Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkin tart and cinder toffee for Halloween


I think my pumpkin carving skills are coming along nicely. There is a definite improvement from 2010 and I'm worlds away from 2009! Not only have I managed a bit of detail in Urchin's stripes, I have her surprise at mice escaping from her. At some stage I will post the video I based the pumpkin on - it's hilarious, the mouse bites her and runs away.


I'm so excited by pumpkins at the moment. As far as I am concerned they are the best thing about this time of year - little glowing beacons in the grey autumn weather. They don't really understand pumpkin in the UK, so you tend to only see watery orange carving pumpkins rather than the ones that are really good for eating. My favourite is the bluey green skinned kabocha, but I generally end up using butternut because it is much easier to come by!

Anyway, this delectable tart is from Joanne's blog. I used creme fraiche instead of almond milk for the custard, more gorgonzola (100g), brik pastry instead of phyllo (because that's what the supermarket sent me) and added a grating of nutmeg (because I am incapable of making anything cheesy without a grating of nutmeg). It was at its best hot from the oven; the following day the filling was better but the pastry had lost some of its crispness.


This cinder toffee left me as surprised as Urchin when confronted with a mouse. One of the girls at work is American and had been lamenting the lack of autumn-themed candy and so forth in the shops here, so I thought I would make something for the office that was all about the season. I found this recipe on Not Quite Nigella for a spiced maple brittle that I thought sounded just the ticket. My only change was to use pecans instead of almonds. But rather than forming the thin, crisp sheets of brittle like the picture showed, the bicarb frothed it up into an airy honeycomb and it set like that. It wasn't a problem, but it was a surprise!

Unfortunately it was so sweet that even the most hardened dessert eaters at work were a bit scared of it and were defeated by a single chunk, so I have quite a lot leftover. I have a strategy for those leftovers, which may be blogged about in the future, depending on how well it goes.

You may have noticed that I have buttons in the sidebar now for following me on twitter and facebook - I haven't quite got a handle on twitter yet, but I am sure my every utterance will be fascinating and worth following.

15 comments:

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I love that pumpkin carving! Happy Halloween.

Rachel said...

that's a gorgeous pumpkinized version of Urchin. And now pass some of that tart!

Joanne said...

Your pumpkin carving skills are AMAZING! Seriously...I've never been able to carve anything more creative than a badly shaped mouth and eyes. And that's on a good day.

I'm so glad you liked the quiche! I definitely agree that the flavor was better the next day, though the crust wasn't. Still good, though.

Foodycat said...

Leafy - thanks!

Rachel - you will love the tart.

Joanne - It's so delicious! I was wondering about adding an extra egg and making a frittata instead of using the crust?

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Oh my goodness- I can't believe you carved that! That's incredible! What did Urchin make of it?

Suelle said...

Great carving - I knew it was Urchin without you saying so! :-)

And the tart looks good too!

Foodycat said...

Kate - she takes her annual pumpkin tribute in her stride!

Sue - the tart was excellent! I'd use phyllo next time though.

tori said...

Oh my goodness- your pumpkin is extraordinary! Can't wait to see what happens to the praline (most desserts that go astray in my kitchen end up folded through ice cream in one way or another... the last one was a cheesecake that didn't turn out at all like I'd hoped- though we soon discovered cheesecake chunk chocolate ice cream is definitely a winner)

highplainsdrifters said...

definitely going to fire up the pumpkin tart. cheers!

Jude said...

Wonderful carving FC. I shared Urchin on Facebook! That leftover honeycomb would be great in ice cream or in Nigella's Ice Cream Cake.

Foodycat said...

Tori - I love cheesecake icecream! That's a great idea.

Steve - it's a good 'un

Jude - Weazel is opposed to icecream. I have another plan...

Mary said...

Your candy looks delicious. I'm glad it worked out for you. Your pumpkin, however, steals the show. It looks absolutely amazing. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Brain said...

Those are some impressive pumpkin-carving skills! Happy belated Halloween :)

C said...

I'm so impressed by your Urchin pumpkin carving - very skillful!

Love the look of that pumpkin tart, perfect for the time of year.

Foodycat said...

Mary - thank you!

Steve - it's a must for the blue cheese lover!

C - pumpkin carving tools are half price at Waitrose, you can prepare for next year!

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