Thanksgiving is a big deal at my house. My mother, Lynn, is a tremendous cook, and this epic meal—with no fewer than fifteen people crammed in corners of our kitchen and then around the pristine dining room table—is her time to shine. She prepares for months in advance (literally); if she could find a way to buy produce in September and have it last until November, she would. There have been great debates over the optimal frozen-ness of a turkey that are imprinted forever in my brain although I know I’ll never be cooking one myself.
But nestled among the seven-plus sides and the thirty-pound bird, one humble dish stands out as our family’s unanimous favorite: the pumpkin bread. We first made it for my pre-school Thanksgiving party (I was a pilgrim), and it’s been on our table ever since. She makes two kinds, with and without raisins. It became so popular that for the last three years, she’s made loaves for each household to take home with them.
While I risk being disowned for sharing this recipe, I recently made my own version when hosting a few friends at my house to usher in the fall baking season. It wasn’t the same as Mom’s by any means, and I’m okay with that. But if you’re looking for something new for your table this Thanksgiving, this vegan-friendly version of a Kurdyla classic might be just what you were looking for. Enjoy (and thank you, Mom)!
3 1/2 cups [whole wheat] flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup of raisins
1/3 cup water
1 cup oil [or ½ c oil and ½ c unsweetened applesauce]
2 cups of canned pumpkin
4 Tbsp flax meal + 12 Tbsp water, whisked until blended
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
Soak raisins in warm water until plump. Cream together sugar, oil/applesauce, and flax mixture. Add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, raisins and flour. Mix well.
Pour batter into 3 greased and floured coffee cans, or 2 standard loaf pans. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
If making muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.
Also in Pumpkin: Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
Seasonal baking: Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling