Search Results for: Pumpkin

Mini Orange Cakes for Bonfire Night

Remember remember the 5th of November………..


Well, tonight is officially bonfire night in the UK, although the majority of bonfires were probably over the weeekend, there will still be quite a few going on tonight. 
I’ve made up a cute little treat for bonfire night, and best of all they can actually be cooked right in the bonfire! I had made these look like little “carved pumpkins” for Halloween, but wasn’t able to get this post up before then, but ultimately they’re best for bonfire night.
I’d first mentioned these cakes way back in the spring when I made some similar mini cakes baked in Easter eggs. I’d gotten the idea for my Easter egg cakes way back when I was a kid in Girl Guides. We’d all gather around the camp fire and hollow out our oranges before our guide leader came by to pour the cake batter into them. We’d then wrap them in foil and place them in the fire and wait patiently for them to cook before sitting around our toasty warm campfire eating a nice warm little cake.
What fun!
What you’ll need:
– Some large oranges
– Cake batter of your choice – I just used ½ a boxed mix. Vanilla or chocolate will taste the best once combined with the flavour of the orange.
– Nutella or Icing of your choice (optional)
There isn’t really a recipe for these – they’re super easy. Simply cut the top part of a large orange off to create a little lid, and then set that part aside. Next you’ll need to hollow out your orange with a spoon. I used a knife to cut down the insides of my orange in order to help separate the flesh from the peel. Then use the spoon to scoop out the fleshy bit which you can eat. To get your orange really “clean and tidy” inside, use the sharp edge of a spoon to scrape away all the left over fleshy bits from the inside of the peel. I got my oranges perfectly cleaned out so that no fleshy remains were inside, but it really doesn’t matter that much. The less orangey bits left inside, the more room for cake! I also scooped the flesh out of the tops I cut off.
Next fill the cakes about 2/3 full with your prepared cake batter. Use any left over cake batter to make some regular cupcakes. Place the little orange tops back on the oranges and wrap them rightly in foil.
Carefully place the foil covered cakes around the outer edge of your bonfire, making sure that they are surrounded by hot coals, but still easily accessible because you’ll eventually need to get them out!
Alternatively you can cook these at 180ºC (350ºF) in the oven like I did (I couldn’t have a bonfire on the patio of my flat!). I set the foil covered oranges on a cupcake pan to prevent them from rolling around my oven.
The cakes took about 20 minutes to cook in my oven, and they should take about the same in the bonfire. You can check to see if they’re done baking the same way you would a normal cake, but just unwrapping them and sticking a toothpick in to see if it comes out clean.
Once they’re baked and cooled you can take a permanent black marker and draw little faces on them like I did. If you wish, you can top them off with some icing or nutella, but they taste just as good plain.
Enjoy, and have a fabulous bonfire night!

Whoopie! It’s a Giveaway!

You may recall that I made my very first whoopie pie a few weeks ago when I tested a recipe for a new cook book that has yet to be released.  I was really impressed with how easy whoopie pies were to make, and wondered why the heck it took me so long to try them!   
Last week I made pumpkin pie, and I’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick ever since.  One of my favourite things to make with pumpkin are my pumpkin spice cupcakes, but this time I decided to forgo my “old faithfuls” in exchange for something new. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!  I’ve wanted to make these pumpkin whoopie pies for ages – long before I offered to test the chocolate and vanilla ones, but I just never got around to it.   
These whoopies are really delicious.  They’re a bit like carrot cake, but without all those little carroty bits.  Sandwich some cinnamon cream cheese filling in between them, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. 
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

1½ cups (190g) flour 
½ tsp salt 
½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp baking soda 
½ tsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
½ tsp ground ginger 
½ tsp ground cloves 
1 cup (220g) packed brown sugar 
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil 
¾ cup (165g) pumpkin puree 
1 egg 
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling 
½ cup (113g) Cream Cheese  
½ cup (113g) Butter, room temperature 
1½ cups Icing Sugar 
2 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp cinnamon  
Maple syrup or flavouring** (optional) 
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC), and lightly grease 2 baking sheets, or line with parchment paper. 
2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, vanilla and brown sugar together. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, and beat until well combined. Add in the flour mixture, and mix until combined.   
3. To form your whoopie pies, drop two teaspoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets.  Alternatively, you can pour your batter into a piping bag, and pipe 1½ inch circles onto your baking sheets Bake for 10 minutes. Cool. 
4. For the cream cheese filling, beat the butter and cream cheese together until well blended.  Add in the icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, and blend until light and fluffy.  If the icing isn’t stiff enough, add in a bit more icing sugar until it’s thick enough. **I tried several variations with my cream cheese filling.  I split the filling into thirds, and left 1/3 plain, 1/3 cinnamon, and 1/3 maple (I used McCormick brand Maple Flavouring from Canada).  I thought all 3 fillings, were delicious, but I’m a sucker for anything cinnamon, so preferred the cinnamon variation the best. 
5. Spoon or pipe the cream cheese filling onto the bottom of one of the whoopie pies before placing another one on top of the filling to create a small sandwich. Repeat until all of the whoopie pies are complete. 
There ya go.  Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!  Bet ya can’t eat just one! 
And now for the best part!!!


