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Something wicked this way comes…

October 31, 2012

With it being hallowe’en, it’s important to protect the house from witches and ghouls and other unwanted creatures. The Beloved supplied a pumpkin, courtesy of Chris’s allotment, for me to hollow out and carve a face into in the time honoured fashion. Poppa supplied a cardboard box with face cut out of one side illuminated by a candle behind red and blue tissue paper to cast an appropriately scary glow. His view is  that if the ancients had had access to cardboard boxes they would never have gone to the trouble of carving pumpkins – especially in England where pumpkins were a comparative rarity. He has a point. So while Poppa’s creation was completed in a matter of moments, mine took all afternoon.

The pumpkin was very heavy and I thought I ought to use the flesh somehow, but as Halo’s staying with us and she has a horror of soup I decided to make pumpkin pie. The only recipes I could find were American, hence the  measurement in cups not ounces.  I suspect American pumpkins are a bit more tasty that this one was – I tried a bit raw and while it had a pleasant texture, the taste was unremarkable to say the very least.  Once I’d hollowed out the pumpkin I was left with a large amount of flesh which I cooked in a tiny bit of water until it was soft, then I whizzed it up with my stick blender to make a puree. Cooking improved the flavour only very slightly.

The recipe I used is a mixture of several I found – many used tinned pumpkin (Why?) and those that didn’t called for a type of pumpkin I’d never heard of.  Oh well, here goes.

Make some pastry with 8oz plain flour, 4oz butter, a teaspoon of sugar, the zest of a lemon and a little water. Line a 10″ round flan dish with it and bake it blind for about 10 minutes. Put 2 cups of pumpkin puree, half a cup of muscovado sugar and a third of a cup of granulated sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add two large eggs and one and a half cups of double cream and mix again. Add two heaped teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice, half a teaspoon of ground ginger and half a teaspoon of ground cardamon and mix again. Pour the mixture into the part baked pastry case and bake for about an hour at about 180c. It shouldn’t wobble too much when it’s done. Serve with whipped cream.

Arlo, Rella, Halo, Damon and I had braved the wind and rain to go into town to meet Sarah and her brood in Rumour, but by the time we got there everyone was champing at the trick or treating bit;  at this point Halo and Damon sensibly baled out. Our band of intrepid trick or treaters managed to gather quite a haul of sweets in spite of the rain before we arrived home again.

Perhaps this is why no one had much appetite for the pumpkin pie? Or maybe we’re all too English.

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