by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’

Thanksgiving is one of our favourite festivals at All The Best. All of us in the retail store and in the kitchen are working in ‘over-drive’ helping our customers with all the things they need for their Thanksgiving feast and essentials for entertaining on a happy holiday weekend.

Our kitchen is filled with the spicy aromas of fall baking. Pumpkin Pies are, of course, essential to the season but there are lots more treats to enjoy: Cinnamon Apple Pies, Apple Cranberry Crumble Pies, Pear Raspberry Crisps, Apple Pecan Bread Puddings, Oven-roasted Sweet Potato Cobblers…all fresh from the oven and made with fruits of our local harvest.

Our Pumpkin Loaf is a personal favourite and part of our fall and Thanksgiving tradition at All The Best. A topping of toasted pumpkin seeds adds a pleasing crunch. It’s the perfect not-too-sweet treat to enjoy with a warming drink after a brisk walk on a fall afternoon.

Pumpkin Loaf

Preheat oven to 350°F (180° C)

9-by 5-inch (23 by 12.5 cm) loaf pan, greased and lined with parchment paper

11/2 cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (150 ml) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder

1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon

½ tsp (2 ml) ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

2 large eggs

1 cup (250 ml) canned pumpkin purée

1/3 cup (75 ml) vegetable oil

½ cup (125 ml) raisins

2 tbsp (30 ml) green pumpkin seeds

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. Stir in raisins. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over top.

Bake in preheated oven until tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.

Tip: When baking with canned pumpkin in pies, loaves and muffins be sure to buy pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling has sugar and spices already added to it.

If you are preparing your own pumpkin purée, select small pumpkins at the market that are labeled ‘pie pumpkins’. Cut pumpkin in half; scrape away seeds and fiber and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven until very tender. Timing will vary from 35 minutes to over an hour depending on the size and density of the pumpkin. Cool cooked squash, then peel and mash until smooth. Cool and refrigerate or freeze the purée until needed.

For more delicious seasonal recipes pick up a copy of All The Best Recipes by me, Jane Rodmell (2009, Robert Rose Inc.).

Happy Thanksgiving and all the best,