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Autumnally Creative: Pumpkins Take #2

Halloween has passed and I’m sure I speak for all of us here that we have a good amount of pumpkin that has been left on our doorsteps or in our fireplaces. At the beginning of the month, I wrote some more in-depth information about pumpkin wastage and I am really quite enjoying playing around with different ways to prepare, cook and bake with pumpkins. In my previous blog I showed three different recipes that all use pumpkin in different ways. Use it as a foundation to spark some spontaneity and see what you can create! Curries, breakfast, pastries, go check it out — https://www.thenoonooproject.com/post/all-things-fall-autumnally-creative — pumpkin wastage, right now, is at a critical point so before you throw them away, please try to do something delicious with these magnificent fruits.



I always start by cutting the pumpkin in half and using a large spoon to scoop and scrape out the inside with attached seeds. Save these in a bowl for later. For an opportunity to be spontaneous, I roast half the pumpkin cut into chunks, similar to that of roasting butternut squash — and the other half I roast whole, on an oiled baking tray, skin-side up. I do this with the intention of making it into a purée. Its a lot less hassle to peel a cooked whole 1/2 a pumpkin than it is to peel lots of small chunks. With a glug olive oil and a few twists of pink himalayan salt you are good to go! Roast in the oven for 40-45 mins at 190 degrees Celsius. If you intend to bake with your pumpkin, prepare your pumpkin by placing a clean towel over a sieve and (after having puréed your pumpkin) put your pumpkin puree in the towel. Bunch the towel and squeeze the water out of the pumpkin by gently twisting and squeezing the towel. When you feel there isn’t much more juice to squeeze out, open the towel on the surface and, using a spoon, scrape the purée into a bowl. What you have left with is concentrated pumpkin purée!


Roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh from your pumpkins, taste like POPCORN. I only ever used to roast them in salt and a little paprika, sometimes some curry spices but this time I thought “what if I went sweet?” And these tasted like cinnamon popcorn. I would buy a pumpkin just to make this!


INGREDIENTS

- pumpkin seeds from 1 medium pumpkin - 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar

- 1 tsp cinnamon Mix all of the ingredients together on a sheet of baking parchment, on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius. After 7 minutes, take out the seeds and mix them around the sheet, turning them over to allow an even bake. Bake for another 7 minutes. Take them out again and give them a good stir. place back in the oven for a further 5-7 mins, being careful not to burn them. Leave them to cool o the tray. Once they’ve cooled they will have formed a crunchy caramel coat. Crack a little salt on, if you like for an alternative take on sweet ’n’ salty popcorn!

Pumpkin is an acquired flavour which isn't suited to everyone, hence why why use such strong flavours such a cinnamon and ginger to disguise it. But if you would like to use the juice of your pumpkin, make it into a warming autumnal concoction!

- 1 part freshly squeezed pumpkin - 2.5 parts apple juice

- 1 part peach juice

- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger - optional half tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a jug, and strain into glasses, over ice. Or you could serve it warm!




Ok, so these little buns are... delightful. They are light, soft and warming — everything you could want in an autumnal bun. This could just be my favourite way to use up any pumpkin I have going; they have certainly become a hit amongst my friends and family!


INGREDIENTS

- 3 cups plain flour

- 1 cup warm milk (not too warm or you will kill your yeast)

- 1 7g sachet dried activated yeast - or 14g fresh yeast, crumbled and loosened with tsp milk.

- 2 tsp honey or maple syrup/agave nectar

- 40g butter at room temperature (soft)

- half a tsp salt


-140g concentrated pumpkin purée

- 50g soft brown sugar

- 2 tsp cinnamon


In a bowl, weigh in your flour, yeast, honey, butter and salt. Be sure to put your salt on the other side of the bowl to the yeast because salt kills yeast. Mix the ingredients so evenly distribute. Warm your milk, and knead to a smooth dough. Knead your dough for 5 minutes. It should be light, ever so slightly sticky and soft. Place back in its bowl, a cloth over the bowl and prove in a warm environment for 1 hour. Prepare your pumpkin spread — in a bowl mix the purée, the sugar and the cinnamon until fully incorporated. When the dough is doubled in size, bring out onto a lightly floured surface and “knock back“. Do this simply, by gently pushing your fingers into the dough and creating a rough square. Now, use a rolling pin to achieve a rectangular sheet of dough that is roughly a pound coin in thickness. Once the dough has been rolled, ensure that the dough isnt stuck to the surface and proceed to spread a thin and even layer of the pumpkin mixture. Fold the long side, furthest from you, into the middle, and the long side, closest to you, over the top.


Essentially, folding into thirds. Cut strips along that are approximately 3 cm in width. With each strip, leaving a 2-3mm from the top, cut 3 strips to allow you to plait. Plait the dough, one over the other. Once the plait is done, roll the top of the plait underneath itself and tuck, exposing the beautiful plait you’ve just made. Place all of the rolled plaits into a muffin tin and prove in a warm place for a further 15 mins. Egg wash (or milk wash— vegan milk is good too) the buns before baking in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 22-26 minutes. Dust with icing sugar to serve. Oh and best eaten warm; there’s nothing quiet like a fresh cinnamon bun.

Every year I bake a pumpkin pie, it has become a seasonal tradition in my household. But I thought this year I would play around with different flavours and textures so this here is the result of some playtime in the kitchen today! Find some cool ways to use up those pumpkins - white chocolate and pumpkin ganache topped with a cinnamon oat streusel sounds much better than rotting doorstep pumpkin, am I right?

INGREDIENTS

- 150g white chocolate

- 170ml double cream

- 50g unsalted butter

- 250g puréed pumpkin

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1/4 tsp allspice

- 1 sheet shortcrust pastry (or to make it: 110g plain flour, 50g butter, tbsp water and salt)

- 60g plain flour

- 40g oats

- 40g soft brown sugar

- 50g butter


Bring your butter and cream to boil in a pan. Pour the boiling cream over the white chocolate in a bowl and stir continuously until smooth. Once smooth, add the puréed pumpkin and the spices. Stir until well combined. In a bowl, put your oats, flour, sugar, and butter and rub together using the tips of your fingers until you have a crumbly texture. Put this onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Prepare your pastry in a pie dish and blind bake, with baking beans, in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes until golden and thoroughly baked. Put the streusel in the oven with the pie case for the same amount of time. When they are both ready, take out of the oven. If the streusel is a little soft, pop it back into the oven for a couple more minutes. Allow the pastry to cool. Spoon in the ganache and level. You can top with the streusel but I like to add a little whipped cream before topping with the crisp oats. And that’s it! Enjoy your pumpkins in more ways you can imagine.



I hope I have inspired you to save some of your pumpkins this year. Pumpkin can be roasted and frozen, as can the purée so if you don’t know what to do with them just yet, buy yourself some time! And if you can’t eat pumpkins, or you filled your porch with more pumpkins you could ever wish to consume, perhaps think about donating them to shelters near to you, or ask around neighbours in case they might like to use them. And if they really must be thrown in the bin, please make sure they are put in your food recycling bins. Visit your local government website for more information on local food recycling — https://www.norwich.gov.uk/foodwaste


Thank you for reading,

Gina ~ The Noo Noo Project x

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