thick sea salt (optional)
  • 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup pepitas

Preparation

1. In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water (this is called proofing the yeast). Allow to sit, around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

2. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 1⁄2 cups flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix thoroughly.

3. Add another cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

4. Add another 2-2 1⁄2 cups flour, mixing thoroughly and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).

5. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel.

6. Allow to rise 3-4 hours, punching down at least once if possible.

7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Braid challah into desired shape. Allow challah to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light.

8. In a small bowl, beat 2 egg yolks with 1 teaspoon water. In another small bowl combine the 1⁄4 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

9. Brush egg wash liberally over challah. Sprinkle pepitas in a single layer on top of challah, followed by the cinnamon sugar and the thick sea salt if desired.

10. If making one large challah, bake around 27-28 minutes; if making two smaller challahs, bake 24-26 minutes.

Recipe originally published in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Winter 2014 Subscribe Now

Magazine Winter 2014