Monday, 29 October 2012

Mini Pumpkin Pies for the Whole Family

Have you got a pumpkin you're thinking about carving?  What are you going to do with the flesh?  I have made a large pumpkin pie in the past but I wasn't totally happy with it.  I was listening to the Daily Mayo podcast the other day and they had a Mark Hix recipe for pumpkin pie.  Now this recipe is not it.  In fact it's so far from Mark Hix's recipe, it's difficult to see how I was inspired by it but inspired I was, just as I was listening I thought "I'd change that, I'd add vanilla, I'd change the sugar, I'd change the pastry, I'd make smaller versions, I'd add the spice later" so sorry Mark.  I am just someone who likes to tinker (and I wanted to make it as low in sugar as possible).

So this is what I came up with.  I should have made more pastry because I had at least 40% of the mix left so I could have made way more.  My son had his mouth full of his second tart and said "mudemmatofnaous".  

As we are trying to encourage good manners with my 2 year old I explained how he should finish his mouthful before chatting, then I said; "what where you trying to say?"

"Mummy, it delicious!"

Praise indeed!  Now the observant of you will notice this isn't sugar free as many of my baking recipes are but bearing in mind I didn't use a sweet pastry and my miscalculation with the filling there is no more than a tsp of added sugar per tart but they were still very sweet and the muscovado flavour shone through.  Trust me some yoghurts aimed at kids have far more so I don't feel too guilty.

Mini Pumpkin Pies - makes 12 but with filling left over (so make more pastry next time!)


350g, 12oz Diced pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled weight), any stringy bits and seeds removed
Spray oil
1/4 tsp Mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
100ml, 3.5 fl oz Double (heavy) cream
75g, 2.5oz Light muscovado sugar (light brown, fine, soft unrefined sugar)
1 Egg yolk


130g, 4.5oz Plain (all purpose) flour
40g, 1.5oz Cornflour (cornstarch)
100g, 3.8oz Butter


Spray the pumpkin with the spray oil and roast for about 180oC, 350F for about 45 mins or until soft and browning at the edges.

In the meantime, rub the butter into the flours until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add enough cold water to bring together as a dough, probably a couple of tbsp.  Use your hands to bring it together but don't work it too much or warm it up (not tricky, it's chilly here right now).  Roll out on a floured board and use a pastry cutter to cut out circles the right size for a fairy cake tin.  Put the tin in the fridge until the filling is ready.

Once the pumpkin is done, turn up the heat to 200oC, 400F.

Put the cream, pumpkin, mixed spice, vanilla, sugar and egg yolk into a jug or a blender and blend until smooth.

Put the pastry into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Take the tray out and where the pastry has puffed up at the bottom just use your fingers to push it back down (this is much easier than lining all of the pastry cups and using baking beans).

Pour the mix into each cup to near the top.  Put back in the oven and reduce the heat to 180oC, 350F.  Bake for 15 further minutes or until the filling is pretty set.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve with cream.

Another treat...

You know those pumpkin seeds you took out?  Even they can be used to make a tasty snack.  Just mix them with spray oil and some salt and roast for 25-35 minutes at 170oC, 340F or until they are starting to pop and smell toasted then nibble away feeling virtuous at using every part of the pumpkin!

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