On Autumn and Squash

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Autumn leaves in East Dulwich

I feel I have to warn you that this is yet another post about butternut squash.  I understand if you want to stop reading right now.  I also feel that I should state an additional caveat: this probably won’t be the last one this year.

I am, as you may have already figured out, addicted to squash.  The big orange pumpkin-like ones, the reddish-brown cricket ball ones, the green ones that look a bit like marrows, and the humble butternut.  Few things signal the arrival of autumn than the sight of these piled up in baskets at the farmers market, still caked in a little bit of mud.

I think my love of them came from my years of vegetarianism, when they were in just about every dish I ate.  I remember the first time I tried one, however, I was not too impressed.  My mother, who cooked swede with Sunday lunch since the beginning of time (and still does!) brought one home from the supermarket ‘for a change’.  After eyeing it suspiciously for a while, she peeled and de-seeded it, cut it up, boiled it and mashed it with a little butter and some black pepper – eactly as she did with the swede.  Needless to say I was not fussed, however that was before I discovered that you could puree it into soup, roast it with allspice and even turn it into dessert.  Now I could never be without it.

Now it seems to be making its way into my cooking with some regularity.  This week I made two dishes of butternut squash, although one was to use up the leftovers of the other.  First, I made a warm salad of butternut squash, lentils, walnuts and feta, all roasted up with a bit of curry powder.  This was concocted simply because I had a lot of lentils and walnuts – my cooking really is inspired by little more than what I happen to have in the kitchen at any particular time.  As this did not use up all of the squash and feta I bought, the leftovers made their way into a simple galette, which was sliced up for lunchboxes.

Somewhere between both of these, I started making plans for a butternut squash curry.  I think I need to branch out a bit more.

Warm butternut squash and lentil salad with feta and walnuts

Warm butternut squash and lentil salad with feta and walnuts

Warm Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad with Feta and Walnuts

½ large butternut squash (you will use the other half in the other recipe), peeled and cut into 1inch pieces
1 large eschalion shallot, finely chopped
Olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
100g green lentils
125g chopped walnuts
100g feta, cut into small cubes
Handful chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200ºc.  In a bowl, toss together the squash, shallot, olive oil and curry powder until the squash pieces are coated.  Spread them out over a baking sheet and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.  Set aside to cool a little.  Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to packet instructions and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the warm squash, lentils, walnuts, feta, coriander and lime juice.  Check for seasoning before serving.

 

Butternut squash galette

Butternut squash galette

Butternut Squash Galette

For the pastry
175g plain flour
Pinch salt
100g cold butter, cut into cubes
50ml sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
50ml water
Beaten egg, for glazing

For the filling
½ large butternut squash
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
100g feta, cut into small cubes
Parmesan, to finish

To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl then rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Mix together the sour cream, lemon juice and water in a separate bowl, and gradually add enough of this mixture to bring together a soft dough.  Transfer the dough to a floured surface, shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour until needed.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºc.  In a bowl, toss together the squash, olive oil and salt until the squash pieces are coated.  Spread them out over a baking sheet and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.  Set aside to cool a little.

Heat some more oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onions over a low heat until they are very soft and translucent, but not browned.

When you are ready to roll out the pastry, transfer it to a floured surface and roll out to a 30cm circular shape.  Carefully pick up the pastry using a rolling pin and place it on a baking sheet (it may hang over the edges a little at this point, but this is OK.  If it overhangs by more than two inches, you will need a bigger baking sheet.)

In a large bowl, combine the squash, onion and feta and check the seasoning.  Spoon this mixture into the centre of the rolled pastry and spread out, leaving a two inch border around the edge.  Fold the excess pastry over the filling, leaving the middle open.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan.  Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes until the pastry is browned all over.  Serve in slices.

One Year Ago:  Brioche Burger Buns

Pastel de Nata

Pastel de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts

Pastel de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts

The first time I had a Portuguese custard tart, I was hooked.  This was some time ago and, unlike now, they were a rare find.  We use to trek all the way to the Lisboa Patisserie on the Goldborne Road and have one as a treat, and you can imagine how much of a mission that journey was from south-east London in the pre-Overground days.  I would buy one to have there and then, and one to keep me awake on the Hammersmith and City line as it trundled, painfully slowly, towards my connecting station.

Now, of course, times have changed and you can buy them in more or less every London neighbourhood.  The boom in street food markets has made them even more available, and now it seems that all of London is enraptured with the pastel de nata.  Londoners’ love affairs with certain baked goods are well-documented: we went nuts over the cupcake, briefly flirted with the cronut (or whatever you’re allowed to call them without infringing copyright) and now it seemed that this little treat from Lisbon is king.

