I’m a total Grinch when it comes to Halloween. I will carve a pumpkin (if pushed) but I was bought up to believe that ‘trick or treating’ is evil and the rest of the hype (a whole aisle of flammable costumes in Tesco for example) just makes me want to find a dark hole to climb into.
We do grow pumpkins because they are easy to grow at a time when not much else is happening on the allotment, but this year they were small and not great for carving. The upside was that they tasted amazing – the flesh was sweet and fresh, almost melon-like. My children happily gobbled it up raw.
With these delicious insides I decided to try making a pumpkin pie. I never liked it as a child but I thought I’d give it another go. So I googled for a recipe and this is an amalgamation of those that used ingredients I already had in my cupboard.
I stole the idea of a biscuit base from Good Food online (because I’m rubbish at pastry). Most recipes seemed to use evaporated milk but I only had condensed, so I found one that used that instead. The result was a pumpkin pie that was perfectly edible – rather like an egg custard tart with pizazz. Ben said it tasted Christmassy (that will be the cloves) so I might freeze some of the pumpkin puree and make this over Christmas.
Anyway, I know that I’ve missed the boat in posting this recipe now that Halloween (and Bonfire Night for that matter) have passed, but I wanted to record what I did ready for next year.
At least 12 servings
For the crust
- 200g digestive biscuits (approx. 13 biscuits), crushed (or you can use ginger biscuits)
- 50g butter, melted
For the filling
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves (or you could use nutmeg if you dislike cloves)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 425g pumpkin puree (see below if you don’t already have this to hand)
- 397g can sweetened condensed milk
To make the pumpkin puree, first cut a medium pumpkin (or two small ones) into large wedges and remove the seeds with a spoon but don’t peel. Put the wedges into a large baking tray, cover with foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour at 180oC (the pumpkin flesh should be soft and you can test this with a skewer, if it goes through with no resistance then it’s done). Leave to cool and then scoop out the flesh from the skin and puree in a food processor. This will probably make more than the quantity required for this recipe.
For the base, smash up the biscuits either with a rolling pin in a plastic bag (my preferred method), or in a food processor.
Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Tip into a 23cm, loose-bottomed tart tin. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the base and up the sides of the tin. Put in the fridge and chill for at least half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 17oC.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling together until smooth.
Remove the crust from the fridge and place on a baking tray in the middle of the oven. Pull out the shelf and carefully fill with the pumpkin mixture, pouring it right to the top. Try not to slosh the filling over the sides as you push the shelf back in.
Bake for 40 minutes until set.
Cool in the tin to room temperature then chill completely in the fridge.