"In this town we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song"
We are now truly in the midst of Halloween and pumpkin craziness! It’s hard to walk through Nottingham city centre without getting a whiff of pumpkin spice (not that we're complaining!) But why leave the pumpkin spice madness to all the supermarkets and coffee shops? There are lots of fun, easy recipes to satisfy the biggest of Halloween treat cravings, so here are some of the best pumpkin recipes that aren’t as hard as a GBBO technical and aren’t too expensive either.
1. Pumpkin Purée
This first recipe is for pumpkin purée. Unfortunately for us, the UK isn’t as pumpkin mad as our American friends and it can be quite hard to find pumpkin purée in the shops. As most pumpkin recipes obviously have this as a main ingredient, it’s quite an important one to start with! Luckily, Tesco seems to sell it here.
In case stocks run low and for a cheaper alternative, here’s an easy recipe for making your own:
- Cut the pumpkin into quarters, then peel and cut into chunks. Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
- Cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Drain well and allow to cool. Then purée the flesh in a food processor or mash with a potato masher.
- Once puréed, keep in a suitable container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Alternatively, you could purée the pumpkin with condensed milk if you are using it for sweet recipes or instead flavour it with mixed spice for those of you without a sweet tooth.
2. Pumpkin and fennel soup
Try this recipe for the perfect winter warmer soup.
2 lb. (1 kg) pumpkin/ squash (I used butternut squash)
½ fennel bulb, sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Blue cheese for garnish (optional)
- Cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out seeds and discard the seeds. Peel it off and cut it into 1 inch (approx 2.5 cm) pieces.
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add pumpkin cubes and sliced fennel.
- Sauté for another 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and apple cider. Add Also add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove and discard bay leaf.
- Purée in batches and return the soup to saucepan. Add salt and pepper. If your soup is too thick, thin it with add more chicken broth to thin as needed.
- Ladle into serving bowls and top with some fresh thyme and crumbled blue cheese.
3. Pumpkin Pie Bars
Try this recipe for delicious pumpkin snacks that are sure to leave you feeling autumnal...
For the Crust:
1 cup cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
6 tbsp brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp cold water
For the Filling:
2 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a half sheet baking pan (13"x18"x1") with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour onto the baking sheet and press into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth. Pour over the crust and smooth into an even layer if needed. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until the center is set and no longer jiggly. Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely. Cut into squares and top with whip cream if desired. Enjoy!
4. Pumpkin and Nutella cakesThis recipe would be perfect for a Halloween party, or just to impress your friends!
3/4 cup of granulated white sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (236ml)
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Nutella
- Preheat oven to 180°C. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Add the dry flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix on high speed for about 2-3 minutes until batter is smooth and no clumps of flour remain.
- Grease pumpkin pan. Spoon batter into each mold until about 1/3 full. Add 2 teaspoons of Nutella to the middle of each mold (on top of the batter already there. Spoon more batter into each mold so that the Nutella is covered and molds are about 2/3 full. You will need every last bit of batter to complete all 12, so make sure you scrape it all from your mixer.
- Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 18 minutes. To tell if the cakes are done, press gently on one with your finger. The cake should bounce back rather than sink in. You can also insert a toothpick or sharp knife which should come out clean (no crumbs clinging on). If you insert it where the Nutella is, only melted Nutella should cling to the toothpick: no uncooked batter.
- Turn the pan upside down to remove cakes. They should just fall right out. If they don't, bang the bottom of the pan against the counter a few times and they should slide out. Cakes will slide out easiest if you do it shortly after they are baked and before they have finished cooling.
- If desired, use green icing to pipe leaves on top of the cakes after they have cooled. Decorate with jack-o-lantern faces using an edible black pen.
Edited by Tia Ralhan