We teamed up with KitchenJoy, a lovely cookery school in the heart of Chiswick and this month Joy tells us all about her favourite Autumnal recipe …Pumpkin Pie!
PUMPKIN is part of the gourd family. There are about 965 species, but the most commonly known ones are squash, courgette and pumpkin. It is also in the same family as cucumbers and melons. Pumpkins are normally picked in October and associated with Halloween. A tradition going back 100 of years in Ireland, they originally used turnips and squash. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin that a new Halloween ritual was born. By carving the faces into the vegetable, they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirit.
Pumpkins are nutritious including fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also low in calories. Pumpkins are full of micronutrients, including beta-carotene and vitamin A.
They are versatile as they can be cooked in savoury dishes as well as desserts. It is technically a fruit because it has seeds, but in terms of nutrition is more like a vegetable. Native to North America, although grown mostly around the world now.
You can roast pumpkin and make delicious creamy curries with coconut milk and spices. Drinking pumpkin spice lattes is also popular now. Other parts of the pumpkin plant such as the seeds can be roasted for a crunchy snack, while its flowers are often battered and fried.
This recipe I use at KitchenJoy is delicious for all the family or dinner parties:
Serves 6-8 | Preparation: 30 min | Cook time: 35 min | Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
- 2 small pumpkins (approx. 745g each) or 1 large butternut squash, quartered and seeds reserved
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 80g (¾ cup) whole pecans
- 170g (1½ cup) almond flour
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 pecan nuts
- Drizzle coconut oil
- Drizzle maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Lay the pumpkin on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup and coconut oil and bake for 45 minutes until soft.
- Whilst the pumpkin is cooking, make the pastry crust.
- Add the pecans to a food processor and process until they have turned into a coarse flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for 15 seconds, until a sticky dough forms.
- Press the dough into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate (or springform pan for easy release), spreading it up the sides and covering the bottom. Prick a few shallow holes in the crust with a fork to keep it from bubbling during baking.
- Once the pumpkin has finished baking, reduce the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the pieces of pumpkin to cool.
- Whilst cooling, bake the pastry crust in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and discard the skin. You should have about 600g of cooked pumpkin flesh. Don’t forget to scrape out the bits in the tray and the maple syrup. Put in a food processor and whiz until smooth, adding the eggs and dates. Mix until well blended.
- Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 180C/350F for 35 minutes, or until the custard has set but is still slightly jiggly in the centre. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, you can cover the pie with foil and continue baking.
- Whilst the pie is cooking, wash the stringy bits of squash off the seeds, dry them and lay them flat on a tray along with 6 pecan nuts drizzled with maple syrup and coconut oil. Place in the oven with the pie for the last 10 minutes until crispy.
- Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to put in the fridge, refrigerate until chilled, then sprinkle the seeds on top and serve with a cup of chai tea!