slide of pumpkin bread on red patterned plate and knife with butter smeared on

Lately I have been sharing recipes from dear friends; recipes that have become family favorites (see White Chicken Chili recipe). Today’s recipe for pumpkin bread comes from my friend Dawn Pleasant. We worked at the same company in the early ’90s – my very first job in the U.S. Even though Dawn is my mom’s generation, we became fast friends. We shared, in particular, a love of reading.

Dawn used to make big batches of this pumpkin bread, usually baked in coffee tins, to sell at her church’s bake sale in the fall.

She’d carefully label her loaves, warning that they were made with peanut oil, her secret ingredient. You can use another oil but the peanut oil gives it a unique taste. I recently realized that when my daughter baked it for Thanksgiving but forgot to use peanut oil.

I don’t exactly recall how I came to love this pumpkin bread.

Either Dawn must have brought it to work for all of us to savor, or I got to taste it on one of my visits to her home. In any case, I am glad she gave me the recipe because it will always remind me of her.

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups sugar (reduced from the 3 cups Dawn used)

3 1/2 cups flour (I’m using gluten-free Measure-for-Measure flour by King Arthur now, and it works just fine.)

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. each of ground nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup peanut oil

1 cup water

1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin puree

1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts

Grease and flour two loaf pans (9×5 inches) and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Stir until smooth. Add the nuts.

Bake at 325F for about an hour but check on it after 45 minutes. If a toothpick comes out clean, it’s done! Small loaves need less time.

This recipe makes two regular loaves. Often, however, I make one big loaf (when the kids are around) and three small ones in this mini loaf pan. The little loaves work better for a smaller household. I freeze them and then take one out for a special treat that’ll last my husband and me a few days. A slice is especially delicious spread with butter, I think.