It’s that time of year where the nights are darker, the days are colder and we’re excited for our favourite holidays, especially Halloween!
At Merci Maman, we get so excited for pumpkin carving but we know there’s a scarier side to Halloween than our children’s fancy dress costumes. According to Unilever and the charity Hubbub, 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin are thrown out each year, that’s roughly 360 million portions of pumpkin pie! What a waste! So we’ve done some research on a couple of our favourite pumpkin recipes that will help you reduce your waste this Halloween.
A hearty, autumnal light dinner or lunch that is quick and easy!
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1kg pumpkin peeled, chopped into chunks (de-seed, wash the seeds and leave to the side)
700ml vegetable or chicken stock 150ml double cream
For the croutons
2 tbsp olive oil
4 slices wholemeal seeded bread
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped and onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
- Add 1kg pumpkin, cut into chunks, to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
- Pour 700ml vegetable or chicken stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
- Pour 150 ml double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then puree with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency, you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
- To make the croutons: cut 4 slices wholemeal seesed bread into small squares.
- Heat tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp.
- Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted.
- Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil if you want.
A traditional Thanksgiving dessert that is perfect for sharing!
Prep: 40 mins – 1 hr
Cook: 35 mins
2 pumpkins (about 2kg) peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
Flavourless vegetable oil or sunflower oil, for tossing
Plain flouring, for dusting
350g sweet shortcrust pastry( Jus-Rol, which is vegan)
100ml maple syrup
200g light brown soft sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
3 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cornflour
600ml oat, almond or soya milk
1tbsp icing sugar, for dusting.
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Toss the pumpkin (or squash) in a little oil on a baking tray. Roast until soft enough to squash with the back of a fork – this can take between 40 mins and 1 hr, depending on the type of pumpkin or squash you use. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Drape it over your rolling pin and lift into a 23cm fluted tart tin. Push the pastry into the corners of the tin using a scrap of excess pastry (you’re less likely to pierce the pastry this way than using a finger). Trim the excess pastry, leaving about 1cm hanging over the edge of the tin; it will shrink as it cooks. Chill for 20 mins.
- Increase the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the tart case with a sheet of baking parchment (scrunch it up first to make it more pliable), then fill with baking beans or dry rice. Bake for 15 mins until the sides look golden, then remove the parchment and filling. Bake for another 5-10 mins until the base looks biscuity and dry. Trim the edges with a small, serrated knife.
- Tip the roasted pumpkin (or squash), maple syrup, sugar, salt, spices, cornflour and milk into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a small pan and cook for 5 mins, stirring continuously, until thickened.
- Fill the tart case with the pumpkin filling, then return to the oven and lower the heat to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Bake for 30 mins until the filling is set when you wobble the tart tin. Cool for 20-25 mins. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm, or chill and serve within two days.
For more delicious recipes, head over to BBC Good Food.