At the moment the fields around where we live in the Campo are full of Pumpkins, ready for Halloween. They are still a bit small because of the lack of rain, but hopefully by October, there will be plenty at the markets for purchasing.

If you have children in your family, you will probably be spending time scooping out the insides of the Pumpkin and carving a face on the front, but what to do with the flesh? Apart from the obvious Pumpkin Pie and soup (recipes below), there are many recipes to try so it isn’t wasted. Have you ever tried Pumpkin Cheese Cake for example and of course most foods can be put in a wrap? In fact, why not try something different by replacing your normal recipes with Pumpkin and see what a difference the flavour makes?
Buen Apetito

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Topping

½ cup butter
3 eggs
8oz cream cheese
15oz of pumpkin flesh
10oz broken biscuits (digestives are best)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp salt
1 bar of chocolate to melt
¼ cup butter
48 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges. Lightly grease foil. Set pan aside. In a large bowl, cut ½ cup butter into biscuit mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cream cheese. Beat mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla and salt. Pour pumpkin mixture in the baking tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until mixture is slightly puffed around edges and just set in centre. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Melt chocolate and pour over the top once cool and decorate with pecan halves.

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet short crust pastry
450g pumpkin flesh
2 large eggs and 1 extra yolk
75g soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
275 ml double cream

Steam the pumpkin and then press though a coarse sieve. Lightly whisk the eggs and the extra yolk in a large bowl. Place the sugar, cream and spices in a pan, bring to simmering point and whisk together. Pour over the eggs and whisk again. Add the pumpkin pulp and whisk again finally pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake on a 180º oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve chilled.

Pumpkin Soup

25g butter
700g pumpkin
2 medium onions
1.1 litre chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 medium orange

Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the peeled and chopped carrots and onions. Cook gently until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then sieve or blend. Finely grate the orange rind and add to the soup. Squeeze the juice from the orange and add to the soup. Gently reheat the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Pumpkin Pecan Wraps

8 wraps
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans
butter (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 375º. Spread some pumpkin puree on one side of each wrap, then sprinkle some brown sugar and pecans on top of the puree. Roll from the bottom of the triangle to the point. Place them on the cooking sheet and cook in the oven for 12-13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter (optional). Serve warm. Note: the amount of pumpkin, brown sugar and pecans can be increased or decreased per roll depending on your taste.

Pumpkin and Bean Casserole

2 tsp olive oil
I onion
2 cloves of garlic
small knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tin of red kidney beans,
1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
40g mushrooms,
750ml water
ground black pepper
salt reduced soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds, to serve
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add the garlic and the ginger and sauté for another minute. Add the pumpkin, the beans, mushrooms, and water and season with pepper and soy sauce. Leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with brown rice.