Pumpkin carving is fun, but what can we do to get the most out of this seasonal ‘fruit’? A pumpkin is a cultivar of a squash plant, with a thick shell containing seeds and pulp. The ‘insides’ can be used for many purposes and this article will give you all the information you need to know to make the best recipes.
A pumpkin puree can add a little sweetness to a simple recipe such as cakes, pancakes and pies. The perfect treat to tickle your taste buds!
Simply take 750g of pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into sized cubes. Put the cubes in a steamer or colander set over a pan of simmering water and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Or the other option is to microwave the pumpkin, cut it in half (no need to peel it or cut out the seeds) and sit cut-side up in the microwave. Cook for 20 minutes, then check the flesh is soft by poking it with a fork. Keep cooking if you’d like it softer. Scoop the flesh into a bowl, then mash and leave to cool.
Thai Pumpkin Soup
What is better than a warm soup infused with Thai flavours? A real autumn favourite…
Ingredients: 1½ kg pumpkin or squash, peeled and roughly chopped, 4 tsp sunflower oil, 1 onion sliced, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 lemongrass bashed a little, 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste, 400ml can coconut milk, 850ml vegetable stock, lime juice and sugar and for seasoning 1 red chilli sliced to serve (optional).
1. Turn on the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Chuck the pumpkin in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
2. Put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass and cook for 8-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the curry paste, add the roasted pumpkin, all but 3 tbsp of the coconut milk and the stock. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, then take out the lemongrass. Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth with a blender (handheld or electric). Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, if needed. Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chilli.
If pumpkin didn’t taste sweet enough already, here is a fool proof recipe to create the traditional American treat!
Ingredients: 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin peeled deseeded and cut into chunks, 350g sweet shortcrust pastry, plain flour for dusting, 140g caster sugar, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp fresh nutmeg grated, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 eggs beaten, 25g butter melted, 175ml milk and 1 tbsp icing sugar.
1. Put the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain pumpkin and allow it to cool.
2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the pastry in the tin with baking parchment and baking beans, then blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 minutes until the base is pale golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
3. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling has just set.
4. Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.
All recipes are found on the BBC Good Food website which can be accessed via the link here.