When I think of autumn, I think of imagine myself reading a book under a tree shedding its warm-coloured leaves, warm aromatic Chai tea, rich butternut soup and cinnamon.
Celebrating Halloween, Americans always make pumpkin EVERYTHING – from carved pumpkins for decorations, pumpkin pie, and they even have something called ‘pumpkin spice latte’ at many coffee shops.
Because I am a major cinnamon fan and because cinnamon reminds me of autumn, I thought to myself why not try something that is not so well-known in South Africa, like pumpkin pie?
As you probably have seen in all our grocery stores, we do not get pumpkin purée in tins. You have to make your own. Please don’t be discouraged (and lazy) – it is so simple to make your own pumpkin purée. The pumpkin I used was butternut, but you can use whichever pumpkin you prefer. In terms of size, it is just easier to work with butternut than boerpampoen and hubbard squash, for instance. You cook (simmer / steam) the pumpkin until soft and then you purée it in a food processor once it has cooled – et voilà, there you have pumpkin purée.
One of the latest trends in food is to use all the elements of the food that you are cooking with – the less wastage the better. For this recipe I have also incorporated all the elements of the butternut, including the skin and the seeds which were used as part of the garnish. There is no need to be scared to play around and experiment with the elements you would normally throw in the bin or your compost heap. The seeds were baked in the oven with a little salt and sunflower oil until lightly golden brown (please don’t over-bake or it will become very bitter). The skins were candied in a pot, dried out in the oven, cooled and then crushed into a powder by using a mortar & pestle. For this recipe I cooked the pumpkin with a third of an orange’s skin. With the rest of the orange I made segments and burnt the segments with a blowtorch. Oranges really work well with butternut.
To finish the pie off I made a ginger cream cheese that was also used as part of the garnish.
I am by no means an expert baker and it is not really my strong suit, but it was definitely worth the effort to make my own pie crust. It gives a very soft, crumbly crust that tastes like butter. If I can try it, so can you. 🙂
Please let me know if you would like the recipe of the pie crust?