We had way too much pumpkin.
Our local supermarket sells it sliced. Last week, we made soup. 'Im Indoors, as he likes to call himself - maybe as a reflection of the fact that he'd like to spend a bit more time indoors instead of running after Max's scooter all the time - found a recipe involving lentils, and chard stalks. Yes, chard stalks. It turned out lovely.
Then this week, he bought another batch and roasted about half with herbs and spices to use for risotto. I made one risotto last night, with one slice of bacon, chopped (we have to economise our bacon here), some peas, and a few leaves of reyhan, a deep purple basil. I got some duck stock out of the freezer and, of course, the pumpkin. The other roasted bits are sitting nicely in the freezer, waiting for more risotto opportunities.
So that left me with a biggish quantity of pumpkin to use up - it doesn't keep well once it's sliced up.
I softened it a bit in the microwave, then pureed it. Like that.
We were having lunch with friends who are gluten intolerant, so I used gluten free flour for the pastry. Now I remembered that the last time I baked pastry for them it turned out very flaky, powedery, even. So I decided to add an egg yolk - that is, I made a pate sablee, rather than a pate brisee. It's really not as hard as I thought.
Basically you mix 150 flour and 100 butter. As with a pate brisee, you need to make sure that the butter is cold and hard. Cut it up in small bits and rub in the flour with your finger tips. When it says to do it with your finger tips, it doesn't mean you should be gentle - if you are the butter and the flour won't mix - but that the heat from your fingers shouldn't go into the butter. When you're done it should look crumbly.
Then you add 50g of icing sugar and an egg yolk. Mix lightly and quickly with a wooden spoon and press the whole into a ball.
Bang it the fridge for a while. My recipe said an hour at least, but, hey, who has that kind of time when baking with an impatient eight year old?
The tricky thing with pastry is often the rolling out of it.
What I do is put a sheet of grease proof paper - or when I run out, like I did today, foil , which is just as good - scatter a handful of flour on it, then roll out the pastry. Don't forget to spread flour on top of the pastry and on the rolling pin as well! Otherwise it'll get all sticky and you're screwed.
Once that's done, I put the buttered tin on top of the pastry, turn the whole over, press the pastry in, and take out the paper. It's really quite easy that way.
Max, whose idea it was to bake a cake in the first place, agreed to mix cream (about 200ml for one pie) with the pumpkin. Then I banged in a bit of the icing sugar and some spices. So, let me remember. I used: a very large sprinkling of cinnamon. About a tea-spoon full of ginger. A satisfyingly large quantity of allspice. I couldn't say how much exactly, but I used all the fingers of one hand to scoop it out of the pot, and it covered a fairly big area of the pumpkin mixture once I'd thrown it in.
Once done, it looked like this:
Max wasn't in fact terribly helpful. His main contribution was this.
After which he decided that he didn't like pumpkin pie and that what he'd wanted to make all along - and why didn't I guess? - were star shaped biscuits.
Fortunately we had a bit of pastry left over...