Since we’re almost half way through the first week of December, I’m assuming most of you have probably started your Christmas shopping by now.  I have.  And while I was out shopping a few weeks ago, I came across another one of these reusable nylon cupcake bags.  I’ve had this exact bag for ages, and I have to admit it’s great for popping into your purse and whipping out at a moments notice to carry home all of your purchases.  And because it’s Christmas, and because it’s the season for shopping – and giving, I’ve decided to give away this cute little bag.  To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what you’d put in the bag when you go shopping. Would it be a hat and scarf for mom? A DVD set for your boyfriend? Or toys for your kiddies? You can get extra entries by doing each of the following, and then leave a comment telling me which ones you’ve done.     
  • Become a Follower of Made With Pink using Google Friend Connect  
  • Become a Fan of Made With Pink on Facebook 
  • Follow me on Twitter, and Tweet the following message: I’ve just entered to win a Cupcake Fizbag from @Made_With_Pink  http://tiny.cc/h5fi3
Links to all of the above are in the right hand column.  Maximum of 4 entries per person.  Contest open residents world wide. The winning comment will be chosen at random.  
Contest closes at midnight (London, UK time) on Sunday December 12th.
Good Luck!

*** I Just wanted to remind everyone that you MUST leave a comment below in order to be entered into the prize draw, otherwise I have no way of keeping track of who tweeted, followed etc.  If you make a comment anonymously then please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. You should leave a separate comment for each of the 3 things listed above if you want to be entered more than once.  I will be using random.org to choose a number from all of the comments listed below in order to determine the winner. ***

Oh No. It’s That Strange Vegetable Pie Again!

I had originally intended to have this post ready for Canadian Thanksgiving way back in October, but I never got around to making my pumpkin pie. Until now. Coincidentally, just in time for American Thanksgiving. I had been wanting to make pumpkin pie for ages, which required numerous phone calls home to mom for the recipe since I’d never made it before. I’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick lately (you’ll see what I mean over the next week or so!), and I really wanted to make a pumpkin pie so I could introduce it to all my UK friends who’d never had it before. You see, pumpkin pie is a very typical fall / autumn dessert in North America, and is traditionally served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember my first autumn in the UK – I wanted to make a batch of my favourite pumpkin spice cupcakes, but I couldn’t find any canned pumpkin. It just doesn’t exist here unless you can get to one of the few places in London that carry imported American foods such as Whole Foods. But don’t worry – I have a solution for that!

When you mention pumpkin to people here in the UK, they tend to think of things like pumpkin risotto or pumpkin ravioli. You know, savoury things. Definitely not sweet things like pies, cakes, muffins, brownies or breads. I think we North Americans have a real knack for turning absolutely everything imaginable into some kind of sweet dessert or cake.

And as I mentioned in my post here the other day, I’ve found that most people in the UK don’t like overly sweet things. And because pumpkin pie isn’t too sweet, I’m pretty sure that people here in the UK would really like it if they got a chance to try it. But…. I didn’t know for sure, so I decided to turn my pumpkin pie into a pumpkin tart since a tart would have less pumpkin filling in it than the regular pie version. See…..

To make my pumpkin tart I cheated and used a pre-made pastry crust. I just couldn’t be bothered to make one from scratch. Why? Well, because I’d already spent a bunch of time making my own fresh pumpkin puree to use in my pie. I was going to use a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree (as shown in my picture below), but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go with a fresh puree. Making your own pumpkin puree definitely takes a bit of time, but it’s really easy to do – I’ll explain below. In addition to a pie crust and pumpkin puree, you’ll also need some evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and a few spices.

Oh, and make sure you don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! They make a fantastic little snack or garnish for your pie! 

Pumpkin Pie 

The following recipe is for a full 9″ pie. I’d recommend halving the recipe if you plan on making a tart like I did. I made the full recipe, and got the large rectangular tart above, 2 smaller individual heart tartlettes, and a 4″ round that was approx 2 inches deep.

2 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (recipe to follow) 

or the 5 following spices (but not both) 

1 ¾ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp salt

1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups (325g)  canned pumpkin (fresh pumpkin recipe to follow)
1 large can (370ml – approx 2 ½ small UK cans) undiluted evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (230ºC). In a large bowl mix the spices, salt and sugar together. Add in the eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk and beat until well mixed.

2. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch unbaked pie crust and at 425ºF (230ºC) for 15 minutes*, then reduce the heat to 350ºF (175ºC) and continue to bake for about 40* minutes until the edges are slightly puffed and a knife inserted into pie mixture comes out clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream.

*Because my tart wasn’t as deep as a regular pie, I baked mine for 10 minutes at 425ºF (230ºC), and then baked for a further 25-30 minutes at 350ºF (175ºC). 

Pumpkin Puree 

1 medium pumpkin – sugar pumpkins work well for this

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the “guts” and seeds (save the seeds to roast later – see recipe below). Place the pumpkin halves onto a baking sheet with the skin sides up and roast them in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and tender.

2. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes and then scoop out the pumpkin flesh into a large bowl. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the pumpkin until it’s nice and smooth.

3. Line a large strainer/colander with a clean fabric kitchen/tea towel, and place the whole thing in the since or in another bowl. Pour the pumpkin puree into the towel lined strainer and let it sit for 10 minutes to cool. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, gather the corners of the towel so the pumpkin sits in a little sack. Start twisting the towel so that the water from the pumpkin begins to come out from the bottom of the towel. A LOT OF WATER WILL COME OUT. Keep on twisting the towel and squeezing the pumpkin until most of the water has been removed from the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be more of a solid pack consistency which is a bit hard to describe, but it should have the same consistency as normal canned pumpkin – see my photo below.

**The pumpkin I used was a 5lb (2.25kg) pumpkin before I removed the insides. After roasting and pureeing the flesh I managed to squeeze out exactly 3 cups (750ml) of liquid from the pumpkin, which then left me with exactly 1 ½ cups  (325g) of fresh pumpkin puree – just enough for the pie! 

Pumpkin Pie Spice 

In North America they sell pre-mixed jars of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice is basically just a pre-made blend of the individual spices that are called for in a pumpkin pie. I make my own using the recipe below. I use it in a lot of different recipes, and it’s far easier than getting out a half dozen spice jars each time.

You’ll need:

An old empty spice jar, or other small container

3 Tbsp + 2 tsp Cinnamon
2 ¾ tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 ¾ tsp Ground Ginger
1 ½ tsp Ground Cloves

In a small bowl, whisk all of the spices together and transfer the blend into your old spice jar. Make sure you label your jar as “Pumpkin Spice” to avoid getting it mixed up with the other spices! That’s it. Simple! (Note: I don’t use All Spice in my Pumpkin Pie Spice, but I did use it in my pie). 

Candied Pumpkin Seeds 

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

3 Tbsp caster sugar (divided in half)
pinch of salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp melted butter

1. Preheat your oven to 300ºF (155ºC). Wash the pumpkin seeds in a strainer or colander so they’re clean and free of any “pumpkin guts”. Pat them dry using a paper towel and spread them on a greased pan. Place them in the oven for about 45 mins, stirring every 10-15 mins. They should be crisp and a very light golden colour when done.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1½ Tbsp sugar together with the salt and pumpkin pie spice – set aside. In a non-stick pan, melt the butter and the remaining 1½ Tbsp sugar together over medium high heat for a minute or two until the sugar and butter are melted together – make sure the heat isn’t too high so it doesn’t burn! Dump in your pumpkin seeds, and stir so they’re all coated with the butter & sugar mixture. Once they’re all coated, sprinkle the remaining sugar & spice mixture over the pumpkin seeds, and continue to stir them in the hot pan until the sugar has melted and coated all of the seeds. This should only take a minute or two. Spread them back on your greased pan that you used for roasting them, and allow to cook before eating.

There ya go! Homemade pumpkin pie! Easy to make, and you don’t need to go out and find canned pumpkin if you don’t want to.

Oh, and if you can’t find a fresh pumpkin you can make the same pumpkin pie recipe using

butternut squash instead, although you may need 2 or 3 to get enough squash puree.

