Pleasures of pumpkin
It’s worth growing pumpkins for the fun and satisfaction of harvesting your own for Halloween. Obviously perfect for lanterns, they are also full of nutrients and very versatile in the kitchen.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
You have to have pumpkin pies for Halloween and these mini versions are very simple to make. Makes 24 Pastry 240g plain flour 120g cold salted butter, diced 25g golden caster sugar 3½ tablespoons cold water Filling 450g cooked pumpkin flesh, cubed 75g soft brown sugar 1½ teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground cloves Good grating of whole nutmeg 4 tablespoons golden syrup 2 medium eggs 240ml double cream Method Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent You will need 2 x greased muffin tins, a 7½ cm fluted cutter and a food processor Whiz flour and butter together into fine crumbs. Add sugar. Whiz briefly. Add water and whiz until large clumps form. Remove from machine and form gently into a ball. Roll out to the approximate thickness of a pound coin and cut out circles. Press lightly into tins. Whiz pumpkin smooth with sugar and spices. Add remaining ingredients and whiz to combine. Pour into pastry cases and bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the filling just set.
Pumpkin Soup and Crispy Potato Skins
Bake the pumpkin and potatoes for easy preparation, deeper flavour and bonus potato skins.
Ingredients 1 medium pumpkin
(approximately 1.5kg) 3 medium potatoes 1 large onion, chopped 2- 3 sticks celery including leaf, sliced 3 tablespoons oil 1 level dessertspoon medium curry paste 200ml hot water or vegetable stock (or use liquid from centre of baked pumpkin)
Method Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent Lightly grease pumpkin and make small slits around the top. Bake for about an hour in a shallow dish until soft. Leave until cool enough to handle. Prick potatoes and bake alongside. Fry onions and celery slowly until soft. Add curry paste for final 5 minutes of frying. Scoop out pumpkin and potato flesh. Add stock or water. Whiz in a blender or food processor with water or stock until smooth. Heat until piping hot. Drizzle potato skins with a little oil and return to oven for 5-10 minutes until crisp but still slightly chewy. Serve immediately with soup.