Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Over the weekend of Nicks 30th Birthday (which also coincided with Halloween) we made 3 pumpkin recipes, my mums pumpkin & kumara soup (kumara is sweet potato to non kiwis),  a pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie ice cream!

I love pumpkin soup, my mum always made it with sweet potato or tomatoes to add sweetness to the flavour. With the the addition of kumara theres also an extra 'secret' ingredient to make it even better, read on for the secret!
I can make this recipe off the top of my head and its pretty easy to do so below are roughly the amounts you should use, but generally taste as you go for desired flavour.



1 Butternut pumpkin
4 small or 2 large kumara/sweet potato
1 large brown onion
200ml vege stock
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
cream to garnish

I was suggested to add a squeeze of lemon juice to help bring out the flavour, I did.

1. Usually I roast the veggies first, pouring a generous amount of olive oil over top of them and popping them in the oven at 180c for up to an hour. They should be soft with a golden crust starting to caramelise. After this put them in to a pot with water to cover them and boil a little until they are soft enough to mash or pulverise.

Alternatively and this is totally fine as well,  (I do it a lot and I had to due to lack of oven space for Nicks birthday dinner) you can bring the veges to the boil in water enough to cover them, add in the vege stock and season well.

2. Once the veges are soft and ready to mash I pour out about half the water so its not too liquidy. Keep the broth you've created to one side though as you may want to add more back in later.
Use a hand blender or even a masher to pulverise the veges in to a smooth mixture.

3. Add some more salt and pepper to season, cumin and chilli if you like and leave to simmer until it reduces down in to a thicker soup.  Now the secret to this soup is peanut butter! I like 2 tbsps for this amount and use crunchy peanut butter. Mix it in to the hot soup until it dissolves, it creates a lovely nutty flavour which goes perfectly with the pumpkin.

At any time you can add the broth back in a little at a time to create your desired thickness.
I waited until I'd reduced the initial soup down for about 30 minutes until I got it nice and thick then added a bit more back in to boost the quantity.

This recipe fed 11 of us as a starter -  I added a dash of cream on top. Eat this with some fresh crusty bread.


Pumpkin is so versatile not just roasted or in soups, I love chocolate and pumpkin muffins. Proof it works in sweet treats as well as savoury snacks.   I only recently tried pumpkin pie and instantly I was excited by this dessert, where has it been all my life!
The great thing about the pie is its less rich than most desserts, it has a savouryness to it, I guess it allows you to eat a bit more, which sounds great to me! I found the recipe on joy of baking and tweaked for my own taste.



175 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar
113 grams unsalted chilled butter
30 - 60 ml ice water

Pecan and Gingersnap Layer (optional but very complimentary to the pumpkin)
25 grams pecans, toasted and ground/chopped
25 grams crushed ginger nut biscuits

Pumpkin Filling:
3 large eggs
425 grams pumpkin puree (I used about half a normal pumpkin, the green ones)
120 ml double cream
110 grams light brown sugar (I only had caster sugar, it worked fine!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Maple Whipped Cream:
240 ml double cream
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup  (I added more, just taste as you go until you're happy)

Turn the oven on to 180c to start as you will be roasting pecans first  - you will need to turn it up to 190c to cook the final pie.

1. To make the pastry you could use a food processor but we didn't have one so this was done by hand (thanks Matt!) In a large bowl rub the butter in to the dry ingredients -  the butter should be chopped in to cubes to make this easier. Add a little cold water to the mixture so the dough doesn't sweat. Once it forms crumbs create a small ball out of the dough, cover with cling film and pop in to the fridge for half an hour.
2. At this point you should chop up the pumpkin in to cubes and boil until soft enough to make a puree. Use a food processor or hand blender to make this really smooth.

3. Toast the pecans in a 180c for 8 minutes then allow them to cool and chop or crush with the ginger nut biscuits, set aside.

4. Start with a clean lightly floured surface and roll the cooled pastry out thinly to fit the size of the pie dish. Use extra flour if the dough starts to become sticky. Rub a generous amount of butter on the pie dish so that your crust won't stick when it cooks, then carefully lift the pastry up and and place in to the dish. You can have some fun being decorative with the sides of the pie.

5. Sprinkle the crushed pecans and ginger but biscuits over the pastry base gently pushing them into the bottom of the base, pop the dish back in to the fridge while you make the pie filling.

6. To make the pie filling whisk the eggs, add the dry ingredients, cream and pumpkin puree mix it together. Now taste it, is it sweet enough? Do you fancy more cinnamon, ginger etc. Use your gut!

7. Pour the pumpkin filling in to the pie dish covering the pecans and ginger nut pieces then pop the dish in the oven for 45-55 minutes at 190c. I found 45 minutes was plenty for me, I was using a fan force oven. (As an unfamiliar oven it had a hot spot -  see the picture below. Didn't effect the taste though)

8. To make the maple cream its simple, mix maple syrup with cream until it tastes good!


PUMPKIN AND GINGER ICE CREAM  (sorry no photos, too tasty)

Finally, Nick scored an ice cream machine as a  birthday gift!  We thought we'd make pumpkin icecream with some the the left over pumpkin. Then we thought we'd be really creative and actually use the left over pumpkin pie filling in the icecream to create a pumpkin and ginger flavour pack with texture and crunch. (Alternatively just boil some pumpkin and puree it like we did with the soup recipe above).

Its fairly simple to make ice cream its essentially a custard with what ever flavour you wish to add, but you need an ice cream maker to easily mix the ice cream and stop it crystallising as it freezes. We diverted from the recipe in the book because of ingredients we had, this is how we made it below and it had a perfect smooth ice cream texture and tasted delicious.


1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup half and half (milk and cream)
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree/left over pie filling
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup double cream
1tsp vanilla extract
Handful of ginger nut biscuits crushed

1. In a bowl mix the sugar in to the eggs yolks using a whisk until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.

2. In a pan gently heat the half and half until its simmering.

3. Slowly beat this hot half and half in to the egg mixture, then put the whole thing back in to the pan and heat. Do this quickly to retain heat. Stir constantly until it thickens to form a custard. Don't boil the mixture or the eggs will scramble, it needs to be a gentle heat.

4. Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin, in our case this was about 3 pieces of pie filling we roughly crushed up. This then needs to be sifted through a strainer and then set aside to cool a little.

5. Add the extra cream and vanilla. This is then refrigerated for a few hours (or over night) until cold.

6. Once this was ready we poured it in to the ice cream machine which has a stirring device to more easily mix and added more roughly crushed ginger nut biscuits  The ice cream vessel was then put back in the freezer for about 12 hours. Every couple of hours we pulled it out and stirred it using the ice cream machine.

You could make this without one but the stirring part would be much harder, you'd need to put the bowl in the freezer and stir by hand every 30-45 minutes to stop ice crystals forming in the custard.

It was delicious, soft, smooth, spicy and sweet.

There you have it -  3 great ways to prepare pumpkin!



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