Pumpkin pie!

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You hear a lot about Pumpkin pie, but hardly anyone in Ireland has ever made one. No one I know anyway..

Well, with the gift of an organic, home-grown ‘Victory’ pumpkin from my friend Julie, that is all about to change.

First of all, you graciously receive your pumpkin; praise its fine looks, general healthiness and undoubted superiority to anything available elsewhere.. Then you take it home, put it on the kitchen table, and look at it for a few weeks while you trawl the internet for interesting pumpkin recipes (there aren’t that many, as it turns out). Because it’s an organic pumpkin, grown from special seed from Wales, it doesn’t go off like the ones from the supermarket, so after three weeks or thereabouts, you turn your attention to Pumpkin Pie recipes, and decide there and then that this is to be it’s fate.

Then you have to cut up the pumpkin and make it into a pulp. This is easier than it sounds..

New update! I’ve seen tins of Pumpkin Puree in the window of Sawer’s in Belfast – I think that most American Pumpkin Pie is made from tinned puree. You could also source it online, but I quite liked cutting up my own Pumpkin; I’m a bit odd like that 😉

Maybe I’d better start the recipe..

EQUIPMENT:

  • Saucepan to cook the pumpkin.
  • A sieve to strain the cooked pumpkin
  • A bowl +/- a food processor to make the pastry (optional, as you may want to use ready-made short crust)
  • A hand-blender or large food processor/liquidiser to blend the filling
  • A large high-sided bowl or jug to beat the filling together
  • A large pie-dish, about 12″ in diameter

INGREDIENTS:

Pastry: I’ve giving you this recipe, as this is a very nice short-crust pastry, one I’ve used for years. I’ve added it as a link here http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/my-easy-short-crust-pastry/ so that you can find it again if you’re making an apple pie or something similar. You can certainly use a good quality ready-made short-crust for the Pumpkin pie.

  • 8oz plain flour
  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 an ounce of white shortening – I use White Flora or Trex – you’ll find them in the butter/spread section.
  • 1oz golden caster sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons of cold milk
  • Pinch of salt

Pumpkin filling:

  • 1 medium eating pumpkin (the internet says you can use a carving pumpkin, but there’s more flesh on an eating one) You’ll need 500g of cooked, pureed pumpkin meat.
  • Half a teaspoon each of : ground Cinnamon, ground Ginger, ground Clove and freshly ground Nutmeg – this is variable to your own taste obviously.
  • 6oz dark brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (optional)
  • a 410g tin of Evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt.

METHOD:

First cook your pumpkin:

  • Using a sharp knife and a stable cutting board, cut the pumpkin in half, then spoon out the seeds. See notes.

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  • Then cut each half into thin crescents.
  • Peel off the skin , then cut the flesh into smallish cubes.
  • Put them into a saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of water and put onto a medium heat until it comes to the boil. (there’s a lot of water in pumpkins, so don’t add too much, as you’ll just have to boil it off)

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  • Reduce the heat and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered, until it becomes a puree. This took me about 20 minutes.
  • Place the cooked pumpkin into a sieve over a bowl, and leave it there so that as much liquid drains off as possible.

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Line the pie dish:

  • Make the pastry, and line the pie dish with it. Put the lined pie dish into the fridge to chill while you put the filling together.

Make the filling:

  • Weigh 500g of pumpkin puree into the high-sided bowl
  • Add all the filling ingredients and blitz with the stick blender until it’s a smooth liquid. (or if you have a large food processor or liquidiser, you could use this too)

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  • The filling will be extremely watery, but don’t worry, it’s meant to be like that.

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  • Put your chilled pie plate onto a baking tray, and gently pour the filling in.
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Ready for the oven..

  • Put it into the oven at 200 fan for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 180 and give it another 30 minutes, then test it. It shouldn’t be watery in the middle, although a bit of a wobble is acceptable – if it is obviously not ready, cover the edges of the pastry with tin foil to stop them over-browning, and give it another 10 minutes.
  • When a knife inserted comes out cleanly it’s done.
  • Remove and allow to cool. It will fall slightly – this is normal.

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  • This is best served slightly warm, with  some pouring cream or custard.

NOTES:

  • The recipe I used said that this is a pie for 16 people, and honestly I can believe it. You don’t need a huge slice. It would be great for a Halloween party.
  • Amazingly, for such a liquid filling – this sets to a really lovely texture.
  • A medium sized pumpkin will provide much more than the 500g required – I roasted the other half as a vegetable, and by some magic had almost exactly 500g of the puree as required by this recipe.
  • If you puree the whole pumpkin, you can freeze whatever you don’t use for another day.
  • The list of spices is really up to yourself – I used all the ones in the recipe and it tasted good..
  • Some people suggest roasting the pumpkin seeds with a little oil, salt and a sprinkle of paprika, and having them as a snack. This pumpkin didn’t have a huge amount of seeds, but the supermarket ones do, so it might be worth a go..
About

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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