Hi! I said I’d be back with a Hallowe’en recipe and here I am…. You can’t get much more Hallowe’eny than pumpkin, so I thought a Pumpkin Pie might be fun for a change. I’d love to tell you that I’ve been hollowing out a large pumpkin, removing all the seeds and stringy bits, cooking it carefully and sieving and blending it until it was smooth and lump-free, but…. I haven’t. I simply bought a tin of pumpkin puree from the supermarket (they nearly all sell it) and saved myself a great deal of time and trouble…
I wanted to have a large flat surface for piping my spider’s web, so I made my pie in a large, shallow flan tin, but if you do the same it’s important to roll out the pastry really thinly, or the proportion of filling to base is a bit mean. If you use a smaller tin - say 9” across - you’ll obviously end up with a deeper filling which may be more to your taste. I’m such a pastry fan that I was happy with the former.
You’ll see that I also recommend wearing kitchen gloves or similar if you want to mould a spider out of cake crumbs and black frosting: I would never normally have the perfect type of thin latex gloves to hand as I did this time… an unexpected side effect of the awful virus!
You can also buy ready made pie shells, which would obviously save even more time, but I do think the taste of home baked pastry is better (yes, even using a mix, and with a spoonful of sugar added is fine for this recipe).
Have a happy Hallowe’en - even if you can only spend it with a minimum of friends/relations this year. Hopefully the children will be able to enjoy some aspects of it, although I shall be sad if we don’t have the usual trick or treaters at the door.
There are constant reminders in the smallest of things of this very strange and unhappy time, but as ever I sign off sending you my very best wishes and hoping for a brighter future ahead for us all.
- 1 packet Jane Asher pastry mix
- 1 tbsp (15ml) castor sugar
- 1 large egg + 3 egg yolks
- 1 x 425g tin pumpkin puree
- 75g granulated sugar
- 100g light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp (15ml) mixed spice
- 100ml evaporated milk
- 1 tub Jane Asher black frosting (or 1 tub Jane Asher chocolate frosting)
- 1 cupcake or handful of cake crumbs
- Two orange sweets - or tiny balls of orange frosting
You will need a loose-base flan tin - 9” for a deep pie, 12” for a larger, flatter pie, and a piping bag fitted with medium, plain nozzle
Pour the pastry mix into a bowl and stir in the sugar, then make up as on the packet and knead it gently into a ball. Wrap and chill for ten minutes or so if you like, to make it easier to work with.
Dust the work surface and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll the pastry out fairly thinly to a size large enough to easily fill your tin (you will have some left over if you are using a 9” tin - make some jam tarts or cheese pies or something!). Drape the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it carefully over the tin, easing it into the base without stretching.
Trim the spare pastry, leaving a couple of centimetres or so hanging over the edge of the tin, then turn the edge of the pastry over to make a rim, before pressing it into the side of the tin with a finger.
Then - and this is important to stop the crust shrinking away from the tin - put it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 190C (175C fan/gas mark 5). Take the pie crust out of the freezer and place on a baking sheet. Prick the bottom with a fork, then line with baking paper and fill about half full with baking beans.
Bake for 20 minutes, then take it out of the oven, remove the baking paper and beans and cover the edges with a few strips of foil folded in half lengthwise to stop the edges over browning.
Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and beginning to brown on the bottom. Take the pastry case out of the oven and remove the foil, keeping it to one side in case you need it later. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Whisk together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl then pour into the pre-baked crust.
Bake for 40-50 minutes for the 12in pie or 50-60 minutes for the 9in, deeper one, until the filling is just set. It should look dry around the edges and the middle should jiggle a little if you nudge the tin. If the pastry rim is getting too dark, cover it again with foil, being careful not to spoil the surface of the pumpkin mix. Cool completely on a rack before decorating.
Fill a piping bag, fitted with a plain writing nozzle, with about half a tub of black or chocolate frosting (you may need to stir the frosting a little to soften it if it is cold), then test by piping a little onto the back of a plate. After testing on a plate, pipe a web onto the pie keeping some back for the spider’s legs.
Break up a cupcake (or use some cake crumbs) into a small bowl and mix with a tbsp or so of frosting, then mould into a rough spider shape (I recommend disposable gloves if using the black!)
Place the spider on the web and add two little orange eyes, then pipe on eight legs.
I used the remaining frosting to top some cupcakes.
This can be made at least one day ahead and stored in the fridge.