This recipe is an adaptation from an old “Company’s Coming” book. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin—it is easy for me to skip the pie at Thanksgiving—but this loaf brought me around with its combination of pumpkin, orange, dates, and pecans to create a rich, full-flavoured quick bread reminiscent of fruit cake. Enjoy!
½ cup pecans, chopped
⅓ cup butter, softened slightly
1⅓ cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
⅓ cup water
1 medium navel orange
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp salt
½ cup dates, chopped (about the size of raisins)
Preheat oven at 350°F. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and line bottom with parchment, if desired.
Toast pecans in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking occasionally, until fragrant. Set aside to cool. (Toasting the pecans can be skipped if you’re pressed for time.)
Cream together butter and sugar well. Beat in eggs until just combined, then stir in pumpkin and water.
Cut orange in half stem-to-bud and remove any seeds from the centre column. Grind up the entire orange in a blender, food processor or grinder. (If you don’t have a grinder, slice the peel thinly and then run your knife through the lot to finely chop.) Stir into pumpkin mixture.
Combine the remaining ingredients together with the cooled pecans and mix well. Stir into wet ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out if necessary. Bake for 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing.