Happy Hallowe’en everybody! I won’t lie to you, I’m not Hallowe’en’s biggest fan. But I do love pumpkin and spices and pecans and dressing up (I dressed up as a sickly person in her pjs this year). I have never made pumpkin pie before, I’ve never even eaten pumpkin pie before! But I love everything that goes into it so I figured why not be festive! I decided to add a pecan topping because I think I’ve spent too much time in Atlanta). The pie itself turned out great, I mean I’ve never eaten pumpkin pie so maybe I got it completely wrong, but it was scrummy so either way I’m happy. I’m a great lover of autumn spices, I associate them more with Christmas (see below re: lack of autumn holidays here) but I’m a firm believer that you should bake with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice all year round.
I think this pumpkin pie post needs a little disclaimer before we continue – this pie doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin. I made this with butternut squash. Hallowe’en isn’t that big of a holiday in the UK and we obviously don’t have thanksgiving, with those being the two big pumpkin holidays we don’t have a plethora of choice when it comes to pumpkins. Just before halloween you can buy pumpkins for carving, but I wouldn’t recommend baking with them. But fun fact: a lot of canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash anyway (they use butternut squash as it’s less stringy, sweeter and a better colour) so I’m not really cheating here! Maybe I should have called it Butternut Squash Pie, but that just doesn’t sound as festive!
Paul Hollywood would not be impressed with my soggy bottom (I over greased the pan, oops)
I have another small confession, I made two pies. The first pie I used a ready made pie crust because I didn’t want to bother making my own pastry (did I mention I was a sickly pj lady today?) and I don’t actually own a pie dish. However it was much shallower than I anticipated and all the pumpkin filling spilled out and I was left with an accidental (but tasty) pecan pie. My mum enjoyed the accidental pecan pie so it wasn’t a complete loss!
Who said the pie filling actually has to be in the pie crust anyway???
I couldn’t bear to just leave it at that so I decided to suck it up and make my own pastry (admittedly this decision was after a failed attempt to buy ready made shortcrust at Tesco), after all shortcrust pastry is pretty much the easiest pastry to make. I will include the recipe for that, but don’t feel bad if you use ready made, I would have if I could have. My philosophy is life’s too short to make your own pastry!
I know you’re jealous of my giraffe print knives
Time to get down to business then!
For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
- 225g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 110g butter
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp milk
- pinch of ground cinnamon (optional – you can substitute with other flavours, but try not to over power with flavour)
For the Pumpkin Filling:
- 500g butternut squash, cooked and pureed
- 1 (397g) tin condensed milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175g dark brown soft sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Pecan Topping:
- 220g golden syrup
- 115g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g pecan halves
For the pastry:
Line the bottom of an 8inch pie dish (or sandwich cake tin if you’re improvising like me!) with greaseproof paper and very lightly grease sides of dish.
Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub the butter into flour until you have fine crumb mixture. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon (if using). Mix in the egg and enough milk to form a soft dough. Try not to work the dough too much as you don’t want to melt the butter. Wrap in cling film and place in fridge to chill for at least 15-30 minutes.
Dust work surface with flour and roll out pastry to a 1/2cm thickness. Transfer to pie dish and lightly press into the bottom and into edges. If you tear the pastry, just fix holes with pastry cut offs. Set aside.
Make shift pie dish
For the pie filling:
Preheat oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas mark 6.
Line a baking tray with foil and light oil. Halve butternut squash length wise and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and remove stem. Place squash halves cut side down on baking tray and pour 50ml water into tray. Loosely cover with foil and bake in oven for 50 minutes or until flesh is tender.
Remove from oven and leave to cool. Scoop flesh from peel and put into food mixer, blend until you have a smooth puree. Measure out 500g and set aside (if you have any remaining squash, reserve excess for another use like yummy mash potato).
Look at that bright orange, you’d never get that naturally with a pumpkin!
In a large bowl and hand mixer, beat the squash with condensed milk, eggs, sugar, spices and salt. Pour into the unbaked pastry case, leaving a space for the pecan topping.
For the pecan topping:
Combine the golden syrup, sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and stir in the pecans. Pour on top of pumpkin layer.
Bake in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool in dish for 10 minutes and then and turn out onto wire rack, leave to cool completely.
Serve with freshly whipped cream, yum!
I used a number of recipes from the internet to come up with this recipe. Those that I still have the links for are here and here