We’re entering the season where I stop making “real” food and do nothing but bake for two months. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s pretty much not. If it’s cold outside, I want something warm, fluffy and comforting – the only exception might be spicy food, how can THAT not make you warm!
When I posted the apple braid last week, I heard several comments about how great it would be with Thanksgiving. I thought it was a little funny, because I had actually made this pumpkin braid first and thought the whole time about how I’d want this for Thanksgiving breakfast. Make it ahead and it’s ready for nomming while you’re mashing, whisking, and basting.
The pumpkin mixture is very lightly sweetened. Normally, a braid like this would have a sweet fruit and less a sweet cream cheese, but I like it to be opposite. Especially when pumpkin is involved, because too much sugar can mask its great flavors. If you’re feeling super lazy, you could always use pumpkin butter for the filling.
Mix the cream cheese, 3 tbsp sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice.
Spritz a baking sheet with nonstick spray and roll the dough out into a 12 x 8” rectangle. Spread the cream cheese down the middle (the long way) and top with the pumpkin – you may need to dollop it on top and then spread.
On either side of the filling, cut the dough into 1” strips, perpendicular to the filling.
Alternating sides, pull the strips over the filling at a slight angle, creating a braid appearance.
Brush the top of the braid with the 1 tbsp of milk and sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the edges of the bread is browned and the dough is cooked through.
Let the braid cool completely. Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and remaining almond milk to form an icing, using additional milk if you prefer a thinner icing. Drizzle the icing over the braid and serve.
Nutritional estimate uses the same pizza dough as the taco pizza (linked in the ingredients). Use vegan cream cheese for a vegan and dairy free braid. If you’re looking for a little crunch, toast up pecans and sprinkle on top while the icing is still wet.