Here we go with another pumpkin-themed recipe, and this is a heavy one. Literally. This pumpkin walnut bread with dates weighed over three pounds out of the oven! Needless to say, it is one dense piece of sweet-bread. It is also super moist, beautifully textured and unique. My taste-testers all thought it was delicious and this recipe even was given a “perfecto” rating from one discerning taster.
The pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves are fragrant and will satisfy any festive craving. The walnuts and dates are chopped roughly so the chunks are big which makes each bite a real treat. I used regular pitted dates that I found in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods and in fact, these dates work better than Medjool dates and are much cheaper.
This beauty was delicious right out of the oven, but it does not slice well the first day. If you can stand to wait, wrap the bread in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two. The loaves also freeze beautifully so you can start your holiday baking right now!
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup almond flour (may substitute regular all-purpose, but the almond flour adds a delicious tender texture)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted (you can substitute canola or any other light oil)
- 2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin-pie filling)
- 1 cup walnuts, cut into generous pieces
- 1 cup pitted dates, each date cut into 2 or 3 pieces-No smaller (see note)
- Note: It will be a more delicious loaf if you use whole dates and cut them yourself rather than using pre-diced, packaged dates-they are too sweet and the pieces are too small.
- Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter a 9.25 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Or use two or more smaller pans if you with. Dust the pan (or pans) with fine, dry plain bread crumbs and tap over the sink or a piece of paper to shake out excess crumbs.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.
- It is not necessary to use an electric mixer for this, although you can if you wish (I don't. I use a large spoon to just stir everything and that is how I will instruct the rest of the recipe.)
- In a large bowl, stir the eggs lightly to mix. Add the sugar and oil and then stir. Mix in the pumpkin, the dates and walnuts. Now add the sifted dry ingredients and stir only until they are smoothly incorporated.
- Turn into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top(s).
- Bake for 50-60 minutes in the large pan. If using smaller pans, check them after about 35 minutes. Bake until a cake tester or tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out just barely clean.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Cover with a rack, turn over the rack and the pan. Remove the pan, and then turn the loaf right side up again on the rack. Let cool completely.
- If possible, wrap the loaf (loaves) in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours before slicing. Freezes quite well, also.
- Cook's note: If making smaller loaves, position oven rack on center rack. When I split this recipe between four loaf pans, 27 minutes is the perfect time. I would test with a toothpick at 25 minutes.
Recipe adapted from the incomparable Maider Heatter’s Cakes.