What to do with a pumpkin, other than the obvious?
I love this time of year for lots of reasons, and one of them has to be the abundance of pumpkins that are around right now. Even though I managed to grow two of my own this year, I still could not stop myself from getting another one as I passed by a local farm shop with pumpkins piled as high as my 6 year old! We are used to seeing pumpkins used for one thing at Halloween, but the beauty of these amazing vegetables is that they are so versatile and extremely good for you. Yes they are a bit of a nuisance to peel and cut up, (for some recipes) but the effort is well worth it.
The Americans have raved about pumpkin pie for a long time, and since I have made my own I have been raving about it too. My eldest and middle child both eat my pumpkin pie which makes it even more worthwhile. A pudding with one of your child’s 5 a day…what more could you ask? The sweet, silky, orange flesh is stunning mixed with cinnamon; the perfect pudding to serve up at a Halloween party or on fireworks night with lashings of warm custard to keep your guests smiling.
This is the recipe I use, with a few tweaks of my own for added wow!
Deep Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon and orange pastry
Need to use a proper (medium sized) pie dish for this recipe. I tried with a quiche dish and it was not a great result as the filling cooked before the pastry did!
1/2 a small pumpkin seeded (about 500g)
3 tbsp of caster sugar
2 tbsp of agave syrup (I add this to cut down on the raw sugar a bit)
1 tbsp of cornflower or custard powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
3 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
310ml (10 1/2 fluid oz) milk
1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
210g plain flour
Zest of one orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
100g cold butter
3-4 tbsp cold water
- Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas 5 and grease your pie pan all over.
- Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a foiled baking sheet and place into the oven to cook for about 1 hour until the pumpkin is tender.
- For the pastry, put the zest, cinnamon, flour and salt into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the cold butter then cut this into the flour with a knife. Once the dry ingredients have incorporated as much as possible with the knife, get stuck in with your hands to rub the butter in lifting the mixture up and dropping it back into the bowel from high as you rub it through your fingers. This ensures that air is incorporated into the mix, and this is what helps the pastry to be light.
- Then slowly add sprinkles of water until the pastry just holds together. Wrap in cling film and let it ‘cool’ in the fridge for 30 mins
- When the pastry is ready roll out onto a lightly floured surface and lift into the greased pie pan, trim the edges and prick all over with a fork
- Once the pumpkin is soft and cooked, spoon out the insides into a food processor and puree until really smooth. Weigh out what you need for this recipe and if you have any spare you can freeze for next time or for when you make muffins or bread. Or if you have a baby like me, use it as an ingredient for some baby food, it is super smooth and combines with lots of flavours.
- Once the puree has cooled stir in the sugar, agave syrup, cornflour, cinnamon and ginger. Then add the egg yolks, vanilla essence and milk. The mix will be quite fluid,but don’t let this put you off.
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy but not stiff. If they are too stiff then it will be difficult to incorporate into the pumpkin mix and you will end up with a burnt layer of egg white on top of your pie.
- Gently fold in the egg whites to the pumpkin mixture.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie dish, and cook in the oven for 10 mins at 210c/410f/gas61/2 and then bake at a lower heat of 190c/375f/gas 5 for a further 40 mins or until set in the middle and lightly browned around the edges.
- Serve with either ice cream, cream or custard.