Wednesday, 27 October 2010

La Citrouille dans la Salle

For the last 5+ years I have hosted Halloween Parties (in the loosest sense as they are really an excuse to gorge on gourds and have people with me so I don't get too scared at the horror films on telly).
All guests are asked to bring a pumpkin and perhaps a bottle.
They are then put to work carving the pumpkins into scary effigies of ghastly ghouls, monsters, past course tutors, or generally given artistic free reign. The carved flesh goes into one pot and once all the lanterns are throwing out an eerie orange glow with the effective addition of a tea light the sculptors are finally permitted to sit down and nurse their sore hands and watch old horror films whilst I turn their hard work into roast pumpkin and feta pasta or risotto and a pumpkin pie - all washed down with mulled wine (although I am told by Tom that my mulled wine is technically hot Sangria and he doesn't actually care for the stuff - I forget this every year and he still drinks it!)
Not everyone brings a pumpkin to the party because around Halloween they are often oddly difficult to find if you leave it a bit late - this year my local green grocer has them piled high already, which is just my luck because this is the one year when I am unlikely to be throwing a party as I am catching up with friends and family in London.
My parents popped in at the weekend for a quick bit of tea and cake and presented me with their first homegrown pumpkin which is sitting proudly on the shelf in the kitchen. Having just discovered that the condensed milk market is now not dominated by one brand I think a guilt free pumpkin pie ought to be on the cards this week.
In an attempt to impress the WI committee I set to work making a pie for them, the meeting got canceled but the pumpkin had already been carved and the flesh was on the boil. I went ahead anyway and there was even enough to make 2 - I gave 1 to Neil, Glenn and Tom who popped in for dinner and took the other one down the pub for Duncan to take back to Bristol.

Pumpkin Pie

250g plain flour
125g butter
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
1 egg yolk
Cold water

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the yolk and gradually add the water until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 10-15 mins or the freezer for 5 mins

Roll out the pastry and line 1 large or 2 small pie tins which have been well buttered

Prick with a fork and cut off any excess pastry. Bake at about gas 4-5 for 15 mins until opaque then use the egg whites from the separated egg to plug up the holes in the pastry. Stick the cases back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

For the filling simply blend the following ingredients together:

450g of cooked pumpkin (boil it til it's soft - about 10 mins)
150ml condensed milk or cream
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp black treacle
50g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Blend until smooth and carefully pour into the prepared pastry cases and bake for about 35-40 mins so that it is set but still a little bit wobbly.

Serve with cream and hot Sangria!

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