I managed to snag a lovely pumpkin for the princely sum of 50p the other week and it has been sitting in the kitchen looking at me ever since. It was only this weekend when I came home with a large squash as well, I figured I’d better do something with the pumpkin to make room for the squash particularly since it is Thanksgiving weekend next weekend
So it had to be pumpkin pie. pao had been asking me if I’d make pumpkin pie. Well, I’ve never ever made one before and I knew I liked it as an American colleague had brought in some she’d made and that started a whole new love affair with canned pumpkin which is often very expensive and difficult to get here. I did a bit of googling to try and work out how to prepare the pumpkin and came up with the Joy of Baking recipe but decided that I would prepare the pumpkin according to the recipe I had found on the BBC using the spices that Joy the Baker recommended on her blog.
Pate Brise Pastry
(adapted from Joy of Baking)
350g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
225g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
60-120ml cold water
In a food processor : put flour, salt, and sugar and pulse slightly to combine. Add butter and whizz until it resembles fine crumbs. Then add gradually 60-120ml of cold water so dough just holds together when pinched. If you don’t get this, add a little more water – I had to when I was doing this. Don’t pulse too much to mix – about 15-20 seconds.
Divide dough into three patties and wrap each in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. You can now prepare your pumpkin spice and filling.
(adapted from Joy the Baker)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (the one in my local shop has pimento in it and I have bought one with orange peel in so whatever you can get your hands on is nice)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
big pinch of mace (Joy suggests cardamom but I’ve not really seen powdered cardamom here and I got my Mace in Waitrose so I’m going to use it!!)
Add all the ingredients to a empty jar, put lid on and give a good shake and you are good to go. This makes about 2 tbsps of spice which is just enough for three pies.
(adapted from BBC Pumpkin Pie recipe)
900g prepared pumpkin – peeled and chopped weight
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
150g soft dark muscovado sugar
20 fl oz double cream
Steam pumpkin until soft and press through a sieve to get out all of the excess liquid. You may have to give this several goes and I did save the liquid for making a soup later.
At this stage, you will want to grease your 7 in dishes with butter and take your pastry out of the fridge so you can roll it out to fit your pie dishes. Joy of Baking explains this much better than I could but basically you want to roll your pastry to slightly larger than your dish then carefully poke it into the corners so it fills the dish and then cut off the excess pastry. Something that the BBC recipe mentions is putting chopped pecans into the pastry. I just sprinkled them on the top but for future reference, I plan to press them into the pastry at this stage so you get a nice pecan-y layer when you cut into it next time. Once you have put the pastry in all three pans, cover them each with cling film and put them back in the fridge to cool for 30 mins.
At this point, you can make a cup of tea and relax for ten minutes or do what I did which was pop over the road to a Christmas Bazaar to see what bargains were to be had (mmm gingerbread men).
Ok, back from drinking tea and hi-jinks?
(At this stage, you probably want to think about preheating your oven to 180C. My oven heats up quick so I kind of know that within the 10-15 minutes it takes me to do the next bit that I’ll be ready to bake.)
Beat eggs and yolks lightly in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, heat together gently sugar and double cream, whisking them together until at simmering point. Pour this onto the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
Add spice mix and whisk to combine.
Take the pastry cases from the fridge and pour in pumpkin mix. Transfer carefully to preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until puffed up round the edges and slightly wobbly in the middle.
Cool on racks being watchful of maurading cake eating kittens. I put two of the pumpkin pies in the freezer in case you wondered how we were going to eat all three before they went off.
In the meantime, whisk up a nice warming pumpkin soup:
Spicy pumpkin soup
1kg pumpkin flesh
Lump of butter, touch of olive oil
2 dried red chilis (this was quite spicy because I left the seeds it, for the less adventurous you might wish to deseed the chilis or just use the one)
1 tbsp powdered vegetable stock (I like the Marigold Swiss stuff) mixed up with water or leftover pumpkin water from pie
3 tbsps mint raita
Fry leek in butter with a little olive oil and set aside until pumpkin has cooked.
Steam pumpkin in stock until tender. Add chili(s) and leeks. Blitz with a stick blender.
Add mint raita and enjoy!