Now what to do with them? As my cooking prowess lies in the field of all things sweet, I ignored initial thoughts of pumpkin soup / curry / risotto / mash, etc. Instead I opted to do this vegetable justice by pureeing it and turning it into a sweet pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving stylee. I have to say, due to limited time, I cheated and used a ready-made pastry mix. This is not ideal but when needs must..... Best served with a dollop of cream or ice cream.
I must admit I'm not Halloween's biggest fan. I find the whole celebration of all things ghoulish and ghastly slightly unnerving. Why anyone would look forward to spending their evening parading around in a Scream mask, scaring young children and adults (ie, me) alike I will never know. However, I am grateful to Halloween for one thing: the pumpkin.
I recently paid my parents a visit in Shropshire. En famille, we donned our wellies and proceeded to trudge through the surrounding countryside, walking tentatively through several fields full of menacing-looking cows on the way. We happened upon a house with a wheelbarrow brimming with bright pumpkins outside. A sign informed us they had been lovingly home-grown in the back garden. A sucker for all things homespun, money was exchanged and several of the illustrious vegetables were lugged back to the house.
450g pumpkin flesh cut into chunks
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
75g soft dark brown sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground allspice
1/2tsp ground ginger
275ml double cream
1.Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
2.Follow the instructions on the packet of shop bought pastry and line a cake tin with it, 23cm diameter and 4cm deep. (Or make your own - this will inevitably taste even better.)
3.Steam the pumpkin until soft and then place in a blender. Blend until you have a smooth pumpkin puree.
4.Lightly whisk the eggs.
5.Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan and bring to the boil. Pour it over the eggs and whisk to combine.
6.Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.
7.Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes. It will still be slightly wobbly in the centre but will set further whilst cooling.
8.Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
Once every last morsel of my pumpkin had been scooped out I passed it on to my boyfriend, who dutifully created this masterpiece. That will scare off the trick or treaters.