Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin patch kids

I know Halloween has long since gone, but it’s just my absolute favourite, and as I can’t do Thanksgiving here per se, I do try to pretend Halloween lasts a little longer than one night.

One of the main ingredients for a proper Halloween, in my opinion anyway, aside from ghosts, spiders, etc, are pumpkins!

I sort of went all out with them this year – we had these three, and two more:

 

 

 

The stickers are courtesy of the Monkey-moo – Hello Kitty goes well with ghosts, right?!

We also did this:

Twice.  Once with just salt and a bit of oil, the second with a bit of oil, cinnamon, ginger and agave nectar (which I recently found and wanted to try).  I’ve never roasted my own pumpkin seeds, but will definitely be doing it again and again (will be trying butternut squash seeds next).  So easy, apart from the cleaning part, and they do take a while to dry, so I sort of oven-dried them first (low oven) before tossing the seeds, oil and seasoning in a zip lock bag and tossing it around.  Then I plonked them onto a lined baking tray.  I will definitely use greaseproof paper instead of the foil next time (I did one and one).  The sweet ones came off much better with the greaseproof paper than the foil!

For the insides of the pumpkins (the smaller ones – the bigger ones just got gutted and binned) – we have this:

Or rather, this is what’s left over.  I didn’t really grow up with pumpkin (my folks are not American – and this is not a food from either of their childhoods!), so didn’t really know what to do with it, but I just treated it like a general winter squash, and the love is certainly growing.  Roasting 6 pumpkin halves at once in the oven was also a good idea – bish bash bosh, as my husband would say (and lots of other people!).

I’ve seen plenty of recipes floating around for what to do with the rest of it, and I’ll let you know if I get around to trying one!  (Time’s been a bit tight of late)

I’ve also managed to snag this:

A present from my brother and SIL.  Very kind of them to fly it over for me!  I’m almost afraid to open the tin as I don’t know how long it will be before I can get another tin, and I expect it would cost me about GBP 7 to get one here (I love how you have to pay for the tin’s flight over when you’ve buying some foreign products…).  I’ve seen far too many good things to do with it as well.  Again, once I am brave enough, I will let you know.

I think I need to teach my daughter about Thanksgiving this year…  Let the pumpkins live on!

A different kind of pumpkin pie

The Americans came, they saw and they had cake!  All was superb.

Whilst I know it was only by brother and sister-in-law visiting, they still came an awful long way to see me, (even if it was a stop over on the way to Switzerland –  I won’t hold that against them – yet), and that kind of effort deserves at least a similar cake effort.

As I noted earlier, my brother was mightily impressed when I did Beantown Baker’s Red Velvet Cheesecake cake (http://www.beantownbaker.com/2010/12/red-velvet-cheesecake-cake.html), so I wanted to recreate, but add a bit of a spin.  So out went the red velvet to make room for something more autumnal and Halloween-y!  (I love Halloween – more so since I’ve been over in the UK, as they just do it so poorly here – and it could just be sooooo good!).  In came Buttermilk spice cheesecake cake, with a Halloween twist – so here goes:

Buttermilk spice cheesecake cake – adapted from the Beantown Baker (http://www.beantownbaker.com/2010/12/red-velvet-cheesecake-cake.html)

Ingredients:

Cake:
2.5 c all purpose flour
1.5c sugar
1 tsp. baking soda / bicarb.
2Tbsp (or to taste) cinnamon
.5 Tbsp ground ginger
.25 Tbsp mace
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1.5 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk
Optional mix of yellow and red food colouring to turn the cake orange (or keep it the warm brown shade if preferred)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar

Cheesecake:
575g cream cheese (I always use light, but not ultra light – adds more nutrition and I think the taste is nicer)
0.75 c sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 eggs
0.5 c sour cream (again, I go for reduced fat here – it’s an indulgent cake, but why can’t it be indulgent and a bit more nutrient dense?)

Frosting:
– 500 g cream cheese (don’t go with light here, unless you want to up the butter content to compensate – you need the fat to make the frosting stiffer)
– 150g butter
– 900 g icing sugar (I’ll need to buy more before I can make my Christmas chocs this year :-()
– food colouring to tint – as desired

Madness:

Cake (make the cake first!):

– oven to 350 F / 170 C
– line two baking tins – I  use spring-form pans
– mix together dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another (excluding food colouring)
– make a well in the dry ingredients and combine in wet stirring until smooth
– add food colouring to desired colour saturation
– divide batter evenly between the greased and lined cake tins (mine are non-stick – you may want to flour yours)
– bake 30 minutes, rotating half way through, until top feels firm and toothpick test is confirmed
– set to cool
– once cool, remove from tins and wash up tins
– once absolutely cool, wrap in clingfilm / plastic wrap and pop in freezer (this is not a one day bake!)

Cheesecake:
– oven to 160C/ 325F
– get a large roasting tin out which will fit the same pan in which the cake was made inside it
– line the cake tin, then wrap the outside in foil (you’re going to put it in a water bath, so wrap appropriately!)
– Beat cream cheese until it loosens, add sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt, eggs, and lastly, sour cream – beat until well combined)
– pour into prepared cake tin already sitting in roasting pan (or similar)
– pour boiling water in to roasting pan so that it comes to about halfway up cheesecake tin
– Bake 45-50 minutes, until the cheesecake looks set in the centre (it will still be wobbly, but not runny)
– Remove from water, and let cool for 20 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the tin, and releasing sides of springform pan
– let cool completely, then pop it in the fridge for a night’s sleep
– in the morning, or whenever you get a chance the next day, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer, base still attached

Assemble and decorate

– no earlier than the day before you’re ready to serve, get your cakes out of the freezer, remove wrap, and set on a wire rack to defrost
– although I didn’t do it this time, I would certainly go ahead and make your frosting at this point (start by mixing the butter and cream cheese together, then add sugar until the desired consistency is reached, then add colouring if using, adding sugar if it becomes too loose)
– when fully defrosted (important that they defrost all the way or your layers will get mushy when put together), take your cheesecake out of the freezer, unwrap, and start to defrost briefly (about 20-30 minutes)
– lay your bottom layer of cake on a plate, and apply a layer of frosting (didn’t do this, but should have done – would have been really visually fantastic!)
– prepare to detach cheesecake from base of tin – it should still be sufficiently firm to manage some manhandling at this point.
– if the cheesecake has defrosted just enough, you should be able to release it by simply turning it over, running a knife along the edge of the cake and tin base, placing it on top of the bottom layer cake, and pulling slightly – if this doesn’t work, wait a bit longer, or consider getting a hair dryer out to warm the base a bit
– once tin is removed and cheesecake is in place, peel of parchment/ greaseproof paper from base of cheesecake (which has now become the top), and top with another layer of frosting, then second cake
– frost and decorate!

<– there’s a view of the inside (pumpkin brains!) – I’m not genius at cake slicing…

Things I would have done differently:
– the frosting both under and on top of cheesecake – I only put it on top of the cheesecake
– my frosting was too runny – I should have gone full fat / more butter, although I got a smoother finish as I could use it as more of a glaze than a frosting
– put crushed nuts or chocolate sprinkles up the sides – would have looked great, but I am dealing with fussy eaters, and I don’t want to be the only one eating this cake (been there, done that)