Friday, 26 October 2007


I'm not the biggest fan of the whole hallowe'en thing, but one thing I do love is pumpkins. Lantern carving is a lot of fun, and there's so much potential to embrace the River Cottage nose to tail ethic so to speak, although I'm still trying to come up with a veggie alternative phrase. From seed to stalk maybe, or something like that. We've got at least 4, maybe 5 items out of this one - and first of all is the lantern of course...

Chop off the top of the pumpkin to form the lid. Once you're in, set aside the seeds for later. Scoop out at least half to two thirds of the thickness of the flesh and set this aside for later too, then carefully score and cut out the pieces. Be careful not to scrape the walls too much as I did though - the face is already going soft and starting to implode, I'm a little worried it's not going to stay intact until Wednesday!

Place a tealight or two inside and enjoy. I also like the slightly burnt smell it gives off as the heat from the candles starts to char the lid. I'd go for that over a sickly scented candle any day!

I made a couple of knitted pumpkins too, based on Curly Purly's pattern. They were really quick and easy, both of them completed in one day. Perfect prop for customising a hallowe'en cat.

So all that scraping wasn't ideal for the lantern itself, but here's what I've been up to with the results...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse and resudual fibres and slime off the seeds and allow to dry. Coat in a little olive oil and season with smoked paprika, cayenne, cumin and salt. Roast at 180 for 10 mins or so.

With the reserved flesh you could make pumpkin soup or add it to stock, but there's also the American classic:

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1.5 lb pumpkin flesh
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5tbsp treacle
  • 4.5oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 heaped tsp each of ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg and ginger
  • 15fl oz double cream

Cook the pumpkin flesh over a gentle heat until soft, blend until smooth. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a large bowl until combined. Heat the other ingredients until they reach simmering point, pour onto the eggs and whisk, then whisk in the pumpkin flesh.

This is enough to fill 3 ready made pastry cases - place the empty cases on the oven shelf before filling so that you can pour in as much as possible. Bake at 180C for 35-40min.

I still had some extra flesh left over, which Rebecca is going to use for pumpkin scones - looking forward to those! Finally, I reckon it'll still be possible to roast the remaining pumpkin flesh still on the lantern once we've enjoyed it on the mantlepiece for a few days. Et voila, nothing wasted!

Here's a pair hallowe'en snaps... the two-headed cat/girl with a freaky borg eye, and the four-eyed ghost cat...


Eva said...

fantastic pumkin! and your cat is so cute ! I look forward to carving/eating mine tomorrow :-)

Di said...

Wow! The pumpkin looks great - and the knitted ones are pretty amazing too! See you soon - though not at knitting tonight as I am off to help at a Halloween Party!