For me Halloween equals Pumpkin Pie. I remember for a number of consecutive years after I left home, I emailed my mum towards the end of October every year asking her to re send me the amazing – or Best Pumpkin Pie as it’s called – recipe, the previous year’s email always having gotten lost somewhere in cyberspace. Not needing that much pumpkin flesh for the pie and seeing pumpkin’s tend to be pretty big, I always manage to not only make the pie but also at least two or three bowls of delicious pumpkin soup.
Not wanting to break the tradition, last Sunday afternoon saw me purchasing a pumpkin, spices, condensed milk and eggs during my weekly Sainsburys shop. I lugged my medium sized but heavy pumpkin home and on Monday evening after my swim I hollowed it out. Now this was something I hadn’t done for years, probably not since my sister and I were little. We used to have great fun hollowing them out and carving them before heading out trick-or-treating – usually dressed as witches – down the dark Irish country lanes. I was clearly out of practice as having finished carving the pumpkin and settling down with a cup of tea, my boyfriend kindly pointed out that I had forgotten to give the pumpkin a nose!
But back to the Pumpkin Pie. Now I know it’s a bit like Marmite; you either love it or hate it, my sister for one never liked Pumpkin Pie and as it turns out neither does my boyfriend, while I on the other hand am a big fan. It’s also very easy to make. The pastry consists of flour, butter and water mixed together and left in the fridge for half an hour. And the topping is a mix of pureed pumpkin, sugar, eggs, condensed milk and loads of spices; cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. This is then poured into the pastry shell in a baking tray and put in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s literally that simple and it smells so good when it comes out of the oven.
A bit pumpkined out for one evening I decided to leave the remaining flesh for another night. There are numerous recipes for pumpkin soup out there, being a fan of spicy food it’s not surprising I decided to give the Spicy Pumpkin Soup a try. Like the pie it’s really simple to make. Chop and fry the onion, add pumpkin flesh and chopped potato’s, chilli and coriander and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetable stock and when everything is soft blend the soup, stir in a dollop of cream or yoghurt, season and sprinkle with chives, and you’ve got yourself a deliciously warming winter soup.
I’ll certainly make the soup again and a friend of mine keeps talking about Pumpkin Risotto, so I must give that a try soon. However, Pumpkin Pie making is over for me for this year, I’ve still got a few slices left to enjoy and then I’ll just have to wait till next October.