(and it’s low-fat too!)
If last weeks pumpkin was a baby, this weeks is truly a monster.
(Last weeks carving had started to sag a little, I love how it looks like a gummy old man pumpkin 🙂 )
The monster in the background was home-grown by my dad, and even though he claims they didn’t grow very big this year it sure looked like a whopper to me. Bringing it home in the car it took up the whole passenger seat, and I was tempted to put a seatbelt on to keep it from rolling around!
As another measure of scale – it was nearly as big as our two (fully-grown but not that large) cats, Chilli and Pepper.
Are cats supposed to like pumpkin? They couldn’t quite figure it out in any case!
Because I’d made quite a big pumpkin tart this week, I kept only a little of this one for baking. The rest was used in some delicious pastas and risottos, and finished off last night in a creamy pumpkin soup. Yum!
I very loosely based my pie on this bbc recipe, although I’m rather disappointed they suggest a shop-bought pastry case when they’re so easy to make at home.
The following is for a teeny little tart of approximately 3-4 inches, but should easily scale up.
40g butter can be substituted for low fat spread although end texture may differ a little)
80g plain flour
Rub the butter into the flour using light touches. Add a little water at a time until the pastry mixes to a stiff dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Remember to save 1/3 of your pastry for the lid!
I made my pastry case in a mini, loose bottomed tart tin. I blind baked it for around 15 minutes at 180 degrees – producing a crisp, slightly golden case (the ceramic baking beads had just been decanted into a second tin so the case could cool down). Blind baking is recommended for this kind of pie, as it has such a moist filling you are in danger of the dreaded soggy bottom if the pastry is not pre-cooked.
As for the filling, well, this is where I improvised rather a lot on Mr. Worrall-Thompsons recipe. Steaming the pumpkin, boiling this that and the other. Far too complicated! I was a bit slap-dash with throwing things in the bowl so quantities are a little approximate.
300-400g raw pumpkin
2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
1/2 egg (keep the other half for egg washing the top)
100ml cream (I used this alpro alternative as a great low-fat and dairy-free substitute. It tastes exactly like cream!)
– microwave the pumpkin for 3-4 minutes in a large bowl until hot and mushy
– pour the pumpkin into a sieve and use a spoon to press out the excess water. You want the texture to be a bit like mashed potatoes
– put the pumpkin back in the bowl, mix in the sugar, spices, and cream, and microwave again for 2 minutes until hot and bubbling
– taste! it might look like baby food bit is delicious at this stage: creamy, spicy, sweet pumpkin mush 🙂 Add more sugar or spices if you feel it needs them
– add the egg and quickly stir before it starts to cook in the hot mixture
– spoon the mixture into the pie case
– brush a little egg round the top of the pastry case before placing on the lid.
– to add some extra spook I used the extra pastry to cut out a bat shape (using the same cutter as my bat biscuits), which I again brushed with egg before placing in the middle
– finally a last egg wash all over the top for a nice shiny finish, and a couple of small holes for steam vents
– baking time will depend on your size and oven. Mine took around 30 minutes at 180 degrees. The pie should be piping hot and a lovely golden brown colour
A little while later I carefully turned it out of the tin and immediately fell in love with its’ cuteness – such a perfect little pie!
Once cut open the pastry was crunchy and crumbly, and the filling a moist, creamy just-set texture.
Oh and that wasn’t all! I had a little pastry and a little filling left, so made some teeny tarts in my silicon petit four cases. I simply cut a circle of pastry and filled generously with the pumpkin mixing, before baking for about 10 minutes. Some of the cutest (and tastiest!) tarts I think I have made 🙂
But how could I forget the piece de resistance – you are surely not still reading for the baking! Another masterpiece carving to finish with.