Well with all that leftover pumpkin lying around after Halloween, a pumpkin pie is inevitable!
1 large pumpkin or 2 large butternut squash
1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup demerara sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups double cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs
1 tbs butter
½ teaspoon salt
First prepare your pastry. Make sure your hands are very cold. A neat trick is to dip your hands in a bowl of iced water before you start.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar, mixing it all together. Now using just your fingertips, crumble and combine in the butter until you have a mixture that looks like large breadcrumbs. Don’t overwork it at this stage.
Now add the egg and the water, again working this mixture through gently, bringing it all together, by pressing everything together as opposed to kneading it to form a dough. When it has all come together, wrap it up in cling film and let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
Next, prepare your shells like this:
I like to use butternut squash in this recipe as sometimes, I find it hard to get the sweeter pumpkin variety – but the additional sweetness from the sugar and maple syrup will work it’s way through. If you are using fresh pumpkin or squash, simply slice in half, dot with the butter, wrap up in foil and roast in a hot oven of 180 degrees centigrade for around 55 minutes. Remove all the flesh from the skin and mash finely.
If you have left over pumpkin flesh left from your Jack-O-Lanterns, then simply place all of the flesh of 1 pumpkin in a pie dish, dot over the butter and cover with foil. Roast for 40 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade until soft and tender. Mash finely.
Now, prepare the filling. Set a large pan to warm up over a low heat – taking care to ensure it is on a very low heat.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until the yolks and whites are well combined. Add all the rest of the ingredients and start to whisk this all together for a minute or two. Pour all of this mixture into the pan, stirring quickly.
Continue to cook over a medium-low heat, whisking constantly and cooking this thick custard type mixture for at least 20 minutes until very thick. Place on one side, covering with cling film on the surface of the custard so it wont create a thick skin. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
Pour a ladleful of mixture into the pre-prepared pastry cases and set to bake for 15 – 18 minutes. The pies are ready, when you take them out and they are just beginning to set with a slight wobble in the middle.
I like to serve these slightly cooled with a big helping of vanilla icecream or softened and slightly sweetened – cinnamon dusted mascarpone cream. If Heaven was a pie, this would be it!!!