Cupcakes for Bonfire Night

So I’m conscious that I often blog about the differences between baking in North America and the UK, and now that we’re entering the holiday season I can tell you right now I’m going to do it even more.  After growing up in Canada, and experiencing over 25 Thanksgivings, Halloweens, Christimas’ and other holidays I can’t help but compare my Canadian heritage & holiday traditions with my newly found UK ones.  I’ll elaborate more on the differences in the coming weeks when I start to do my Christmas baking, but for now I’m still getting over Halloween.  As I’ve mentioned before, Halloween is considered to be a fairly recent “holiday” here in the UK, and trick or treating and pumpkin carving are increasing in popularity every year.  Back when I was much younger I remember someone telling me that Halloween was a North American holiday and that they celebrated something called Guy Fawkes Day (aka Bonfire Night) in the UK, and instead of trick or treating they held bonfires across the country.  To be honest, I thought that going to a bonfire instead of trick or treating sounded a bit lame.  But c’mon – when your 12 years old a lot of things sound a bit lame.  Even if it really is super cool, and you just don’t want to admit it. 
For those of you who don’t know the story behind Bonfire Night (which is probably most people living outside the UK), it all comes down to a foiled attempt by a man called Guy Fawkes who tried to overthrow the King of England by blowing up the London Houses of Parliament way back on November 5th 1605. (I’d suggest watching the movie V for Vendetta, to learn more about Guy Fawkes and the Gun Powder Plot).  Shortly after the incident the public began to make their own “Guys” using old clothes, crumpled paper and straw.  The Guy was then thrown on top of a bonfire to burn, and fireworks were set off while the public celebrated the foiled gun powder plot.   
 Photo courtesy of Brockham Bonfire
Fast forward 405 years and Bonfire Night is still going strong.  It’s also quickly becoming one of my favourite UK traditions.  The first year I moved here my husband and I had no idea what Bonfire Night was, so we just stayed at home like an old married couple wondering why all the fireworks were going off.  Last year we were fortunate enough to be informed about Bonfire Night, and which bonfires were the best ones to go to.  It turned out the the bonfire with the largest and most expensive fireworks show in all of the UK was pretty close to where we live.  We had no idea what to expect, except that we should dress warmly and arrive super early in order to get one of the coveted 200 parking lot spaces.  Each year the Brockham Bonfire attracts close to 25,000 people, so 200 parking spaces to share amongst the crowd is a little insufficient.  But hey, that’s part of the charm of the whole event.  It takes place in a tiny little village green that’s not much bigger than a skating rink.  Well that night were absolutely amazed with what we saw and vowed to go back again the next year. 
And that’s exactly what we did!  This past Saturday (November 6th to be exact) we went back to the Brockham Bonfire and we were not disappointed. We arrived at 4:30 in order to get that all important parking spot (there’s no parking on the road, so many people walk for miles along dark single lane back roads to get there). There’s not a whole lot to do before the bonfire and fireworks get under way at 7:45, but they do sell food like BBQ’d hamburgers, hot dogs, freshly roast pig, etc. At about 6:30 a procession starts with some of the local people dressing up in traditional costumes.  The people carry flaming torches and pull the giant “Guy” in a wagon throughout the village for nearly an hour while a marching band plays.  As the procession returns to the starting point, even more people join in and everyone is given a flaming torch.  They circle around the bonfire pile and wait for the giant Guy Fawkes to be hoisted up on top of the bonfire.  There’s something eerily creepy about hundreds of people approaching you with flaming torches!  It’s like your actually in an old fashioned horror movie.  Once the all clear is given, everyone throws their flaming torch onto the bonfire pile and it quickly goes up in flames.  The Guy is stuffed with fire crackers, so once the flames reach the top hundreds of loud pops and bangs start to go off. These firecrackers signal the start of the fireworks, and we witnessed one of the most amazing fire works shows we’ve ever seen. 
 
I think the thing that makes bonfire night so special for me, is that back in North America there would be no way in hell hundreds of people would be allowed to parade through town with flaming torches before lighting fire to a 30 foot bonfire pile. The whole Bonfire Night tradition is a very civilized family event.  Everyone joins in, and the same families have been helping to build and put on the bonfire and firework shows for generations.  
So in honor of Bonfire Night I made some special cupcakes to celebrate.  These are super easy, and you only need a few things to make them. 
Bonfire Night Cupcakes

Cupcakes of your choice 
White icing 
Black, red & orange food colouring 
Pretzel Sticks* or chocolate sticks 
Pop Rocks 
 
1. Start out by dividing your white icing into 3 bowls.  Tint one bowl grey, one red, and the last one orange.  Cover the top of your cupcake in grey icing (it doesn’t have to be smooth) this will be the “ashes” on your cupcake. 

