Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Freddie of GreatBigVegChallenge has now moved on to Pumpkins. Here is last years Pumpkin Harvest from my mum's allotment in the boot of my car! The crop this year is rather sorry in comparison given all the flooding. These were used as invitations for our Halloween party, with a large paper green leaf and green raffia tied to each stalk containing the invitation and saying "Please carve me and bring me to the party". I have to confess that other than for decorating, I am not a huge fan of pumpkin (although I do love butternut squash - I think it is the sweetness that makes the difference) so Freddie has my sympathies this week. Perhaps this means I should be joining in with his challenge!! My offering is therefore a sweet one which masks the flavour of pumpkin completely (perhaps I am not playing by the rules here!) Hope you like them Freddie!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Preparation time 30 minutes, plus baking and cooling

115g/4oz caster sugar

115g/4oz margarine or butter

2 eggs

115g/4oz self raising flour

2 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt

100g/3 ½ oz tinned pumpkin puree

1 tsp ground allspice

30g/1oz shelled pistachio nuts

30g/1oz raisins

60g/2oz cream cheese

300g/10 ½ oz icing sugar

70g/2 ½ oz softened butter

2 tbsp milk

Red, yellow and green food colourings

Ready to roll icing to make the pumpkins

Cream the margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the yogurt and pumpkin puree. Blitz the raisins and pistachios in a food processor until they are finely chopped and add to the cake mix with the flour and ground allspice, stirring gently. Place cupcake cases in a muffin tin and place a spoonful of the cake mixture in each case. Place a small spoon of cream cheese into each cake case and then cover with remaining cake batter. Bake in a moderate oven (Aga roasting oven below the cold shelf/190C/375F/Gas Mark 5) for approximately 20 minutes until the cakes spring back when you press the tops. Whilst the cakes are cooling, mix the icing sugar, softened butter, milk and a few drops of green food colouring to make the grass for the pumpkin patch cupcakes. Pipe grass using a grass nozzle, or if you do not have one, create the same effect using a fork. Make pumpkins by colouring ready to roll icing orange and green. Make small spheres of the orange icing and flatten at the top and bottom with your fingers. Using a sharp knife make cuts around the side to form indents in the pumpkin. Make leaves to decorate the top and place one pumpkin on each cupcake.

David of BooktheCook, Alanna of Kitchen Parade Veggieventure and Amanda at FigsOlivesWine are also helping Freddie with recipes so pop by and have a look at their delicious offerings.


Figs Olives Wine said...

Hannah, I don't think this is a cop out at all! Pumpkin cheesecake is unbelievable - what a great idea!

Great big Veg Challenge said...

Freddie loves these cakes.
Beautiful and perfect for us to make for Halloween, I doubt whether they will look as professional as yours though. We will try

Thank you for joining in!

Gloria said...

Lovely cakes Hannah! xx Gloria

vida said...

Just made soup that has pumpkin but so much more and the pumpkin just disolves so you would not even notice it. I also did pumpkin biscotti yesterday that I saw another blogger do and I added some almonds and dried apricots and they are yummy. I must post both so you can see if you might change your mind! Vida x

Hannah said...

Thanks Amanda and Gloria - Charlotte I am sure that Freddie's cakes will look even more stunning - have you got a grass nozzel? I could post you one if you need one.

Thanks Vida - please do post those recipes as I would love to try them


Marie said...

What lovely and delicious looking treats! I love pumpkin in any way shape or form!