For me Sundays are all about working out, baking and spending time with the family. This weekend I wanted to try out some pumpkin recipes that had been sitting on my pinterest for a while, and so I decided to cook up a pumpkin themed afternoon tea for everyone.
MPK grew up in USA so loves all thing pumpkin, especially if they are sweet and covered with maple syrup and pecans.. ....needless to say he was excited. It seems to me that the pumpkin phenomenon is only just spreading to the UK and usually we eat pumpkin in savoury things not sweet.
The first issue I came up against was that all the recipes call for Pumpkin Pie Spice, something which we don't have readily available in the UK. So I asked google - What is in pumpkin pie spice.... first hit was a Betty Crocker recipe "DIY Pumpkin Spice: Your Must-Make Fall Ingredient". I was delighted to find I had all of the ingredients in the spice draw, so I was off to pumpkin paradise!
To make the spice you need - 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and taadaaa... smells like Christmas.
Next I looked at pumpkins - anyone else freaked out with what to do with it? How do you cut it? Why are they so big? I am always about ease in the kitchen so opted to buy tinned pumpkin. I used Authentic American Pumpkin which was readily available on Ocado. It is 100% pumpkin with no added nasties.
The first recipe I decided to make was Pumpkin Pie Bars by Minimalist Baker. You start by making a crisp and delicious base for the pumpkin mixture out of ground almonds, oats, coconut sugar, coconut oil and a dash of maple syrup. I just whacked it all in the Magimix and once it was crumbly pressed it into the base of a lined baking dish and into the over for 20 mins - So simple! The topping is a mix of pumpkin, coconut sugar, maple syrup, almond milk, pumpkin pie spice and cornstarch (I didn't have any of this so used arrowroot which worked perfectly). I also used slightly less sugar and maple syrup, just because I don't have a very sweet tooth, and again this worked great. I whooshed up the topping in the vitamix until it was smooth and poured it on top of the crispy pie base. Back into the over for 50mins and thats it. Once it was cool I sliced it into bars and decorated with some maple pecans I had left over from the day before.
TASTE REVIEW - This was an absolute HIT with the family especially with my grandma who thought it was delicious. I just served as is, but would work really well with some coconut cream, or cashew cream for a supper party.
Secondly I decided to make a Currant Pumpkin Bread again by Minimalist Baker. Now I love a fruit bread, a tea bread or a banana bread so I was excited to make this.
I was not disappointed - it was LUSH!! Super simple, one bowl recipe, where all the ingredients are mixed together and then just put in a loaf tin in the over for an hour. The only tricky bit was waiting for it too cool down enough to slice and devour. ... YUM.
I changed the recipe slightly, I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, I added in 1/4 cup cranberries too and instead of whole wheat flour I used a mix of ground almonds and Doves gluten free flour.
TASTE REVIEW - My favourite, and so warming and comforting. It had the same gooey deliciousness as banana bread, but with a wintery taste. This was also the favourite of my parents. I feel like this is going to be my breakfast tomorrow, slathered with almond butter.... ooo.... hurry up tomorrow!
Finally I made a Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola. Again MPK LOVES granola, and has a limit placed on the amount he is allowed to eat! This was the easiest of the recipes, and as soon as it came out of the oven I knew it was going to be a winner. A mix of oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans stirred through with coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree. I didn't stir it as it was cooking as I wanted it to be chunky.
TASTE REVIEW - again everybody loved this. It was so moreish, and I think it will be so yummy with almond milk, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries, or (and I shall be doing this later in the week) with stewed apples and coconut yogurt....I often shy away from granola as I find it to sweet, but this was just right, and more like a flapjack in texture than a crunchy granola.
So overall, the Pumpkin afternoon tea was a success, and I will definitely be making everything again. I love the earthy wholesomeness of pumpkin, and sense that the PK household will be having it on a fairly regular basis going forward!