Thursday, 30 October 2014

Pumpkins - Lanterns and Mini Pies

Hey everyone, it's Halloween this week. What are you dressing up as? I am going to be a cat and I have a brilliant cat joke to share with you later! As well as dressing up and trick or treating (or guising as we call it up here in Scotland!) with your friends it's also pumpkin time! In my special Halloween blog I share some perfect pumpkin facts, let you see this year's lantern and share a wonderful pumpkin recipe (ooh and I'll maybe squeeze in a wee book review while I am here too!...)


Me and my Jack Skellington pumpkin

Pumpkin Facts



Most of the pumpkins we see and use as lanterns or for eating are orange but did you know they can be yellow, white, green and even red!



Carving Halloween lanterns is a tradition that originates from HUNDREDS of years ago in Ireland (that is even older than M&D!) They were originally made from turnips or potatoes which is waaaay harder to carve than a pumpkin!



Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family (isn't that a funny word!) which also includes melons, cucumbers and courgettes!



The heaviest recorded pumpkin weighed in at a massive 1,810 lb 8 oz!



If you want to grow your own pumpkin you should plant your seeds in late May.




Carving pumpkins is a lot of fun and I love seeing them lit up in the dark evenings. Here is ours this year:


Doesn't my pumpkin lantern look great all lit up!


The very lovely people at the RHS sent me a copy of their "Grow It, Eat It" book. It is perfect for little gardeners like me who love growing their own fruit and veg. Not only is it packed full with tips on how to grow all sorts, from tomatoes and aubergines to spinach and strawberries, it also features lovely recipes using what you have just grown. 


The RHS "Grow It, Eat It" book

Some of my favourite recipes are carrot and orange muffins and potato fish cakes. I am definitely going to try the sunflower bread soon too which you bake in flower pots, how cool! It's a perfect book for all weathers and all times of year so I definitely recommend adding it to your collection. My "Lulu's Rating" for this book is:








Another 5 star book, hurray!

Today, to keep with the Halloween theme, I have chosen to share one of the recipes from the book which is...


MINI PUMPKIN PIES

You will need:

  • 500g pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 90g treacle
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 300ml milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • pinch of salt
To make:

(Pre heat oven to 190C, 375F, Gas 5)

1. Ask a grown up to cut the pumpkin into large chunks, coat in the oil and roast for about 20-30mins until tender. Cool and mash with a fork. 


Wow, two pumpkins!

2. Shape the puff pastry into 16 small balls then roll them until about 6cm in diameter and press into a bun tin.


Roll out your pastry balls

3. Place parchment paper into each pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15mins.  


4. Pour the milk into a pan. Add the vanilla seeds and heat until almost boiing. Leave to cool a little.

5. Lightly beat the egg yolks, whole egg and treacle in a bowl. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth. Add the milk mixture.


Mixing it up!

6. Pour the smooth mixture into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin puree.

7. Spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry cases. Bake in the over for 20-25 mins until just firm and slightly puffed up. 


Ready for the oven

A yummy, healthy treat to impress your friends with this Halloween.


The mini pumpkin pies


Oh and I almost forgot, here is my Halloween joke:

What is a cat's favourite colour?
PURRple of course!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx