By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Around this time of year, far too much perfectly good food is wasted in the form of Halloween Jack-o-lanterns. All too often, pumpkins are used purely for their decorative charm, resulting in hollowed out skins carved with scary faces. The real horror however is the amount of this incredibly versatile vegetable that’s scraped straight in to the bin. Or nearly as bad – boiled with plenty of water and not much else to produce horrendously bland soups, the sort that probably gave pumpkins such a bad name in the first place.
So, instead of wasting so much valuable pumpkin flesh over Halloween, why not attempt some of these delicious pumpkin recipes from some of our favourite chefs, this weekend?
Kobacha pumpkin tempura with spicy miso dressing by Hamish Brown – Executive Chef at ROKA Restaurants
Makes one sharing plate for 2-4 people
Small Kobacha pumpkin, 1
For the tempura batter
Tempura flour, 200g
Potato starch, 50g
Ice cold water, 300ml
For the spicy miso dressing
Large egg yolks, 2
Rice grain vinegar, 80ml
Grapeseed oil, 120ml
White miso paste, 50g
Sesame oil, 10ml
Chili paste (sambal oelek), 10g
Soya sauce, 20ml
Roasted sesame seeds
To prepare the pumpkin
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds, remove the green skin.
Cut into even wedges with the thick edge around 2cm.
Pre-heat a large pot or wok with oil around 9cm in depth to 200C.
To make the tempura batter
Add the water to the flour and starch and mix in a circular motion until combined, small lumps is fine.
Then batter should be reasonably thin and silky in texture (Water content may change check the tempura flour packet).
To make the spicy miso dressing
Whisk the yolks, mirin and vinegar.
Add the miso and whisk then slowly add the oils as if making mayonnaise.
Add chili and soya and season with salt if required.
Fry the Kobacha pumpkin in the tempura batter ensuring that the batter is nice and crisp and the pumpkin is cooked, around 4 minutes in the oil then drain to remove the excess oil.
Arrange the wedges on the serving plate and spoon the dressing over.
Finish with some roasted sesame seeds and finely sliced spring onions.
Thai pumpkin and coconut curry by Owen Sullivan – Head Chef at Maze Grill Park Walk, London
You can keep this vegetarian or add chicken or beef at the end of cooking to make a more protein rich meal.
Pumpkin flesh, 600g
Coriander, 1 bunch
Coconut milk, 1 tin
Thai green curry paste, 2tbsp
Vegetable stock, 300ml
Start by dicing the pumpkin, and slicing the onion. In a saucepan with medium heat, cook the onion and pumpkin in a little butter, then add the green curry paste.
Note: Thai Green Curry paste – you can buy this from the supermarket but the best ones around are from the Asian markets as they’re most authentic, while there you should also purchase the coconut milk and coriander, Thai basil, bean sprouts and Thai aubergines are also available if you want to make the dish fully authentic but not compulsory.
Add the vegetable stock to the saucepan and boil until pumpkin is tender (about 10mins) with a stick blender pulse the curry sauce base so the texture is smooth and broken down. Add the coconut milk and herbs and season with lime zest and juice, salt and pepper.
Now you have the base to the curry you can add pretty much whatever you like. Chicken, beef, turkey, potatoes, or any left over meats.
Pan fried pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter, sage, golden raisins and pine nuts by Ben Tish – Chef Director of Salt Yard Group
These delicious morsels are easy to make and can be served as a tapa, as in this case, (photo above) or as an accompaniment to a larger meal. When buying a pumpkin for this you should look for a small heavy variety such as an Iron Bark. These will have less water content and so will yield more flesh and have a much sweeter, intense flavour. Butternut squash could be substituted.
Serves 8 as a tapa
Diced pumpkin, 200g, skin in tact and seeds removed
00 pasta flour, 70g
Large free-range egg, 1
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, for cooking
Sage leaves, 16
Unsalted butter, 100g
Golden raisins, 20g, soaked
Toasted pine nuts, 15g
Lemon, ½, juiced
Heat an oven to 200C.
Lay the diced pumpkin over a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and then drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven until the pumpkin is tender and sweet. While hot pass the pumpkin through a sieve into a bowl, the skins will remain in the sieve.
Mix in the flour and egg and incorporate well. Season to taste and reserve.
Set a pan of water over a high heat and bring to the boil.
With two spoons shape the gnocchi mix into “quenelles” and drop them into the boiling water. When they rise to the surface they are cooked and should be removed onto a tray with a slotted spoon. Repeat until the mix is finished.
Heat a large non-stick pan to a high heat. Add the butter and cook until it starts to foam. Place in the gnocchi and the sage and sauté until the gnocchi are browned and hot and the sage has crisped up. By this stage the butter will have turned a nut-brown colour, when this happens add a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and pepper. This will arrest the cooking process of the butter and stop it from burning.
Divide the gnocchi onto four plated and spoon over the browned butter and sage leaves.
Finally finish the plates with some toasted pine nuts and soaked golden raisins.
Spiced Pumpkin Punch by Ryan Osnowski – Bar Manager at The Hinds Head, Bray
Pumpkin puree, 30ml (recipe below)
Agave, 1 bar spoon
Lemon juice, 25ml
Bourbon, 50ml, (Woodford reserve or four roses yellow label) – something not too expensive
Ginger Wash, 50ml, (recipe below – alternatively use ginger beer, either Fentiman’s or Jamaican)
Fresh grated ginger, ½tsp
Ground cinnamon, ½tsp
For the Ginger Wash
Fresh ginger root, 1kg, peeled and chopped
Cucumber, 1, chopped
Red chillies, 2, chopped,
Fresh mint leaves, 1 cup
Brown sugar, 1 cup
Honey, ½ cup
Water, 2 cups
Lemon juice, ½ cup
Black peppercorns, 1tsp
To make the puree pumpkin
Take the flesh from the pumpkin and blend till a smooth puree not to thin and not too thick. You can flavour the puree with the grated ginger and cinnamon if you like.
To make the Ginger Wash
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow the ingredients to cool over night and strain through a sieve or muslin. (Keep in a fridge, will keep for 5 days)
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 20 seconds or until the shaker becomes very cold.
Strain ingredients into a rocks glass over ice, garnish with a cinnamon stick and two sage leaves.
Homemade pumpkin spiced latte by CRU Kafe
“There’s nothing like pumpkin to add some colour to the grey autumnal weather.
This time of year brings us this versatile savory sweet vegetable in abundance. Mostly it’s a bright orange store of sunlight with hearty, nurturing and delicious flesh. All this means we usually end up with a glut at this time of year, especially if you’re buying a few to decorate the house for Halloween.
One great way to make the most of pumpkin (other than force feeding your family pumpkin soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is to prepare syrup from the flesh and combine it with seasonal spices. You could use this for all sorts of things, from cocktails to dessert toppings, but my favourite use is to make a warming spiced pumpkin latte.
For the coffee in the base, I use two shots of espresso – specifically, two CRU Dark Roast espresso pods, as I love the way the crema (that rich golden layer that sits atop good espresso) works with the syrup and cream to create an indulgent, moreish coffee.
If you don’t have a machine that will take CRU pods, have a look at Merlin’s guide to making a cheat’s espresso at home.
This spiced pumpkin latte is absolutely perfect as a little reward for a hard day’s work in winter, and works even better with a shot of brandy in it. Serve it at the end of a dinner party and your guests will think you’re a genius.”
For the syrup (enough for 8 – 10 spiced pumpkin lattes)
Small pumpkin, 1
Maple syrup, 200ml
Agave syrup, 250ml
Ground ginger, 6tsp
Cinnamon, 4 sticks
Whole cloves, 2tsp
For each drink
CRU Dark Roast blend espresso (or equivalent), 2 shots
Double cream, 1 tbsp
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
Skin and dice the small pumpkin, then roast it in a baking tray with no seasonings until slightly golden. Put it hot into a liquidizer with 50ml of the agave syrup and blitz.
