My Mother made this recipe during the holidays as far back as I can remember. According to her, she learned it from doing holiday baking with her cousins and aunt. I've been making it since I was 14, so that's 46 years. Mom was born in 1924, and her aunt probably around 1900. By the time I got around to asking her the history of this recipe, there was no one left to ask just how far back it went. Each cook has "tweaked" the formula a little to suit her particular taste. Although I have Mom's and one of the cousin's versions, I will be sharing my twist on the original. I have already taught both my sons, and my granddaughter how to make it, so the tradition will continue at least two more generations. The smell, as it fills the house while baking, is the essence of winter and the holidays. I remember coming home from school and the house filled with the spicy smell...and those memories are now paired with enjoying the excited expression on my boys faces as they'd come in the door to that "holidays are near" aroma...backpacks being tossed into the hallway as they hovered over the still hot pans. This recipe used to be a closely guarded family secret; the kind everyone begged for but few got a peak at. Mom, then Mom and I, and now my granddaughter and I have baked, and will bake many batches of mini-loaves to hand out to neighbors. Sharing food, in my family, is synonymous with sharing love.
Quick bread (not yeast rising) style sweet pumpkin bread with spices and optional walnuts and raisins.
|3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (regular flour is ok, finished product not as moist)|
|3 cups sugar|
|2 tsp baking soda|
|1 1/2 tsp salt|
|2 tsp cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon preferred)|
|1/2 tsp allspice|
|1/4 tsp ground cloves|
|2 cups mashed pumpkin (1 can)|
|3/4 cup vegetable oil|
|1/3 cup water|
|2 tsp vanilla|
|1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)|
|1 cup golden raisins (optional)|