Pumpkins are a delicious base for soups, pies and cakes; here are a few recipes to inspire some creativity.
As well as looking beautiful and making a wonderful autumn decoration, pumpkins are a delicious basis for soups, pies and cakes; here are a few recipes to inspire some creativity with this magnificent fruit of the pumpkin vine.
To make a batch of pumpkin purée, which can then be used in a variety of culinary creations, first you have to bake it. You could dice the pumpkin and cook in a small amount of water until tender, but baking it does bring out the delicious sweet pumpkin flavour so much more.
So to bake; preheat the oven to 180°C. With a good sharp knife cut the pumpkin into quarters and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. Then cut the quarters again, depending on how big the pumpkin is, to get about 3" wide pieces. Place skin side up on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender when prodded with a fork. Allow to cool and then peel off the skin and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Whizz until smooth. Pumpkin purée freezes well in rigid containers; leave a 1/2 inch gap at the top.
Pumpkin pie is probably the first thing that pops into our heads when we think of using a pumpkin in the kitchen. Yes, it is definitely one of the most scrumptious autumn/winter desserts with heavenly, velvety, sweet spiciness in every mouthful.
For the pastry
- 6oz flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3oz unsalted butter, very cold
- 1 egg yolk
- 3-4 tablespoons double cream
For the filling
- 1 lb pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 3 oz soft brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons golden syrup
- 8fl oz double cream
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
To make the pastry, sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl or into a food processor. If doing by hand - cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the mixture with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Blend the egg yolk and cream together and, using a fork, stir into the flour mixture. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 seconds with the heel of you hand to blend. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough when ready and line a greased 9½ - 10 inch pie plate. Prick the base with a fork and fill the centre with a piece of crumpled grease proof paper weighed down with dried beans or rice. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking blind in a hot oven, 400°F/200°C, for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans for the last 5 minutes. Place on a rack to cool.
Combine all the filling ingredients and mix together until just blended. Pour into the pie case and return to the oven at 375°F/190°C for 45 minutes, or until the filling has set. If you place the pie plate on a hot baking sheet in the oven while it cooks it helps keep the pastry crisp. Serve at room temperature, with a glug of cream.
Pumpkin Kugelhopf Cake
This is a gorgeous, sweet and fudgy,moist cake which keeps well and indeed improves when time is allowed to intensify the warming flavour of the spices.
- 9 oz pumpkin purée (see method above)
- 9 floz sunflower oil
- 10 oz light muscovado sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 8 oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
Preheat the oven to 180C and generously butter a 9 inch kugelhopf tin.
Whisk oil and sugar together for two minutes. Add the eggs one and a time, whisking well after each addition.
Sift over the flour, spices, soda and fold in. Gently stir in the pumpkin purée and pour into the prepared tin.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen, springy to touch and slightly shrinking from the edges of the tin. Leave to cool for half an hour before carefully turning out onto a large plate. Delicious served warm with cream or sliced cold with hot coffee.
- 1 ½ lb pumpkin puree
- 1oz butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ pint of milk
- 2 tbsp crème fraiche
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Pinch of sugar
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until tender. Add the stock, milk, pumpkin, sugar and nutmeg. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and with an electric hand blender whizz until smooth. Return to the heat and swirl in the crème fraiche and lemon. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.