I have heard that the best example of the pastel de nata can be found in its birthplace, more specifically in a bakery called the Fabrica de Pasteis de Belem.  Apparently, these tarts are so good, people go on pilgrimages for them.  With no trip to Portugal on the horizon, I instead decided to make my own.  I’ll be honest, these are not the easiest thing to make.  Flaky pastry is always a bit temperamental and requires a lot of time and care to get right.  The custard is relatively straightforward, but as with anything that combines hot milk, hot sugar and eggs, there is often a potential for it to go wrong.  You could, of course, use shop-bought pastry to save time and effort if you wish.  I have tried these tarts with both shop-bought puff pastry and the homemade flaky pastry in the recipe below; and, of course, the latter is better, but it also takes a considerable amount longer.

The recipe below is the most straightforward of those I’ve tried.  The key is to chill the pastry overnight, anything less and it will be difficult to work with.  If you have better skills than me, you could replace the pastry below with an all-butter puff.

Pastel de Nata

For the pastry
225g plain flour
¼ tsp sea salt
200ml water
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the custard
3 tbsp plain flour
310g whole milk
265g granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip lemon peel
1 strip orange peel
165ml water
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks

Start to make the pastry the night before you want to finish the tarts.  Combine the plain flour, salt and water in the bowl of a freestanding mixer.  Using the dough hook, mix until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 30 seconds.  Place the dough on a floured surface and pat into a six-inch square.  Cover with clingfilm and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough until it forms a large square – it should be about half a centimetre thick.  Take one-third of the butter and spread it across the left two-thirds of the dough, leaving a border of 1inch around the edges.  Neatly fold over the unbuttered part of the dough, then fold over the left third in an envelope fold.  Pinch the edges closed using your fingers.

Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the long edge is facing you.  Repeat the buttering and folding process again.  Pinch the edges closed using your fingers and turn the dough 90 degrees once more.

This time, roll the dough out into a rectangle with the shorter edge facing you.  Spread the butter over the whole surface, again leaving a border at the edges.  This time, roll the dough away from you in a tight log.  Cut the log into two halves, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.

To make the custard, whisk together the flour and 65ml of the milk in a large bowl and set aside.  Place the sugar, water, cinnamon, lemon peel and orange peel in a small saucepan and bring to the boil without stirring.  At the same time, scald the remaining milk in a separate saucepan.  Keep an eye on both.

Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.  Remove the cinnamon, lemon peel and orange peel from the saucepan and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the bowl, whisking constantly.  Add the vanilla and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before whisking in the egg yolks.

Preheat the oven to 250ºc and grease a 12-hole muffin pan.  Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin.  Using a large cutter, cut out circles of the pastry, removing a small section so that they can be pushed into the muffin tin without any excess.  This should look like a pie with a wedge missing or like ‘pac man’.  Push the pastry into the muffin tin and seal any gaps.  The pastry should reach the top of the hole.

Fill each cup ¾ full with the warm custard.  Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until the pastry has browned and the custard is puffed up and a little coloured on the top.  Allow to cool in the tin for half an hour and then transfer to a wire rack.

From the Band of Bakers Archive: Pecan, Chocolate and Rum Pie

Chocolate, pecan and rum pie from the Band of Bakers 'Baking with Beverages' event, April 2013

Chocolate, pecan and rum pie from the Band of Bakers ‘Baking with Beverages’ event, April 2013

This week marks the second birthday of our little south east London baking club, Band of Bakers.  Our first event was held on 2nd May 2012 in the wonderful little Nunhead cafe and deli Bambuni.  About 25 or so bakers had pledged their interest, although despite this we were worried that nobody would show up.  We breathed a bit more easily as a steady stream of bakers walked in off the street with their cake boxes, got themselves a glass of wine and began chatting to each other.  Band of Bakers was born.  Two years on we have grown beyond anything we could have expected – we have an enormous waiting list, a number of popular and oversubscribed events and have had the opportunity to work with some great people including Dan Lepard, Paul Hollywood and the excellent team from delicious. Magazine.  Most importantly, we have created a community in our little corner of London that reached beyond baking and into people’s everyday lives, forming friendships and support networks, both online and in real life.

I talk about Band of Bakers an awful lot as I am so proud of what Naomi and I have achieved.  Nobody has told me to shut up about it yet, although I expect one day they will.

I started thinking back over our many events and the enormous number of bakes I have had the opportunity to try, and what I liked the most.  It is really difficult to narrow it down from the many, many that have graced the Band of Bakers tables, but here are a few I particularly loved:

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake from the Band of Bakers 'Your Favourite Bake' event, May 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake from the Band of Bakers ‘Your Favourite Bake’ event, May 2012

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake by Charlie.  This caused quite a stir at our first event, not least because it turned up warm from the oven.  It is, quite literally, the most perfect cake on earth.  A gingery cake with a slightly coarse texture due to the use of spelt flour, topped with stems of tart rhubarb.  I have made it at least 100 times, and based both my fig, ginger and spelt cake and my orange, stem ginger and spelt cake on it. SO good.

Little Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes by Chloe.  My reaction to the first bite was “what f***ing genius made these?!”  Chloe brought these along to our Winter Warmers event back in November 2012 and I immediately wanted to eat a hundred of them.  Beautifully sticky spiced caked with a decadent toffee frosting.  No recipe to share, sadly, as the baker herself says that “it will be a miracle the day I write a recipe down, let alone a blog!

Blueberry and Almond Tart from the Band of Bakers 'Inherited Bakes' event, January 2014. Photo by Naomi Knill

Blueberry and Almond Tart from the Band of Bakers ‘Inherited Bakes’ event, January 2014. Photo by Naomi Knill

Blueberry and Almond Tart by Naomi.  This is Naomi’s mum’s recipe and one of my favourite things that she has ever baked (and I can tell you that there is stiff competition!)  A gorgeous tart of pastry with a frangipane filling, dotted with little jammy blueberries.  I took a slice home for Ollie and he was enamoured.

Black Pudding Scotch Eggs by Jon.  Jon can always be relied upon to bring something utterly decadent to the table and, luckily for me and sadly for the vegetarians, it is often of the carnivorous variety.  These black pudding scotch eggs were among the best scotch eggs I had ever tried. I’m pretty sure Ollie even managed two. Extra kudos for the yolk being soft. Amazing.

Pumpkin and chipotle bread from the Band of Bakers 'Autumn Harvest' event, October 2013

Pumpkin and chipotle bread from the Band of Bakers ‘Autumn Harvest’ event, October 2013

Pumpkin and Chipotle Bread by Lauren.  There are few bakers that do bread better than Lauren, especially bread of the sourdough variety, which she writes about frequently on her blog.  She also has a fascination with chilli, and the combination of the two always produce something delicious.  This bread was made for our Autumn Harvest event back in October 2013 and didn’t last long on the table.

There are so many more, but I fear that I would write the longest blog post on earth if I listed them all.

Having attended every event, I have baked many things for the Band of Bakers table, with varying degrees of success.  One of my favourite creations was a chocolate, pecan and rum pie that I made for the Baking with Beverages event back in April 2013.  This event was originally supposed to be called ‘Baking with Booze’, but we decided to widen it to include other beverages as we were expecting around 35 bakers in attendance.

The pie is based on a recipe by the excellent David Lebovitz and went down really well at the event.  It is basically your average pecan pie, perked up a little with some dark chocolate chips and a few shots of spiced dark rum, which turn it from a standard American dessert to a very grown-up treat indeed.  Of course, the rum is interchangeable with other alcohol, David Lebovitz’s version used bourbon, and I always thought Amaretto would work well – or you could leave it out altogether.  The most interesting thing about this recipe is that the pastry is not blind baked prior to the addition of the filling.  When I first read this, I was like Say Whaaaaa, but then I realised that the idea was to for the pastry and the filling to merge a little, rather than have separate textures as in the case with most other tarts.  I did try it with a blind baked case once, and it was nowhere near as good.

Sweet, nutty and boozy – what more could you want? Much better too if you make your own pastry, obvs.

Chocolate, Pecan and Rum Pie

For the pastry:

  • 175g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • 115g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g dark soft brown sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 30g melted butter
  • 2 shots (50ml) dark spiced rum
  • 200g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 150g dark chocolate chips

Start by making the pastry.  Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor, add the butter and pulse until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  With the motor running, add the egg and blitz until the mixture comes together in a smooth dough.  If the mixture is too dry, carefully add some cold water, a couple of drops at a time, until it comes together.  Press the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes, or until needed.

Once the pastry has chilled, remove it from the fridge, roll it out and use it to lie the inside of a pie dish or tart tin.  Crimp the edges if necessary and return to the fridge until ready to fill.

Preheat the oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas 5.

To make the filling, place the eggs, brown sugar, golden syrup, vanilla, salt, melted butter and rum in a large bowl and whisk by hand until smooth.  Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips and scrape the filling into the pie dish.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the tart has risen and has a slight wobble in the centre.  Let the pie cool completely before slicing.

Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

The weekend that the clocks go back to Greenwich Mean Time always feels like the final death knell of summer.  A balmy autumn can keep the spirits up for so long, but once it becomes dark at 6pm, winter is most definitely here.  This weekend, more than any so far this year, was especially turbulent, as we were all preparing for the impending storm of doom.  Of course, none of us knew that it was not going to be the epic storm of 1987 proportions, as we had all feared, and were all fearing the worst.  This may have explained the Mother Flipper queue at Brockley Market on Saturday – if there was a last meal to be had, well….

This weekend was also the birthday of my friend Adrienne, so we braved the blustery streets of East Dulwich to spend the afternoon drinking prosecco at The Bishop.  Every year, for Adrienne’s birthday, I make her either a key lime pie or a lemon meringue pie instead of a birthday cake as she prefers citrus desserts to birthday cake and these pies give her a link to her North American homeland.  I was relieved that this year she chose key lime pie as I have been having some serious issues with meringue pies lately.  Every time I make one, it comes out the oven looking like a piece of cloudy perfection only to collapse completely when I take it out of the tin, haemorrhaging liquid everywhere (where does the liquid come from? the eggs?).  A couple of years ago, Adrienne’s birthday lemon meringue pie was little more than slop, and I don’t think I could face that again.

Apparently if you add a layer of pulverised cake crumbs in between the filling and the meringue, it soaks up the liquid and stops this happening.  I have yet to try and need to practice!

A key lime pie is an American dessert and so named as the variety of limes traditionally used were called ‘key limes’ and originated from Florida.  The pie consists of three individual components, two of which vary greatly according to recipe.  I am told that the traditional base for a key lime pie is shortcrust pastry, although in recent years this has been substituted with the kind of biscuit base that you would find on a cheesecake.  Similarly, traditionalists claim that the original pies were topped with meringue, although many pies are now topped with whipped cream or, often, not topped at all.  The filling is the only consistent component – a thick custard flavoured with lime juice and zest – although some are set in the fridge and some baked in the oven.

My key lime pie has a chocolate shortcrust pastry, which almost recreates the flavour of those chocolate lime sweets we all remember from childhood.  Chocolate and lime are a seriously good combination.  The pie has a baked filling that contains only four ingredients: lime zest, lime juice, condensed milk and egg yolks and is topped with whipped Chantilly cream.  For decoration, there is drizzled dark chocolate and candied lime slices.   I added a little extra lime than I usually would in the hope that the sharpness would cut through the richness of the chocolate, and it worked.  The flavours compliment each other, rather than fighting for pole position.  It takes a long time to make: the pastry has to be chilled twice and the filling chilled in the fridge for several hours, but if you plan your time well, it need not take over your weekend.

Key Lime Pie

For the pastry:

  • 175g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 140g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks

For the filling:

  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1½ tbsp lime zest
  • 120ml lime juice

For the topping:

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1 lime, sliced horizontally into 5mm slices
  • 250g caster sugar

To make the pastry, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and icing sugar and pour into a food processor.  Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the food processor.  Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  With the motor running, add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing until the mixture comes together in a firm dough.  Turn out on to a floured surface, and gently knead for a few seconds.  Form the dough into a disc and wrap in clingfilm.  Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface and use to line a loose-bottom tart tin.  Gently push the pastry into each of the grooves, but do not trim the edges.  Return to the fridge and chill for a further 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºc / 400ºf / gas 6.  Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and bake blind in the oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºc / 300ºf / gas 2, remove the baking parchment and baking beans and bake the pastry case, uncovered, for a further five minutes.  The bottom of the pastry case should be dry and cooked through.  Trim the edges and allow to cool.

To make the filling, combine the condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice and lime zest in a large bowl.  Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon or balloon whisk until all of the ingredients are fully combined and smooth.  Scrape this mixture into the cooled pastry case – there should be a gap at the top, this is where the cream will sit – and bake at 170ºc / 325ºf / gas 3 for about 15-20 minutes.  The filling should be firm with a slight wobble in the centre.  Allow to cool completely at room temperature and then chill in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

For the cream topping, whisk together the whipping cream and icing sugar until thick, but not stiff.  Spread the cream over the cooled filling with a palette knife, filling to the top of the pastry case.  Return to the fridge to chill while you make the toppings.