Place all the ingredients along with pumpkin puree into a saucepan and stir while bringing to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Strain the syrup through a muslin cloth or fine sieve and set aside.
Place 2 shots of CRU espresso into a glass (approximately 70ml). Then add 6tbsp of syrup into the coffee. Lightly whip the cream and add a teaspoon to the coffee, then grate over a little nutmeg to garnish. Boom!
Pumpkin Waffles by Dirty Bones
Makes approximately 8 waffles
For the spiced pumpkin purée
Pumpkin flesh, 200g
Garlic cloves, 2, peeled
Red pepper, ½, seeded
Unsalted butter, 25g, melted
Garam masala powder, ½tsp
For the waffles
Spiced pumpkin purée, 90g
Plain flour, 240g, sifted
Semi-skimmed milk, 425ml
Unsalted butter, 120g, clarified, plus a little for greasing
Sugar, 1 tbsp
Baking powder, 3tsp
Salt, a pinch
To clarify the butter, slowly melt it on a low heat being careful not to allow it to boil.
When fully melted, set this aside and allow the fats to separate and the buttermilk to sink to the bottom. Carefully pour the clarified butter that sits on the top into a separate container.
Weigh out the dry ingredients and set aside.
Lightly whisk the eggs until frothy, then gradually add the milk.
Sieve in all of the dry ingredients and whisk together until smooth.
To make the pumpkin purée
Boil the pumpkin flesh in lightly salted water until tender, strain and set aside.
Meanwhile, roast the pepper with the garlic at 170c in the oven until soft. When soft place the pepper and garlic in a blender along with the pumpkin, garam masala powder and clarified butter and blend until smooth.
To make the waffles
Add the clarified butter slowly whilst whisking, and finally gently stir in the spiced pumpkin puree.
To cook, pre-heat the waffle iron on setting 4.5 (can also be cooked in a non-stick pan on a low heat if you don’t have one).
Grease the waffle iron with a little clarified butter or vegetable oil, and pour in a thin layer of batter. Cook until the waffle iron beeps or the waffles are golden brown and just cooked through. Perfect served hot, with chilli infused maple syrup and fried chicken.
Smashing Pumpkin Fizz by Mauro Frisulli – Bar Manager of House 21, Home House, London
Ketel One Vodka, 35ml
Xante Pear Cognac Liqueur, 12.5ml
Pumpkin syrup, 10ml
Pumpkin purée, 25ml
Pumpkin spice, a pinch
Champagne, to top
Dried pear chip
Mix all of the ingredients together, except the champagne, with some crushed ice in a highball glass.
Next, top with champagne and garnish with the dried pear chip.
Orrechetti pasta, pumpkin, sage and Berkswell from Oblix, London
Pumpkin, 250g, for juicing
Green chilli, ¼
Pumpkin seeds, toasted
Berkswell cheese shavings
Orrechietti pasta (80g for a side portion)
Juice the pumpkin, ginger, green chilli through a vegetable juicer. Do not strain.
Blanche the pasta in boiling salted water for 12 minutes. Refresh in cold water.
Dice the pumpkin into ¾cm dice and blanche in boiling salted water until tender.
Toast the pumpkin seeds off until golden using a small amount of olive oil and salt.
Place 3tbsp of brown butter in a saucepan along with 100g of Orrechietti pasta. Once the pasta is hot and coated in the butter add the Pumpkin dice and seeds. Add the Pumpkin juice, once the juice has emulsified with the brown butter it will thicken, if the Pumpkin and brown butter sauce is not quite thick enough add a knob of butter until it reaches the correct consistency.
Finish the pasta with the chopped parsley, sage and shavings of Berkswell cheese.
Finally add a few leaves of deep fried sage leaves and grated lemon zest.