October: Butternut Squash Bread With Orange Glaze

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Pane di Zucca –

Bread finish 5

Buon giorno!

Don’t you just love the smell of fall in your kitchen? Does it bring on those childhood memories? You know what I mean  – the aroma of spices baked into something you know will be special, warm, and comforting. When those spices combine with the flavor of orange, fennel seed, and roasted squash – it is heavenly. The Recipe of the Month for October, BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD or as the Italians say it, Pane di Zucca,  is your ticket to creating that memory in your cucina – the one that brings smiles when your dearest ones come running to the kitchen to see what has created such sweet spicy sensation. Throw in dark juicy cherries and some nuts to crunch and hearts will be won.


This is easy to make. You actually SHOULD make it ahead. Those who can’t resist and eat it right away will miss a special surprising transformation. You must make it a day ahead – the bread slices better but more important – a miracle occurs overnight! The flavors of this lovely nut bread intensify as the hours pass and become incredibly wonderful during this time. The next day you have a sweet bread that will be difficult to resist and one that definitely won’t last long! “ Good things come to those who wait.”


(Pane di zucca)

Makes:  1 loaf

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: about 1 hour 15 minutes


1/2 lb. Butternut Squash Puree (about 2 1/2 C. cubed peeled butternut squash – Roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes – then pureed in processor or blender)

1/2 C. Butter

2 Eggs

1/3 C. Orange Juice

Grated Zest of 1 Orange

3/4 C. Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

1/3 C. Sliced Dark Red Cherries – leave them chunky (fresh preferred, but dried or even canned may be used if drained and dried) Throw in a few more if you like.)


1 3/4 C. Flour

1 1/4 C. Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Soda

3/4 tsp. Baking Powder

3/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed


1 C. Powdered Sugar

1/2 tsp. orange extract

1/8 C. Orange Juice

Grated Orange Zest for garnish


Roast the cubed butternut squash, spread on a pan and sprinkled with a little oil, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Puree in blender or processor. Makes about a cup.

Cream the butter in a mixer and add the pureed squash, eggs, orange juice, and orange zest.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add to the squash mixture in the mixer. Mix until combined and remove bowl from mixer.

Add the nuts and cherries and toss with a spoon or spatula.

Butternut Squash Bread 2

Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Butternut Squash Bread 3

Bake at 350 for about an hour and 15 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Cool in pan about 20 minutes – then remove the bread.

When Bread is cool. Mix the powdered sugar with the extract and orange juice. You should have a thick glaze.

Orange Icing - 4

Drizzle the glaze over the bread and sprinkle top with more orange zest.

Bread - sliced 6

Refrigerate overnight before cutting and eating. The bread will slice better than when warm and the flavors will intensify!

Bread - 2 slices 8

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD or Pane di Zucca  is a spicy and zesty fall nut bread. Better make two, as it disappears fast!!


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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