16 November 2015 By Lucy Wheeler
November is an exciting month full of celebration and anticipation. No sooner is Halloween done and dusted, than Bonfire Night springs out of nowhere.
Fireworks and sparklers on frosty nights call for comforting, hearty foods like soup, sausages and jacket potatoes; not forgetting some mulled cider as a cheeky winter warmer.
But this month, I’ve deviated from British traditions and celebrations, to take a closer look at Thanksgiving; the all American holiday. If you look at a traditional Thanksgiving meal you would spot a lot of similarities with our great British Christmas dinner; turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce…it’s a feast. But there’s one dish we don’t usually eat (and I think we should) and that’s pumpkin pie!
Whether you’re using sweetened pumpkin from a tin or harvesting one of your home-grown beauties from the garden, this gloriously golden pie guarantees to please the crowd round the table with its crisp pastry base and creamy, subtly spiced pumpkin filling.
800g pumpkin or butternut squash peeled, cut into chunks and deseeded
350g sweet shortcrust pastry
150g caster sugar
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 medium eggs
25g melted butter 180ml full-fat milk
Cook the pumpkin in boiling water until tender. The smaller you cut it, the faster it will cook. Drain and set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 170c. Roll out your pastry, dusting flour to prevent it from sticking. Line your pastry in a loose-bottomed 20cm tart tin and tidy up the edges using a knife. Pop it in to the fridge for 10 minutes. This will help reduce shrinkage around the sides.
Prick the pastry bottom all over, using a fork. Remove from the fridge and line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes then remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is dried out and beginning to turn a pale golden.
Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve to achieve a puree mixture. Add the sugar and spices and mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the melted butter and milk together and add this to the pumpkin mixture, stirring well.
It will appear very runny but the eggs will help it to set as it bakes in the oven.
Pour in to the pastry case. A good tip is to fill it halfway then pop it in the oven on to the rack and pour the remaining mixture in. This will prevent any spillages down the side of the tin which could cause burning. You’ll have a beautiful looking tart, filled right to the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set, with a hint of a wobble.
Leave to cool then remove from the tin and sprinkle liberally with icing sugar.
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