If I had to think Sweet Recipes and Pumpkin, the first thing that comes to mind is America. The Pumpkin Pie! Or as they called it Pumpion Pie and Pompkin Pudding. Recipes date back to the 1670s. Milk, cream, sugar, molasses, eggs, nutmeg and ginger…. Who had the best recipe?
As in all cultures, what you are used to, or brings back the fondest of memories is the best recipe. I have never made nor tasted a true pumpkin pie. So I cannot decide which recipe is best. And I have nothing to compare it to. I look forward to discovering this ‘All-American’ recipe when the time is right. I imagine it to be a cross between a lush cheesecake and a tart…. We'll see.
So, while respecting the American classic, I ventured into my world of cooking. And working on my pumpkin article, I now had to produce 3 sweet dishes. With Brigitte’s birthday falling at this time on, and aware of her love for pannacotta, I merged the two tasks: food for the article, and a treat for her… Chocolate, sweet pumpkin and dark chocolate brownie pannacotta! I would please the small party and have enough for my photo-shoot. With that sorted, I could then fulfill my love for baking. A bread and some cupcakes.
I still had a poached pear, half a carrot and about 75 grams of raisins left from a previous shoot. Waste is not my middle name, so with the excuse of recycling, I made up this cupcake mix, that later turned out to be truly sensational. A cream cheese and with passion fruit frosting, and as they say… it was the bee’s knees.
And, with the oven on, a bread! A small loaf of pumpkin and walnut bread and all my efforts of staying up till midnight would be rewarded after the shoot the next morning.
Amazed at the deep colour and the sweetness of the pumpkin, I'd made a mental note to reduce the sugar ratio in my recipes. And thank goodness I had. It almost tasted as if I'd added honey into my mix before cooking it.
To save myself some time, I had cooked it earlier in the day, and had to stop Olga and Jane from ‘sampling’ it. It’s so sweet they kept saying, did you add honey? Where did you get this? I wrapped it up, and hid it! My half-kilo vegetable had become a 300g bounty!
I must say, some good quality pumpkin, makes a mean base for baking! It has a deep flavour, gives moisture to bakes, is sweet, gives a deep colour and is versatile; besides which it provides good nutritional value.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tbsp of cold water. Heat the milk, cream, cooked pumpkin and cocoa together until just starting to simmer. In a liquidizer, blitz everything togehter until very fine. Pass through a sieve and return to the stove, add the sugar and mix and, once more bring to just under simmering point. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin. Stir well, and leave to cool. Pour into individual moulds and leave in fridge to set. For a garnish, caramelize a few strips of cooked pumpkin, and cool. Crumble a double chocolate cupcake on top of the pannacotta and a chunk of pumpkin.