Oh readers, I've been neglecting you so terribly, haven't I? Let's blame the baby. He's not arrived yet, but the little tyke is dreadfully distracting, I assure you.
This post was going to be called 'Pastry is a bloody bitch and I fucking hate it', but I figured that wouldn't work so well for google searches. None the less, pastry is a bloody bitch, and I do fucking hate it.
I think every cook has has a dish which will always elude them. I know I have several. But pastry is my ultimate nemesis. It just never works the way I want it to. I've tried so many recipes and so many techniques, yet on every attempt it shrinks and shrivels away from the edge of the tin. Or swells up at the bottom. Or burns around the top. Or if I allow for extra around the edge, and attempt a post-bake trim, it cracks and ends up having to be stuck back together.
With most things that are this consistently infuriating, you walk away, but the problem with pastry is that it's also delicious. And it acts as an edible receptacle for other delicious stuff. So it's become a bit like a cheating lover, who I can't stop myself returning to, time and time again, no matter how much it hurts. Hence this pie.
Like most households in Britain last week, we found ourselves with a load of pumpkin innards, having turned the outards into a ghoulish face (a ghoulish face which we then hid in our dining room, so that no actual Trick or Treaters saw it through the window and assumed we might want to give them some of our chocolate). I was loath to throw it away, so decided to make it into a pumpkin pie; something I've never actually had before. It was nice. Like a slightly vegetal custard tart. And we all know that puddings with fruit and veg in are basically calorie free.
Did I, on this occasion, find a new magical method which made perfect pastry? Did I fuck. I got it out of a packet and it still went to shit, but I chose to photograph the one slice where you can't tell. CUNNING.
Clearly I don’t know how to make the pastry, so let’s assume you’ve got an 8”ish shortcrust tart shell, blind baked. We don’t need to talk about how you got to that point.
500g pumpkin flesh
100g soft brown sugar
150ml double cream
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground ginger
Boil your pumpkin until soft, then puree. Allow to cool slightly and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Transfer to the tart case and bake for about 40 minutes, until the filling has set, but is still fairly bouncy. Serve with ice cream.