Seasonal eating in practice
Autumn is an awesome time to eat. As our loyal readers will already know, last week we took a step back and did a little study on what was in season – something we are hoping to add to our recurring posts here on Ginseng & Thyme at every change of season. What a plentiful time Autumn is. But, we must say it was all well and good droning on about chestnuts and blackberries, but if we weren’t going to put it into practice, then the entire thing would become redundant. So here we are, feeling cosy and cooking up a dish that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy… and that’s a promise.
What’s Autumn without a nod to the most significant October ingredients of them all? Pumpkin pie, with a toasted marshmallow top. A dish that is indicative of so many things; Canadian/American Thanksgiving, Halloween, and even Guy Faulks night, with the inclusion of marshmallow bringing up memories of sticky fingers around bonfires. Serve this at tea-time or after something hearty like a Sunday roast or stew. This is one of the most autumnal plates we ever did see, and if you really need convincing, the spices (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon) taste like crisp mornings and beloved PSL’s – that’s pumpkin spiced lattes to those of you who don’t know, the beverage us basic bitches wait patiently for all year.
We must admit that on the blog recently recipes haven’t been our main focus; life has admittedly got in the way a little for both of us. But we are back with a vengeance and bags of inspiration to tackle the next few months. With autumn/winter being both of our favourite times of the year, it is safe to say we have some pretty exciting stuff in the pipeline for G&T. We hope that this recipe makes up for the lack of yummy dishes (and you can look forward to another batch of recipes next week…)
As a little disclaimer about this week’s recipe: there is quite a lot to it. It has pastry and Italian meringue and requires specific equipment like a confectionary thermometer and blow torch. However, don’t let that put you off; feel free to use shop bought pastry if you don’t want to use our recipe from the Pastry Masterclass; we won’t judge you. BBC Good Food has a fantastic guide to Italian meringue here and as for the blow torch… just get one.
If you’re ready to dive into the seasonal spirit you could try your hand at our super-festive-homemade candle holders. Grocery stores will be filled with a plethora of pretty gourds (we’ve been through this already on last week’s post – keep up). There are so many varieties, shapes, colours and sizes and we both agree that they are attractive enough, in their very own unique, oddball sort of way, to stand on their own as decorations. Take some inspiration for your table from the USA and Thanksgiving centrepieces, or failing that a little Pinterest digging can give you lots of ideas. We got our hands on some small gourds and hollowed out a small crevice to fit a tall candle. They looked fabulous when lit and make any room cosy and inviting to say the very least.
Get back in that kitchen and cook up something heart-warming.
See you next Thursday,
Pumpkin pie with a toasted marshmallow top
350g sweet shortcrust pastry
150g caster sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground clove
Plain flour for dusting
2 medium eggs
25g melted butter
4 eggs whites
225g caster sugar
Roll out your pastry on a floured surface and transfer into a fluted tart tin. Blind bake with a sheet of greaseproof filled with rice, pasta or baking beans for 12 minutes at 180 degrees. Take out the weighted paper and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Chop the pumpkin into 3cm chunks and cover with water in a pan. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes until soft. Drain the water and allow to steam dry in the colander. Mash or pop into a blender and blitz into a smooth puree. Transfer to a bowl and add the spices, sugar, milk, eggs and melted butter and mix well.
Remove the pastry and turn up your oven to 220 degrees. Fill the pastry case with the pumpkin filling and level it off with a wooden spoon. Pop it back in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until it is springy to the touch. Allow to cool completely.
While it cools, make your Italian meringue for the marshmallow top. Whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks (the ones that won’t fall out the bowl when it is inverted upside down.) Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Once bubbling turn up the heat and boil furiously until it reaches 120 degrees (use a confectionary thermometer for this.) When the sugar has reached the optimum temperature, take off the heat and pour into the egg white in a steady stream while you whisk. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk until it has cooled down completely. It should be shiny and thick. Transfer meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm round nozzle. Pipe onto the cooled pumpkin pie and finish with a blow torch.