Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pumpkin Loaf

Happy Hallowe'en Everybody!!!
I love Hallowe'en so much, even though it's not as big here in the UK as it is in the US, because I always remember being a kid and going Trick or Treating. I always dressed up as a witch; Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Worst Witch and Harry Potter all had a huge influence on me as a child.
(Let's just take a moment to reminisce about how good children's TV was in the 90s.)

Of course, as it is Hallowe'en, that means another Pumpkin related recipe. And this time it's Pumpkin Loaf.
I love using vegetables (and fruits) in loaf cakes, as it always gives a nice moistness to the cake. This loaf is a tad heavy, but it tastes delicious, with the perfect amount of flavouring.
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1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour
1 Cup Caster Sugar
3/4tsp Salt
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Nutmeg
1/4tsp Ground Ginger
1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
Handful of Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, while in a separate bowl, mix together the egg, pumpkin, vanilla extract and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix together to form the batter.
Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin, and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on the top.
Bake in the middle of the oven for an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, before putting the loaf onto a wire rack.
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Serve slightly warm. By itself. Nothing else.
It's too nice to serve with anything else.
Ok, maybe a cup of tea.

Sophie xx

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pumpkin Pie

It's been a while, hasn't it?
There is a valid reason for this, I got myself a job!!
I'm now a waitress at Nando's. Not much I know, but it is the first proper job I've ever had, so it's all very new to me. And it's taken me a while to adjust, so I've been struggling a bit with getting stuff done for this blog.
But I think I've got the hang of it now, so I should be posting a bit more frequently. I hope.

Anyway, Autumn is my favourite season of the year.
I love it when it's a bit chilly out, and you have to wrap yourself up in scarves and gloves, and you can see your breath steaming from your mouth.
I love watching the leaves change colour, and how that translates over to our clothes.
Plus it means that Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks ;)

Autumn also holds a couple of important dates for me. One is my mum's birthday, while the other is, obviously, Hallowe'en. And that obviously means the internet is overrun with recipes containing pumpkin.

Every year I see bloggers making pumpkin pie, but I've never been brave enough to try making it, mostly because I've only recently liked eating vegetables as desserts.
However, a couple of weeks ago I found a couple of cans of pureed pumpkin at the supermarket, so I thought I'd finally give this American classic a go.pumpkin pie 1 photo 08bc9ade-5962-47d2-aa75-2476131b7a72.jpg
This recipe makes a 9-inch pie. I did make my own shortcrust pastry, which is easy to do, but if you don't have the time, using ready rolled shortcrust works just as well.
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Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
200g Plain Flour
75g Caster Sugar
100g Cold Unsalted Butter (cubed)
1 Egg

Pumpkin Filling
1 Can of Pureed Pumpkin
1/2 Pint Evaporated Milk
165g Caster Sugar
1tsp Cinnamon
1/2tsp Nutmeg
1/2tsp Ground Ginger
1/2tsp Salt
2 Eggs

9-inch Flan dish with a removable base
Ceramic Baking Beads
(If you don't have baking beads, use a load of copper coins, they conduct the heat better,a nd help cook the pastry.)

To make the pastry, put the flour, sugar and butter into a blender, and blend until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Add the egg, and blend until the mixture comes together to form the dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface, until the dough is almost 0.5cm thick. Using the rolling pin, place the dough into a greased flan dish. Leave any overhanging bits of pastry.
Chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7.
Blind bake the pastry, using greaseproof paper and baking beads, in the oven for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking beads, and bake for another 5 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Leave to cool, and cut off any overhanging bits of pastry.
Reduce the oven temperature to Gas Mark 4.
To make the pumpkin filling, mix the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the pureed pumpkin and evaporated milk, mix, and then add the spices.
Pour the filling into the pastry case, until you've almost filled the case.
Bake in the oven for about an hour, or until the filling is firm to the touch.
Leave to cool for a couple of hours.
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The result is a yummy, sweet, autumnal pie, which is delicious served with either whipped cream or crème fraîche. I then like to sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top, just because it looks good.

Sophie xx