I'm a fan of many pumpkin-flavored things, including bread, scones, and pie, but not everything (sorry, pumpkin spice latte). I also happen to be a big advocate of canned pumpkin. It's an old and mostly true cliché that "nothing's better than the real thing," but I'm not sure how true that is with pumpkin. In order to bake with a real sugar pumpkin, a cook must roast it and then cook down its watery flesh until the texture is correct. This process is neither easy nor consistent, so I always use canned pumpkin.
I do love to have a nice crust on the top of my pumpkin bread, which is why my recipe begins with a butter and flour roux. When added to the batter, this combination of ingredients results in a beautifully crisp crust (this crust tends to soften overnight, but will happily regain its crispiness when heated or toasted). It also results in a super moist bread, evading the Play-Doh-y texture common among dense quick breads. So if you're tempted to skip the roux, trust me when I say that it's worth the few extra minutes. Read more.