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Making The Most Of Your Pumpkin

Kirsten Murray gives us ideas on how to be spooky AND sustainable when using pumpkins this Halloween season.

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Image Credit: Petr Kratochvil

With COVID putting a stop to trick or treating and all our other (greater than 6 people) Halloween party plans, one activity that the pandemic hasn’t managed to stop is pumpkin carving. After carving our masterpieces, my housemates and I decided to get our money’s worth with our pumpkins, saving the seeds and inner flesh for some tasty treats! Getting the flesh and the seeds out of the pumpkin is a rather messy job, but basically you want to scoop out all the innards and then sift through it to separate all the seeds. This is probably best done by hand so be prepared to get covered in pumpkin! Once you have your seeds and pumpkin flesh in separate containers, you’re good to go!

So without further ado here are the recipes to make Paprika Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and a Spiced Pumpkin Cake! Enjoy.

Paprika Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’d never made these before, but as something to snack on they are highly addictive. These are super easy and would be a perfect Halloween themed bar snack!

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic granules
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, rinse the seeds and then dry them off with a tea towel.
  2. Spread them out on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic granules and paprika. Give them a shake around.
  3. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, mixing them around every 5 minutes to make sure they are evenly covered in seasoning.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

I’d never baked with pumpkin before, but I highly recommend this pumpkin cake recipe, it technically contains one of your five a day and has a very similar vibe to a carrot cake!

Ingredients:
For the Cake:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2tsp allspice (you can add less or more depending on how strong you want it)
  • 240ml sunflower oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Pumpkin innards from 2 pumpkins (mine came to around 280g)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

How to Prep your Pumpkin:

  1. Place the pumpkin flesh in a sieve with a bowl underneath – you want to drain as much liquid out of the flesh before you bake with it. I’d recommend leaving the flesh for a day or so to drain as much liquid out as you can. When you come to bake with it, soak the remaining liquid up with some kitchen roll.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease your cake tin. I used a square glass pan dish but there was mixture left over so I also filled a smaller circular cake tin – basically I would say use what you have and just keep an eye on the baking time!
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice (you can also add ginger, nutmeg or ground cloves depending on what you have).
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the oil, brown and caster sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bit by bit and mix together thoroughly.
  6. Spread the batter into the cake tins (it should rise quite a bit so don’t fill it to the top or you will potentially have a very messy situation on your hands!). If you have extra left over you could fill another tin or some  cupcake cases. Make sure to keep an eye on the baking time.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes (as I mentioned before, baking time will vary depending on the size of your  tin so I would recommend checking it at 30 minutes by inserting a skewer in the centre. You’ll know the cake is baked when the skewer comes out clean!).
  8. Leave it to cool and make some icing!

For the Icing:

I always go pretty rogue when making buttercream icing, but this is when I get the best results! I find recipes always tell you to use way more than you need, or they have such high quantities of butter that all you can taste is butter so my best advice with buttercream, is start with the basics and then just roll with it!

  • 50g approx. butter
  • Icing Sugar (probably 250-300g)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Put the butter in a bowl and whisk it up (an electric whisk is best for this, but you can whisk by hand and give yourself an arm workout at the same time!)
  2. Once the butter is whisked and smoothed add around 100g of the icing sugar. Keep whisking until it combines with the butter and forms a thick mixture – this will probably take a few minutes.
  3. I then add a splash of milk to thin it out and give it another whisk. Then I add another 50-100g of icing sugar and whisk again.
  4. You should by now have something that resembles icing so you can add a few drops of vanilla extract to flavour it. I then just keep adding icing sugar bit by bit until you a) have enough and b) achieve your desired thickness and sweetness. Do this by adding a bit of whatever you think it needs more of- butter, icing sugar or milk. Keep trying it as you go! Also I find there is always more than it looks like there is so don’t get carried away!
  5. Spread it across the top of your cake(s) and finish with some grated chocolate! Enjoy!

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