2. Gently combine the orange and red icing into one bowl so that it’s slightly swirled together. Make sure not to mix the icing together too much – you don’t want the colours to totally blend together.  Spoon the red & orange icing mixture onto the center of your cupcake, making sure to build the icing up into a little peak. These are the bonfire flames. Now sprinkle on some red & orange pop rocks over top of the icing flame, and you’re almost done. 
3. Finally, take some pretzel sticks and lay each one over the icing flame to create a bonfire pyramid.  That’s it!  You’re done.  Told you they were easy!  Not only are these a really great tradition to make on Bonfire Night, but the addition of pop rocks even makes the cupcakes sound like they’re really popping and burning! 
*Note: They don’t normally sell pretzel sticks in the UK, but I’ve been able to find them in the local Polish shops (along with Cheetos brand cheezies – oh yeah!). If you can’t find pretzel sticks, don’t worry.  There’s lots of other things you can use to look like sticks or logs such as Twiglets, Mikados, Matchmakers, etc.  
These cupcakes are really cute, and are perfect for kids to make each year as a Bonfire Night treat. Since I’ve only lived in the UK for just 2.5 years I’m not aware of any other traditional Bonfire Night treats, but I’m sure there are lots.  Do you have any favourites?

Sticky Caramel Apples

I don’t know when the last time I had a caramel apple was.  A rough guess would probably be over 20 years ago, but for some reason I really got the urge to make a batch this year.  Halloween is quickly approaching which signals the start of the holiday season for me.  It also means that I get to look back on nearly 30 years of Canadian holiday traditions – most of which I don’t get to see here in the UK.

Halloween is a relatively new thing over here, and it’s for kids only.  No crazy adult parties with everyone decked out in costumes, no one really carves a pumpkin or decorates their yards to look like graveyards, and worst of all there are no traditional home baked Halloween treats!  Kids are just beginning to trick or treat which means that the adults who own the doors these kids are knocking on probably aren’t aware that Halloween is making it’s way “across the pond.” 
Over the next few months my blog will be filled with traditional Holiday treats, including some UK ones I’ve grown to love since moving here 2 years ago.  

Anyway, back to the apples!  For North Americans (more for Americans I’d say) caramel apples are a pretty traditional snack around Halloween.  They come in every size and flavour imaginable, and have become pretty trendy lately with specialty stores selling nothing but gourmet caramel apples covered in everything from drizzled chocolate to crushed oreos and gummy bears.  I decided to keep it simple and used finely crushed oreo crumbs and some cute milk and white chocolate stars.

 

Making caramel apples is fairly easy, all you’ll need is some caramels, a small amount of heavy cream, candy to decorate and of course some apples! 

I’m not sure if they sell chewy caramels like this in the UK.  I’ve never seen them, but to be honest I’ve never looked.  I have a feeling that Werther’s Original Chewy Toffee pieces would probably work though.  I bought my bag of Caramels way back in August when I went back to Canada – yeah, they were already selling Halloween candy back then! 

Try using different sizes of apples. I found some cute mini ones that would be good for kids. The one in the middle formed some bubbles in the caramel that look like creepy warts :-s

Caramel Apples

6 apples – I prefer tart ones like Granny Smiths
14oz (400g) chewy caramel pieces
2 Tbsp (30ml) heavy cream
6 popsicle sticks 

1. Start up by inserting a popsicle stick into each apple, and then place them in the freezer for 15 minutes (this helps the caramel set). 

2.  In large glass measuring cup, melt your caramel pieces in the microwave together with the heavy cream, and stir until smooth.  Try melting the caramels for 1 minute, and then 30 second intervals after that.   

3. Take your apples out of the freezer and dip them into the melted caramel using the popsicle stick as a handle.  Start by plunging each apple directly into the caramel, rotating it with the stick to help coat the apple evenly.   

4. Once covered, pull the apple out of the caramel and let the excess drip off.  If you’d like to put any “toppings” on your apple, now’s the time to do it.  Immediately after I take the apple out of the caramel I place it in the oreo crumbs and let it set.  The caramel will set quite quickly if you’re apples are cold, so you’ll also have to work quickly!  Make sure you set your apples on some kind of non stick surface like a greased plastic lid or a silicone baking mat so they don’t stick! That’s pretty much it!

You can eat these apples off the stick, but I prefer to cut mine up into sections and share it with someone else.  I find that they’re quite filling and there’s a lot of chewing involved, so I couldn’t eat a whole one.