Recently I did the cooking for a pre-gig dinner. For the main event I used whatever produce was available/leftover/cheap/boss-approved. But for the dessert I HAD to make pumpkin pie. I was born in New Hampshire where the official state fruit is the pumpkin. Plus, a family friend serves in the state legislature and was responsible for passing the pumpkin bill. Pumpkins are a big thing for me.
I don’t mean to brag but this pie was a raging success. The other dishes of the night were well received but people really raved about their dessert. At the end of the evening while we were cleaning up two ladies came in to look for me just to compliment me on it. They were fairly tipsy but still, they were so excited by the use of multiple spices! My moment had arrived.
750g/ 1 lb pumpin – peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
140g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
25g butter, melted
175ml milk (FULL FAT!!!)
115g ginger nut biscuits
pumpkin seeds and caster sugar
- Prep the base. Put the biscuits and butter into a food processor and blitz. It is a MYTH that the butter needs to be melted – thank you Nigella for telling the truth. Use your hands and/or a spoon to press it into the bottoms of miniature moulds or a 23cm tart tin.
- Prep the pumpkin. Place in cold water and slowly bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer until tender – about 10 – 15 minutes. You want to boil it and not roast it to maintain the bright orange colour and moisture.
- Preheat oven to 220c/ 200c fan/ gas mark 7. Push the cooked pumpkin through a sieve or use a hand blender to whip it until smooth. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the beaten eggs, melted butter, milk and pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
- Pour onto the prepared base and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180C/ 160 fan/ gas mark 4 and cook for another 30 – 40 minutes, until the filling has set. When I made this it puffed up and went a scary brown colour on top but once they had cooled they were flawless. Have faith.
- Whip cream by hand and add a spoonful each of icing sugar and cinnamon.
- Toast some pumpkin seeds – plunge them into cold water, add a healthy handful of caster sugar, then extract them and roast at 160c for about 10 minutes, until the water has dried and the nuts have become lightly caramelised.
- Let the pie cool completely before slicing, top with whipped cream and caramelised seeds.