Heat the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted.  Allow to cool to room temperature and scrape into a plastic piping bag.  Place the cooled pie on top of a large sheet of newspaper, snip a hole in the bottom of the piping bag and drizzled the chocolate back and forth across the pie.  Be sure to start and finish each of the lines on the newspaper, not on the pie, so you don’t end up with any blobs.  Return to the fridge to set the chocolate while you make the candied limes.

Place the lime slices in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.  Drain and repeat four times.  Combine the sugar and 250ml water in a separate saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Add the lime slices and cook over a low heat for around 40 minutes, until tender.  Use to decorate the pie.

Pumpkin, Part 1

Pumpkin Pie

In these dark few weeks of mid-October, when the transition from Indian summer to winter chill leaves us contemplating the bleak winter months ahead, we can at least be thankful for the abundance of autumnal food sent to keep us warm and well fed. Pumpkins, at the moment, are everywhere and, whilst the supermarkets are selling the great big orange globes best suited to carving, the markets and farm shops are selling an array of squashes and pumpkins from the lovely little cricket ball varieties to the ubiquitous butternuts.  The approach of Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving sends us all a bit pumpkin crazy – I even bought a Jack’o’Lantern-shaped cookie cutter last week – but it is a great time to make use of this vegetable in both sweet and savoury autumnal recipes.

Although pumpkin pie was eaten in England prior to the exploration of the Americas, it features in several cookbooks dating as far back as the 17th century, it is with American celebrations that we have come to associate it with.  It is eaten traditionally at Thanksgiving and Christmas and is now such an integral part of those celebrations that a number of different recipes exist for the traditional pie, regional variations and other ‘pumpkin spice’ items such as cookies and cakes, that replicate the flavour of the pie.  Pre-baked pie shells and canned pumpkin pie fillings are even available for the non-cook or time poor.

Most traditional pies follow the basic formula of a sweet Shortcrust case and a filling of puréed pumpkin and spices thickened with eggs and cream, all baked in the oven. The main variations come from the type of pumpkin used and the combination of spices. I first made pumpkin pie for some ex-pat Canadians a couple of years ago and have been working on the recipe ever since. Recently I have discovered that I prefer the flavour and texture of butternut squash in a pumpkin pie – it is less stringy in texture, so requires less preparation. Getting your pumpkin spice mix right takes a little bit of practice and trial-and-error until you find a combination that you like. The most common spices used are ginger, all spice, mixed spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, ginger and cardamom, and the best way to start is to make combinations of three or four spices in equal measures and adjust the ratios accordingly once you find a combination you like.  If you plan to make a number of pumpkin spiced items throughout the winter, make your spice mix in a large quantity  and store in an airtight jar – it should retain it’s potency for a good few months.

My own personal spice mix is: two parts cinnamon, one part mace, one part ginger, one part allspice, one part ground cloves.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

For the pastry:

  • 220g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp cold water (more if needed)

For the filling:

  • 565g pumkpin or squash (prepared weight)
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
  • 90g dark brown sugar
  • 3½ tsp pumpkin spice mix (see above)
  • 330ml double cream

To make the pastry, put the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.  If you do not have a food processor, rub the butter into the flour and sugar by hand until it reaches the same consistency.  Add the egg yolk and water and pulse or mix until the dough starts to come together.  Turn out on to a floured surface and work with your hands until it forms a smooth ball.  Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200ºc / 400ºf / gas 6.  Flour the inside of a loose-bottomed tart tin.

Once chilled, roll out the pastry and line the inside of the tart tin, gently pushing the pastry into the grooves.  Do not, at this point, trim the edges, instead allow them to hang over the edge of the tin – this will help to prevent the pastry from shrinking during cooking.  Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake blind in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the paper and beans and carefully trim the edges of the pastry case with a sharp knife.  Return the pastry to the oven for another 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and completely dry.

In the meantime, make the filling.  Cut the pumpkin into 1in pieces and cook in a steamer over boiling water until tender.  Puree the pumpkin in a blender or in a large bowl with a hand-blender.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and set these aside also.  In a large saucepan, heat the cream, sugar and spice mix in a pan, whisking occasionally, until it reaches simmering point.  Pour this mixture over the eggs, add the pumpkin puree and whisk together until smooth.  Pour the filling into the cooked pastry case and cook for around 40-45 minutes until risen with a slight wobble in the centre.  Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then remove and serve on a plate.