We all love a good desert, and each holiday or seasonal occasion has adopted their own signature treat. Halloween is no exception – “Pumpkin Pie” – delicious, festive, fun and a firm favourite around our house.
My Mother has been cooking this recipe since I was a child and when I smell this pie cooking my mouth starts watering! It smells like Autumn, Winter and Christmas all in one.
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Pastry – Shortcrust
50g (2oz) butter, chilled
50g (2oz) lard, chilled
225g (8oz) plain flour, sifted with 1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water
400g (14oz) of your hard earned pumpkin or you can use the canned.
175g (6oz) caster sugar
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1 tablespoon of black treacle
2 teaspoons of mixed spice powder
150ml (1/4 pint) single cream
3 medium to large eggs well beaten
This is optional but if you fancy something savoury you can roast the seeds in the oven or in a dry frying pan, either plain or with a pinch of salt and pinch of paprika for a quick and savoury snack.
There are 3 ways to prep the pumpkin so take your pick:
The first way is the hardest and more time consuming:
Cut the top off the pumpkin like you would when carving one for the kids, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a metal spoon put to one side, then scoop out the flesh in chunks saving the shell for carving. You will find you’ll have various shapes and sizes of flesh, the larger the better. Lay the pieces onto a large flat baking tray and cover with tin foil to avoid burning. Bake as step 2 reducing the cooking time by approx. 1/4 hour. (Keep the seeds, there’s an idea for those too.)
The second way is the way we are going to do it, it’s easier to make but the kids won’t like it!
Carefully cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a metal spoon. (Keep the seeds as above.) Afraid if you have kids they will now be upset, as there is no pumpkin shell to carve! You can always buy 2, one for carving and one to make a pie!
If you really want to make it easy for yourself, forget the kids, the carving and the cooking of the flesh. Just purchase a can of pumpkin flesh, found in most large supermarkets, and jump straight into the baking phase.
Canned pumpkiners need not apply.
Place your cut in half pumpkin flesh side down onto a greased roasting tin or deepish baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 180°C, 350°F, Gas mark 4 for 1+ hour.
Remove pumpkin from oven, allow to cool, carefully peel off the skin. This should be quite easy. Divide mixture into large chunks, then place the flesh into a mesh sieve. The aim is to remove as much liquid as possible. Use a wooden spoon or small bowl or just clean hands and squeeze like mad!
Note there is a lot of water in a pumpkin and squeezing it handful by handful can take a long time, this is where the canned pumpkin comes into play! Technically though you are cheating ;)…
Once you are happy with the water reduction, you don’t have to go crazy with it by the way just make sure most of the water has gone. Place the stringy pumpkin flesh into a blender or food processor and blend until fairly smooth. From experience the consistency in the end product is much nicer after it’s been blended. You want to end up with around 400g (14oz) of pulp if you have more don’t worry you can make more than one pie or freeze it for another time.
So now you have all this smooth pumpkin flesh ready; this is where you grab a glass of wine or a cold beer check the kids progress, clean and clear your kitchen ready to mess it up again…
Cut butter and trex into small pieces and rub into flour, using fingertips, until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in sufficient water to bind mixture, and knead lightly. If you have a Kenwood chef or mixer of a similar style you know what to do.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface 4mm (1/6 inch). You will need a round 23cm (9”) fluted baking dish, flan dish is good or use any of your favourite baking dishes as long as the pastry fits. Place the rolled out pastry on your lightly greased dish making sure you line the bottom and the sides. You can “blind bake” the pastry before you add the filling if you wish but it’s not essential.
Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl or your mixer and mix together until thoroughly combined.
Once combined cover the pastry with the filling and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C, 400°F, Gas mark 6 for 45 minutes. At end switch the oven off and open the door, leaving the pie inside for a further 15 minutes.
That’s it Pumpkin Pie is completed, you can now enjoy! Best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream. The pie is on the sweet side so serve in small portions, and sneak an extra slice for yourself when no one is looking!