Thursday, October 18, 2012


Today's flower arrangement, seeing what I could
do with a bunch of Tesco's flowers and what was
in the garden.
Well, after yesterday, pumpkins are no longer the good ol' jack o' lantern in our house, although I am being pushed to create this weekend!

A pumpkin is now a vase for Halloween and harvest flowers. The innards are pumpkin and chilli bread and pumpkin cake and pumpkin pie (recipes below)! Oh and the chickens had the seeds - although I have been known to roast those with salt in the past, but it is rather like eating cardboard, however good they might be for you.

So sharing some recipes today so that you have things to do with the middle of your pumpkins!

Pumpkin and Chilli Bread:

  • 120floz warm water with one tablespoon of good quality yeast (leave to activate for around 20 mins before using)
  • Around 6oz of pureed pumpkin (I just let mine soften with a little water in a pan, then puree with my hand blender)
  • 9oz wholemeal bread flour
  • 9oz white bread flour
  • tsp of salt
  • 1 chilli chopped finely and de-seeded.
  • oil for your bowl for proving and for the baking tray.
  • spray mister with water in.

So, my bread has never been the biggest success in my life, but that is probably because I am impatient with it. It needs time to rise and be kneaded and prove again before you even entertain the idea of showing it the oven. The oven also needs to be hot around 200c and the bread (according to the lovely Mr Hollywood) is better wet on the outside - hence the spray mister (you can alternatively mist your oven throughout the cooking process)

So let's see:

Your yeast needs to activate.
Whilst you're waiting, weigh out your flours and put them into a bowl with the salt and the chopped chilli.
Just before your start to blend it altogether, put the pumpkin into the bowl and gradually add the warm water/activated yeast mix.

Now, the more you knead, the better your bread.
This is not a quick bread to do, it will take at least 3-4 hours with rising times.

Knead it altogether, knock it out onto a floured work surface and knead until it becomes elastic. This can be 20 plus minutes of anger management therapy and is MUCH cheaper!

You'll also find that the better kneaded it is, the shinier the surface of the bread becomes (obv. using wholemeal there will still be a little grainy effect)

Put oil in your bowl, then put your bread mix back into it, cover with a clean tea towel and leave it to stand for at least an hour or until it's doubled in size. Now, it may be quicker than that, mine rose fast this morning because I left it on the back of the stove whilst the oven was on, so it was warm.

You will need to knock it out again after the first rise.
Then put it back in the bowl and leave for it to rise again.

On the second turn out, put it onto your oiled baking tray, mist well with water and pop in your hot oven for around 20 - 30mins.

To check the bread is done properly, take it out with your oven gloves, turn it upside down and knock on the bottom, if it sounds hollow, it is done.

Pumpkin Spice cake:

This is a victoria sponge style version with lemon butter cream

  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp ginger and 1tsp cinnamon
  • 10oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 6oz pureed pumpkin
  • 2 large duck eggs (they are ultimately the dog's wotsits for baking over chickens- sorry girls!)
  • 125mls rapeseed or vegetable oil + oil for the parchment that lines your tin
  • around a 8inch rectangular tray-bake tin lined with parchment and then oiled.
  • oven to 180c
So, put your eggs and sugar in your mixer or if you're doing by hand, the bowl and beat until the colour changes slightly. This is SO important, it makes the difference between something you can fill your walls with and something light and fluffy to show the WI* what you're made of!, add the oil and the pumpkin and slowly mix in.

Now add your flour and baking powder by SIFTING it - again, high sifting introduces air to your mix, which gives you a lovely sponge rather than a dense brick! Add the spices and fold them in gently.

The batter is a runny batter, so don't freak out (I did!)

Pour it into your lined, oiled tin and put in the oven for around 18 - 20 mins.

Test it in the middle with a knife to see if it comes out clean.

It's lovely as is, or with custard - it's that kind of sponge, OR...

Lemon cream cheese topping:

Oh yes, guys and gals - let's send the waistline on holiday and do this in style!
You'll need:
  • Cream cheese 250mls (plain - don't go buying the stuff with chives in - it ain't pleasant!)
  • Icing sugar
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
Put the cream cheese and lemons and zest into a bowl and stir well, gradually add sifted icing sugar.
You'll note I haven't put an amount because this is where your tasting capabilities come in!
Some cheeses are stronger than others, so you'll require more sugar or lemon. Some lemons are bigger than others, so you'll require more sugar.
You want enough so you have a tart, kick-you-in-the-pants flavour without any one thing being overpowering. So that is why you add, you taste, add some more, taste some get my drift!

This is the tray bake version without the lemon cheese topping

 Pumpkin Pie 

Now, before I start, let me just tell you, Pumpkin Pie is NOT the national dish of the USA. Apple pie is! So, despite the fact that our US friends can do everything walking with pumpkins, it still has not claimed the top spot as the national dish -ha! So there you go, you don't need anything except my blog to help you win that pub quiz!
You need:
  • Pumpkin middle - cubed
  • Sugar - molasses if you like the flavour, or dark brown or muscovado, around 6oz
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6oz butter
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Pastry or pie base

Okay, so you're gonna need to make up some pumpkin puree again. Of course, you can buy pumpkin puree or pie mix in the shops these days, but this blog entry was trying to help you use up the insides of all those jack o' lanterns, so you are going to make yours!

Put your pumpkin cubed into a heavy duty saucepan with some dark molasses sugar - this is quite strong, so if you prefer to use dark brown or even light muscovado, it's up to you.
Let it really gently simmer for around half and hour to 45 mins, it takes a while to soften some of the pumpkin up. Once it's softened, let it cool, then puree.

Now add the 6oz of butter, the cinnamon and the ginger and stir until the butter is melted. You don't need to boil it.

Using either a pastry dish, your own pastry or shop bought, roll out and bake the pie base.

I use shop bought - I know, I confess, I am no good with pastry - I think because I have hot hands ;-)
I put pie weights in over my greaseproof paper and then bake on 180 for around 10 - 12 mins, it won't take long because my base is generally quite thin.

Once your base is out allow it to cool a little, don't let the  pumpkin/butter mix cool completely otherwise it'll set.

Pour the mix into the base and put in the fridge to cool.

It 'should' set!

You can then either eat as is, or you can do what I'm going to do and add meringue on the top to make pumpkin meringue pie! I'll add the rest of the recipe and the pictures later as mine is currently setting in the fridge!


* I realise that I mentioned the WI in a competitive way in my last post, you may be wondering if I have some thing against them, the answer is, 'no, I just lack imagination!'. 

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Oh, yum, so much fall goodness. I am planning to cook up some of this next weekend to really celebrate the season.