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Monastery of the Angels Pumpkin Bread

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Last week a friend showed up with a lovely wrapped pumpkin bread for us. I immediately asked, "Is that a Monastery of the Angels pumpkin bread???" No one was impressed with my psychic abilities, but I was impressed with that bread! Not just because there is a cloistered monastery in Hollywood. I was amazed because I have been baking that pumpkin bread for 20 years, ever since the LA Times published the recipe. In all of those years, this is the first time anyone actually gave me one. The first time I was going to try the real thing. And I have to say, it kicked my homemade version's ass. How do they make the loaf so big, yet achieve the perfect crumb? How do they keep it so moist, even a week after I opened the package?

I suppose if you live in a cloistered order of Dominican nuns, you have plenty of time to perfect your baking skills. Or perhaps you need chaste hands and a chaste heart, which means I will never make pumpkin bread that good. If you would like to try for yourself, the recipe is after the jump. If you are unsure of your chasteness, the monastery and its gift shop is located conveniently off the 101 Freeway.


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3 1/2 cups sifted flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooking oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin
Walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Combine eggs with oil, water and pumpkin and mix well. Stir into dry ingredients.

Turn into three greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pans and top with walnut halves. Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

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Recipe originally printed in the LA Times. Photo by Elise Thompson.

For more on the monastery, check out Santos' blog, Meet Me at Third and Fairfax

For more exciting Catholic food, check out Holy Orders Monastery Mustard, Monastery of the Mississippi Caramels, or how about some Monkbeans?