Over the past few weeks I have been asked an awful lot of questions by an awful lot of people about Thanksgiving, food and Allrecipes. I think we more than covered Thanksgiving last month and out of respect for my handful of readers I will try not to mention it again except in passing. Food and Allrecipes are however two subjects that I am more than comfortable & willing to discuss at the drop of the Chef’s Toque. One question that I was asked has stuck with me and that question was “Do you have a favorite recipe on Allrecipes ?”
Now I think that is a great question and I actually answered it without even giving pause. In this age of blatant & shameless self promotion you would think that my answer would have been one of the 15 recipes that I have on this site but Alligator Chili wasn’t the answer even though it is the recipe of mine that gets the most interesting responses. I have a turkey soup recipe that has been featured on Allrecipes twice on the day after Thanksgiving but that wasn’t my answer either. It wasn’t the Sweet Potato Pound Cake that has won me prizes in every baking competition I have entered it in. (see – the age of blatant & shameless self promotion) No, my absolute favorite recipe on this site is none other than Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread by Laurie Bennett. (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/downeast-maine-pumpkin-bread/detail.aspx) At last count 135,350 people had saved it and another 4,761 of those people had reviewed it with an almost perfect 5 star rating. If I ever had the chance to meet Laurie Bennett I would have to drop down to my knees and bow at her feet while chanting “I’m not worthy !” over & over again. So what is it about this recipe that makes it stand out so much ?
I’m not sure why I went searching a pumpkin bread recipe all those years ago. (October 18, 2001 to be exact) For all I know it may have been a featured recipe on the day I happened to click on Allrecipes. I do know however that I am glad I found it and so are the countless friends, family members, teachers, cleaning people, mailmen and piano teachers we know. I also know that I have always liked the tradition of certain baked goods for certain holidays and I already had Snickerdoodles (blatant & shameless self promotion – http://www.allrecipes.tv/videos/community-snickerdoodles.aspx) slotted as my “Fall Cookie” and Grandma’s Spritz Cookies as my “Christmas Cookie” so I really needed something for the Halloween/Thanksgiving time period and to be honest, cookies just didn’t seem to fit. I also have always liked getting small loaves of different breads wrapped in foil & ribbon that people will bring to a holiday party as a small gift for the host. When I found Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread I knew I had found exactly the recipe I had been looking for whether I knew I was looking for it or not.
It’s not a difficult recipe by any stretch of the imagination but the people I know seem to think I have some magic touch or there is some secret ingredient that I must add. Truth be told that while I usually find that recipes are nothing more than a guide for my creative side, this is a recipe I follow exactly every single time I make it. Well maybe not exactly, all those years ago I didn’t have three 7 inch loaf pans, so I went out to the local grocery and found the next best thing – 1lb mini loaf pans. The recipe divides perfectly into five of these tins and when they bake (58 minutes) they puff up majestically and look like mini-footballs. In fact, if you wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap when they are warm, the tops will turn to that wonderful soft gooey like texture that we all love from a bread like this one. I am not sure how many batches/loaves I have made in the 10 years that I have been making this recipe but I do know that so far this year I have made 14 batches or 70 mini-loaves and I am not done yet. I’ll probably make another batch or two to either include with a holiday tip or to put in our freezer for a morning breakfast treat.
So Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread is far & away my all-time favorite Allrecipes recipe. It’s the one recipe that I would keep if I had to give every other recipe in my recipe box back. I like it that much.
Come back next time when we might discuss the worst recipe we have ever made or we might talk about the cookies we are going to make this weekend for Cookies Across America.