As much as I struggled with fall's arrival this year, it still remains my very favourite season. I love the snuggly sweaters, the big scarves, the tall boots, the crisp morning air, the rustling leaves under my feet, and the long shadows at the end of the day.
I don't particularly care for the fact that it's pitch black by 5pm or that entire days can be swallowed up by a miserable cold grey drizzle (or worse, swirling flakes of almost-snow), but hey, nobody's perfect... right?
I'm willing to overlook those flaws mostly because fall is about mellowing out.
To me, fall is about down-shifting into hibernation mode, replacing summer's constant go-go-go to a slower, cozier sort of pace.
It's about leaving a big stockpot of chicken and aromatics and water to simmer away for the better part of the day into a rich, comforting, deeply soothing chicken soup, and for making belly-filling casseroles to warm you all the way through.
It's about mournfully storing away the bike for one more year, and for digging up whatever half-finished knitting project has been kicking around in the closet for the past few months to give me something to occupy my hands while I watch crappy TV after dinner.
And, lest we forget (and really, how can we thanks to the Starbucks marketing machine), fall is also about binging on all things pumpkin spice. Like, say, this lovely Pumpkin Pecan Loaf.
It's pretty much the perfect embodiment of fall - golden orange with speckles of darker brown pecans, simply flavoured with pumpkin puree and warm fall spices, and just sweet enough to satisfy that hankering I often have for a little treat at a meal.
Oh, and it goes perfectly with a big mug of hot tea on lazy Sunday afternoons. Snuggly sweater and tall boots entirely optional.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9”x 5” loaf pan.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon,ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a second mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then carefully unmold and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.