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This is a completely delicious recipe…

Serves 6-8

1/2 small pumpkin seeded (about 500g); 1/2 mug of sugar, or to taste; 1 tbsp cornflour; 1/2 teaspoon cinammon; 1/4 tspn ground ginger; 3 eggs, separated; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 310 ml (10 1/2 fl oz) milk; 1/2 tspn ground nutmeg

The Pastry: A pinch of salt; 210g (7 1/2 oz) flour; 100g cold butter; 3-4 tbsp cold water

If you’re feeling lazy or just don’t want to make a pie base, skip the pastry bit, make the  custard mixture, pour it into a buttered baking dish and cook as if it were the pie.

Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375 F/ gas 5. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Put a piece of aluminium foil on a baking sheet or in a large baking tin and pop the pumpkin onto it, cut side down. Cover well with more foil. Bake for about 1 hour or so until the pumpkin is tender. While it’s baking, make your pie base. (If you’re using scoopings just lay these in a parcel of foil and bake until soft).

To make your pastry, first mix the salt into the flour. Add the cold butter and cut it into the flour with two knives or give it a few blasts in a food processor. Slowly sprinkle in the cold water until the pastry just holds together. Take care not to handle the pastry too much or to over-process it. Pop the dough in a bag in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and lift into a greased pie pan. Crimp the edges and prick the base all over well with a fork, then pop into the bottom of the oven for 5-10 minutes. This should help your pastry stay crisp when you pour in the filling. If you want super crunch for your pastry brush some milk or egg white onto the pastry a couple of minutes before you take it out of the oven at this stage.

When the pumpkin is soft, hoik it out of the oven and let it cool a bit. Spoon out the pumpkin flesh and puree it in a food processor or press through a strainer, discarding the skin. Show the pumpkin no mercy at this stage it must be super smooth! Weigh out 250ml / 8 fl oz of the puree for this recipe and freeze any leftovers. (Pumpkin puree keeps nicely in the freezer, so you can simply defrost any extra when you feel like another pie, or throw it on bread or muffins when you are baking.)

Once the puree has cooled stir in the sugar, cornflour, cinnamon and ginger. Then mix in the egg yolks, vanilla essence and milk. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, but not stiff. Gently fold into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into the pie base and sprinkle the nutmeg on top.

Bake at 210 C/ 410 F/ Gas 6 1/2 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas 4 and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until set in the middle and lightly browned at the edges. Serve with fresh whipped cream, double cream or ice cream and a few chunks of crystallised ginger.


From Abel & Cole’s “Cooking Outside the Box”