Halloween – a tradition with strong Irish roots – is a big deal in Ireland. In fact, there’s a widely-held belief that it actually started in Ireland. If you’re interested in the ancient roots of Halloween, just put the word ‘Samhain’ into a search engine..
It’s the last big occasion before Christmas; a Bank Holiday weekend in the Republic, and the kids are on half-term holidays.
We had huge fun at Halloween when we were kids – bobbing for apples; Jack O’Lanterns, made from turnips; Mum’s Barm Brack, with the ring for the lucky finder (who will be married within the year – so important to us kids!) Dressing up in too-big clothes (no fancy dress costumes for us back in the day ) and knocking on the neighbour’s doors for sweet treats, apples and nuts.. great times, and great memories.
Today, the kids have state-of-the-art costumes, ‘trick-or-treat’, and Pumpkins galore. And hopefully still the same fun as we had..
‘Pumpkins Galore’ – leads me nicely onto today’s little recipe – Pumpkin Scones for Halloween, or if you just fancy a special scone. I’m going to be serving these slightly warm with delicious cold butter, or with cream cheese flavoured with maple syrup and a dash of Cinnamon.. I found this recipe in a Good Food magazine, so I’ve adapted my simple scones recipe http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/home-made-scones/ to allow me to add some pumpkin puree and spices.
Come with me, My Sweet.. (to be read with a witch’s cackle 😉 )
- Food processor (not absolutely essential, but very handy)
- shallow baking tray, lined with baking parchment
- weighing scales
- Medium to large mixing bowl
- Cookie/scone cutter – about 5-6 cms diameter
- Rolling pin
- 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling out.
- 50g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- pinch of salt
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 1/2 a teaspoon of Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground Ginger,
- a good grating of Nutmeg,
- and a pinch of Allspice.
- 100g of Pumpkin puree *See NOTES*
- 40-50mls of Buttermilk
- Heat the oven to 180 Fan or equivalent.
- Tip the flour, salt and butter into the food processor and blitz until it resembles crumbs. Or put them into a bowl and blend with the tips of your fingers until you get the same result.
- Add the sugar and spices to the flour mixture and fold in.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl.
- Add the Pumpkin puree and 30mls of the Buttermilk and fold gently together with a flat-bladed knife until it comes together. Add up to another 20mls of Buttermilk if you need it. The dough shouldn’t be too wet.
- Tip out onto a floured surface, bring it all together and knead briefly to make one piece of dough. Don’t over-handle it – it makes the dough tough.
- Pat the dough into rough circle, then roll out gently until it’s about 2.5-3 cms deep.
- Cut out as many circles as you can; place them on the baking parchment-covered baking tray, then gather all the leftovers and get as many more scones as you can. I got 12 today (the 12th one was a bit of a ‘cook’s treat’ though)
- Put the scones into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup, and half a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon to a couple of tablespoons of Cream Cheese and blend in.
- After the 15 minutes, take a look – the scones should be well risen and golden – if they’re rather pale, turn the baking tray around, and give them another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a minute or two, then call all your little Ghouls to the table and tuck in, eating the split scones with cold butter or the sweetened cream Cheese.
- Absolutely delicious!
- There is such a thing as Pumpkin Spice if you want to look for it, but your home-made version will do equally well.
- I couldn’t believe how delicious a simple buttered Pumpkin scone was – it’s like they were made to be buttered..
- The mixture of Cream Cheese, Maple Syrup and a dash of Cinnamon powder is truly amazing as well – I tend to offer both when I’ve made these.
- Pumpkin Puree – I’ve always made my own – the inside of a pumpkin (minus the seeds and stringy bits) chopped and boiled until as much water as possible is evaporated, then pureed with a hand blender. However, I found these tins of American Pumpkin puree in Sawer’s in Belfast, and couldn’t resist trying them. They are 100% pumpkin meat – no additives at all. It makes it incredibly easy to use any of my Pumpkin recipes, so I may be on my way to being a convert. However, I do love that saintly feeling (it’s so rare to see a sentence with ‘me’ and ‘saintly’ in it 😉 ) of not throwing any part of the pumpkin out, so I daresay I’ll still be using up my pumpkins this the old0fashioned way as well.
Here are a few more of my Pumpkin recipes: