American Favourite: Pumpkin Pie

Well recovered from my appendicitis I decided to spend my post on-call Friday doing a bit of exploring. When I was young, every Autumn we would make a yearly pilgrimage to a ruined roman villa in the Cotswolds. The Villa and its beautiful mosaics , however, weren’t ironically what I recall the most though, it was its location. Set in a sheltered valley, trees now surround the  rubble, and in October, these would turn the million beautiful shades of Autumn we all love. As night falls though it takes on a more spooky character…………

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I’m happy to report that its magic still remains, though the little hut which you could buy a cup of tea for 25p has long gone. However, the trip did get me thinking about the season and what to make next for the blog. Well, seeing as it’s Autumn (Fall if you’re American) and Halloween is just around the corner, Pumpkin seems an obvious ingredient.

So seeing as Blair insisted it’s the best dessert of the season in Gossip Girl, here is my Pumpkin pie- from scratch, no tinned purée in site.

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients 

Pastry Case
  • 12oz plain flour
  • 9oz cold butter
  • 3oz sugar
  • 2egg yolks
  • 2tlbs milk
Filling
  • 1large pumpkin
  • Moonshine
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 6oz light muscavado sugar
  • 375ml double cream
  • 5eggs -slightly beaten
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger

You can buy the pastry or even pre-made cases but let’s face it you might as well just buy the pie if you do. The success of all pastry comes from having cold butter and cold hands to work it with -the old rule of cold hands,warm heart etc.

Start by making the sweet pastry case. Weigh out the sugar, butter and flour and transfer it  to the mixer. Rub in the butter till roughly incorporated then add the egg yolks and milk. Bring the pastry together to a ball, cling film and then chill for an hour.


Whilst the pastry chills, start making the pumpkin purée. This is very simple and allows you to release your creative side. Cut the top off, empty out the seeds and fibrous bands and discard. Now hollow out the flesh  and transfer to a pan.

To the pumpkin flesh add a shot of moonshine and simmer. After 20mins of shimmering, transfer the cooked pumpkin to a blender to create the purée. Set aside to chill.

Back to the case-Prepare a 12″deep pie tin by liberally buttering. Retrieve the pastry from the fridge and transfer to a well floured surface. Acting quickly, roll the pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin, turning 90 degrees every couple of rolls. Line the tin with the pastry and return to the fridge for 30mins.


Having finished a cup of tea, take the pastry case out the fridge and prick a few million times with a fork. Line with parchment and baking beads to stop the case swelling. Cook at 180 degrees for about 15mins or until golden brown.


Just a quick tip here. To avoid the dreaded soggy bottom, glaze  the case with egg and bake for a further 5 mins. 

 

Right, the end is in sight. Make the pie filling by combining the pumpkin purée, sugar, spices and cream. I would advise before adding the eggs you taste the mix, it will allow you to add more sugar if your pumpkin isn’t sweet enough, but avoid getting salmonella.

When happy with the taste, add the eggs.


Transfer the mix to the prepared case filling to just a few mm from the edge before it’s about to overflow. Top with a little grated nutmeg, I let the old man have the honours, chief taster right, afterall.

Then bake at 180 for 55-60mins or when the pumpkin filling has a slight wobble. When done remove and let cool on a wire rack.

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Time to Eat.

I’m a great fan of ghost tales, so seeing as it’s Halloween why not enjoy your pumpkin pie in style. Curl up on the sofa, grab a latte, find a copy of Lord Halifaxs’ ghost stories and read it by the light of the oil lamps whilst eating your pie with cream……….

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And if all else fails, you can keep a teddy close by for when you get scared  x

 

P.s don’t forget to like, share with your friends and message me with suggestions

S’mores Cupcakes

The nights are drawing in, and there’s a crispness in the air. This all excites me because it means that Autumn has arrived. Most people will wonder why I love this season. Simple, BONFIRES

Everyone loves Bonfires, they have a certain romance………….. The soft light, the warmth, but most importantly the ability to toast marshmallows. A sure fire way to impress girls

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The Americans seem to have hit upon the greatness of toasted marshmallows and with usual gusto added to it. S’mores combine both toasted marshmallows with chocolate and Graham crackers. Now, in Britain its difficult to get the crackers, but thats my excuse to get creative, also known as….add cake

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S’mores Cupcakes.

 

As I said above, Graham crackers can’t be easily bought in Tesco. However, Lotus biscuits make a fantastic substitute. Combine with a chocolate cupcake, toasted marshmallow frosting, some Hersheys chocolate and you have a winner.

 

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Ingredience

  • 10 Lotus Buscuits
  • 2oz Butter
  • 3oz Self Raising flour
  • 3oz Caster Sugar
  • 3oz Stork (you can use butter)
  • 1 heaped table spoon cocoa
  • 2 Eggs
  • Fluff marshmallow spread
  • Hersheys Chocolate

You will also need some fairy cake cases. Mine were a Christmas present from my sister and are from Libertys in London…………..

 

Start by making the biscuit base to the cupcakes. Melt the butter slowly over a low heat and whilst this happens release some anger amassed over the day, turning the biscuits into crumbs.

Combine the butter with the crumbs and transfer into 6 cases. Tamp the mix down to form a solid base. This in effect makes your S’mores Graham cracker base – but obviously taster.

Next make the chocolate cupcake mix. You  can do this the long and complex way of creaming the Stork and sugar together. The alternative is the all in one method. Which I have used here, putting all the ingredients into the mixer and combining…………….

 

As you can see I’m back to the good old Kenwood.

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Transfer  the cake mix into the 6 prepared cases on top of the biscuit and bake for 15mins at 170.

Once retrieved from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for an hour……. Have a biscuit and a cup of tea while you wait, or if you are hungry.

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When the cupcakes have cooled, its time to frost them and that means toasted marshmallows. Now, the proper way would be to make an Italian meringue, but I just had an appendicitis so…….. I cheated – Fluff to the rescue.

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Top the cupcake with a generous spoon of Fluff and sculpt into peaks. All that’s left to do is waft a blow torch over the top.

Time to eat

To finish, just need to decorate with a square of chocolate and a chunk of lotus biscuit. Now warm the milk, make a hot chocolate and  settle down by the bonfire.

What else is there left to say. Enjoy……………

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I haven’t decided what I’m going to make next – Perhaps you could all help. Don’t forget to like, share with friends and comment