However, I think I might be losing my membership, especially after tasting a pie that my friend Emily Reynolds shared with me about a year ago. One thing for sure, her mother knows how to make delicious pumpkin pies.
While searching for other recipes using pumpkin, I found a pie that has double Southern appeal. The following recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie is from “Savannah Style,” an old cookbook by The Junior League of Savannah.
It is the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. As strange as it might seem, the addition of pumpkin actually seems to enhance the pecan pie flavor. Everyone who has tasted this version of pumpkin pie agrees that it is good enough to become a Southern classic.
Maida Heatter cookbooks are some of my all-time favorite sources for creative recipes that taste great. As I was looking through “Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts,” published in 1981 by Alfred A. Knopf, the pumpkin loaf recipe caught my attention.
This recipe impressed me when I read that Heatter gave this loaf a rave review. The first bite made an addict out of her.
With these two recipes on hand, there is no excuse for having a bland-tasting pumpkin dessert.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 pie crust, 9-inch deep dish
Mix all filling ingredients thoroughly and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until set.
Joan's Pumpkin Loaf
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar, or light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup oil
2 cups canned pumpkin (solid pack, not pumpkin-pie filling)
8 ounces (1 cup) pitted dates, each date cut into 2 or 3 pieces, no smaller
4 ounces (generous 1 cup) walnuts, cut or broken into medium-size pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10x5x3-inch loaf pan. Or use two or more smaller pans, if you wish. Dust the pan (or pans) with fine, dry bread crumbs, and tap over a piece of paper to shake out excess crumbs. Sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs just to mix. Add the sugar and oil and beat lightly just to mix. Mix in the pumpkin and then the dates. Now add the sifted dry ingredients and mix only until they are smoothly incorporated. Stir in nuts. Turn into prepared pan or pans and smooth the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours in the large pan, less time in smaller pans (in two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch pans, bake for 65 to 70 minutes), until a cake tester gently inserted into the middle comes out just barely clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Cover with a rack, turn over the rack and the pan, move the pan, and then turn the loaf right side up again on a rack. Let stand until cool. Wrap the loaves in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two, or freeze.