So I realise its a while since I posted a recipe, basically life has taken over & after a fabulous week away in Morocco I have been trying to organise my life ready for the 3rd December, the big 'first day' of my career!
Rewind slightly to the 4th November and I was leaving a cold, wet, dreary England behind and boarding a rather cramped budget airline plane bound for Morocco! Now, I had a bit of a blonde moment... well two. Firstly, I didn't realise that it would take just over 4 hours to fly out, its quite a long way to Northern Africa (made seemingly longer on a budget airline). Secondly, for the week I thought we were an hour behind GMT ... apparently not.
I had an incredibly relaxing week, we started our stay just outside Marrakech staying at a beautiful riad with grounds littered with olive trees, Ibiza white sunbeds and a refreshing swimming pool. It was bliss (minus the odd irritating fly). We went into the Medina for a bit of shopping at the souks and I was overwhelmed by the smells, crowds of people, snake charmers, birds, market stall sellers & mopeds. It was a world away from our oasis and threw me straight back to my gap year travels! My bartering skills that I gained in South East Asia were put to good use in the souks. It was a bit like a scene out of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when Bill Nighey thinks he knows 'how the game is played' & walks away. He was unsuccessful. I however was. At the end of the day I was scrambling to get out of the chaos that was the Medina. After Marrakech, we headed for a few days on the coast, enjoying clear blue skies and the benefits of an all inclusive hotel; one of my favs being people watching the other guests... 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet' says it all really!
I was incredibly sad when it came to catching the flight home, the thought of leaving the sun and the heat was made even more depressing when the incoming passengers on our return flight got off dressed in full on winter gear! The only silver lining to flying home was the promise of a new chapter, guilt-free shopping for a working wardrobe...can't exactly turn up in my birthday suit and Christmas. I love Christmas mainly for the opportunity it brings to meet up with much missed friends, drink inordinate amounts of mulled wine and bake...a lot.
I feel the countdown to Christmas can only begin once Thanksgiving has passed ... might as well jump on the festive band wagon! So here is my British version of pumpkin pie, I've cheated and used butternut squash as it is far easier to get hold of and has a sweeter flesh, which means that you can avoid pouring a can of evapourated milk into your pie...there is a reason for America holding one of the highest obesity rates. I baked this last year for a girly dinner party & it went down a storm.
Serves 8 ish
depends on how super-sized you make your portions!
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C
Bake to perfection for 45 minutes
You will need the following:
(The one and only time I will say cheat...but totally worth it)
500g Pack of Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Pumpkin or Butternut squash...roughly 600-700g
2Tbsp Golden Syrup
1Tsp Ground Cinnamon
½Tsp Ground Nutmeg
75g Golden Caster Sugar
3 Eggs, beaten
200ml Double Cream
22cm loose bottom tart dish
Roll out your pastry to the thickness as a pound coin
or buy ready rolled #guilty
Flour your tin
Chop your butternut squash up into chunks, place on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and drizzle with the golden syrup & spices
Line your pastry with baking parchment, topped with rice or baking beans.
Alternatively prick the bottom of your pastry with a fork
Put the squash and pastry in the oven at 200°C
After 20 minutes remove the pastry and set aside & trim the edges.
Turn down the oven to 180°C & allow the squash to continue cooking for another 25 minutes
When cooked remove the squash, scoop out the flesh into a bowl, along with the excess syrup, eggs,
cream & sugar.
Blend with a food processor or food whizzer
Pour into the cooled pastry case
Place back into the oven & bake at 180°C for a further 45 minutes or until the filling has set. Check the pie at 20 minutes, if it is colouring too quickly, loosely place a sheet of tinfoil over the pie.
Dust with icing sugar
Serve with a scoop or two of ice cream