Mix dates, boiling water and baking soda and set aside to soak for an hour. This will soften the dates a lot.
Preheat oven to 160C (320F) fanbake.
Mix soaked dates and the soaking liquid with the pumpkin puree, soy milk, maple syrup, oil and the flax egg.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and spices to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine, without overmixing.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin. Dot the surface with pecans or walnuts.
Bake for 50 minutes, then brush the surface with soy (or other) milk. Return to the oven and continue baking until cooked. Use a skewer to check for doneness from 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking time, returning the loaf to the oven for another 5-10 minutes if necessary. The loaf is cooked if the skewer remains clean.