When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween.
Have I mentioned just how madly in love with Hallowe’en, I am? Well, whether I have or haven’t, I’ll just mention it again.
I am superly crazily madly in love with Hallowe’en!
I love the weeks leading up to it too, when the stores are filled with all those silly masks and face paints and fake blood, and bags of peanuts, and variety packs of mini Cadbury’s chocolate bars, and bright orange pumpkins and spider webs hanging from the ceiling’s.
So there’s about two weeks to go and I thought it was time to do one of the best and most essential steps to engaging in Hallowe’en festivities.
Carving the pumpkin!
The carving of the Jack O Lantern is dated back to the pagan times when in Ireland (which is where Hallowe’en has it’s origin as a matter of fact!), people would carve out vegetables like turnip and swede, place a candle inside and put it on their windows on All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween night) to keep the wandering undead souls from their house. Some say it was to specifically ward away vampires ( so if any of you wouldn’t actually mind those Edward Cullen or Eric Northman types approaching your door on Hallowe’en night you might try forgoing placing a glowing pumpkin in the window!)
Anyway, so Carving a pumpkin is super easy. You just;
- cut an opening in the top.
- and then using a spoon carve out all the stringy, seedy membranes and put them in a bowl.
(*Tip; you can take out the seeds and put them on a roasting pan with a little olive oil and salt and roast them in a hot oven for 15 minutes or so. They are a delicious snack!)
- Then use the spoon again to carve out the flesh. This flesh can be turned into pumpkin Puree and used for all kinds of delicious festive recipes, one of which ill share with you further down the page!
- Then you can carve out any design or face you’d like on your pumpkin! People are getting more and more creative with designs these days and some pumpkin’s look absolutely amazing! If you’ve the time and patience you could have more than one pumpkin at your door and each could have a different face!
So here is my finished pumpkin! I think he looks pretty good!
And now for the best part! Using the pumpkin puree to make scrumptious muffins!
I decided to make Pumpkin Spice Muffins with a Maple Glaze and they turned out better than I even could have imagined. Even though they’re gluten-free, they are quite possibly the most delicious muffins I’ve ever baked!
So here is how I made them…
- Take the flesh of the pumpkin and place in a pan full of lightly salted boiling water.
- Let it cook until soft and then drain. Let it drain for a little while 10-15 minutes as the pumpkin soaks up a lot of water and could be rather wet.
- Then place the pumpkin in a blender and blend until smooth/pureed.
- Set aside until needed.
Now for the ingredients to make the yummy muffins!
- 2 cups of Gluten Free Flour blend *see below*
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup organic butter (or coconut oil for dairy free!)
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
- 2 organic eggs
- 2 tsps of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract
For the Glaze;
- ¼ cup Icing sugar
- 3 tbsps Maple Syrup
- Small drop of water
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F or 190 deg C.
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, gluten-free blend, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder and baking soda.
Add in the butter. It should be slightly cold, not too hard not too soft. Cut it into cubes and mix in with dry ingredients. I use my hands to crumble it together, until it’s worked into all the dry ingredients and it’s like sand.
In another bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, two eggs and vanilla extract together and then slowly pour into the dry mix.
Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together until a soft and creamy batter and without lumps.
Plop a spoonful of batter into each of the cupcake liners (about half way) and stck them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Making the glaze;
Mix the icing sugar, maple syrup and water together until thick but runny.
When the muffins have cooled, drizzle the glaze over them.
Serve them on a plate decorated with some dry autumn leaves for effect!
Eat and Enjoy!
Although these are delicious, try not to eat too many of them. Think of them as a treat for the weekend or for a Halloween dinner party! Because trust me once you have one, you’ll have a hard time stopping yourself from eating the whole tray!!
ELAA approved… for a treat 😉