Thursday November 01st 2007, 12:31 pm


A couple of days ago Maddy, the little girl from next door, brought me a bowl of pumpkin flesh, dug out of a large pumpkin she was carving for halloween. Here is a slice of the pie I made with it following a recipe I always use and that never fails to go down well. This pie only gets made once a year and some years I don’t get around to it at all.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / gas mark 4
Make shortcrust pastry to line a 23cm loose-bottomed flan tin: 160g plain flour, 80g unsalted butter, 1 – 2 dessert spoons caster sugar, zest of half a lemon (optional), 1 egg yolk, a drop of milk or water as required.
Rub the butter into the flour, add some sugar and lemon zest if you like then bind together quickly using the beaten egg yolk, adding some milk or water to bring the mixture together and gather it into a ball. Leave to rest for half an hour in the fridge, wrapped in cling film.
Roll out the pastry and line the buttered flan tin. Prick the bottom with a fork and place a piece of greaseproof paper and baking beans over the base. Bake for 25 minutes then take out the oven, remove the beans and paper and leave to cool.
Cook 600g of pumpkin flesh in a pan for approximately 15 mins with just a splash of water; as it cooks it will make its own juice so you don’t want it too watery. Put the cooked flesh into a food processor (or use a hand blender). Add to it, 125g soft brown sugar, half a teaspoon each of nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon honey, grated zest from each of 1 lemon and 1 orange and the juice from half of each. Process until smooth. Add 3 beaten eggs and blend together then pour into the pastry case and bake for 50-60 minutes until the centre is set.
Allow to cool then serve dusted with icing sugar and accompanied by whipped cream slightly sweetened with some of the syrup from a jar of stem ginger.