Yesterday I spoke of baking pumpkin muffins and promised the recipe. Here it is, hopefully in time for some Hallowe'en partying this weekend. I like to offer iced cupcakes or muffins or decorated biscuits to Trick or Treaters instead of sweets - does that make me odd? It seems to go down well and I find it a more appealing alternative to the bags of tooth-rotting sweets that the kids come back with in their loot bags. (Most of which, in my home, don't get eaten - the thrill being in the hunter/gatherer phase.)
This recipe will make 12 good sized muffins (those are Lakeland muffin cases in the pic above, so probably about 2 inches deep - to give you an idea of size).
You will need:
7 oz (200g) peeled, deseeded and chunked pumpkin flesh
half Tablespoon oil (sunflower or other light oil)
10 oz (300g) plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg (I used large)
150 ml (5 fl oz) soured cream
50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) milk
5 oz (150g) soft brown sugar
2 oz (60g) butter, melted
:: This is the recipe I followed but, as an afterthought, felt the muffins would be extra nice with some fruit thrown in (raisins, sultanas, cranberries). A friend who works at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in Old Street also suggested the addition of ground cumin (which sounds delicious!).::
Assuming you already have your carved out pumpkin flesh, allow an hour for this recipe due to cooking time. Important to know this if, like me, you are prone to whipping up a batch of cupcakes in less than half an hour for hungry mouths.
So, let's start:
Preheat your oven to 190C /375 F/Gas 5 ready to roast your pumpkin flesh. Put in a baking dish, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. (Or put oil and pumpkin in a plastic bag and give it a shake to coat.) Roast for about 35 minutes (careful not to burn), remove, cool and mash with a fork.
Then turn your oven up to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Sift your flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. In another bowl lightly beat the egg, add the soured cream, milk, sugar, melted butter, mashed pumpkin and combine. (If adding raisins or sultanas and a half teaspoon of ground cumin, put those into this bowl with the other stuff.) Pour this in with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Prepare your muffin pan: either grease the wells or line with muffin cases. Spoon large dollops of the mixture into the cases or pan wells. (See below for tip.) Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
I then carried on and iced mine as my tasters were mostly female and under 10 years old but I thought they were nice eaten plain from the oven (I don't have a sweet tooth) and of course if you've added raisins, they'll also add sweetness.
For Hallowe'en, think about icing with orange glacé icing (icing sugar and water) and chocolate stars or with white chocolate and then pipe spider webs over the top.
~Not my best photo - the lighting was poor and the cakes wouldn't last until morning! ~
This recipe is adapted from Susannah Blake's in the book Baking Magic - 280 pages of incredibly tempting muffins, cupcakes, biscuits - both sweet and savoury - with irresistable photos.
Helpful tip - filling cake cases: When making cupcakes or muffins, I can't be bothered with the faff of spooning the mix into the cases (waaaay too messy and time consuming) - I use my ice cream scoop (like this one: Ice Cream Scoop) i.e. a squeezy one that delivers just the right amount of mix over to the cases without mess. I didn't realise they came in different sizes, mines about 5 cm diameter.