Friday, 26 October 2012
Pumpkin soup? No, pumpkin and apple traybake
It's definitely that time of year again - there's a distinct chill in the air, it's getting dark earlier and the shops are filled with oranges, greens and blacks - offering you your opportunity to dress as a witch, wizard or goblin.
I love that pumpkins make much more of an appearance in the shops now, a short time spent in America as a child mean I have memories of those very traditional Halloween celebrations. There are photos of me and my sister, hand in hand in our nurse and cookie monster costumes. And no, you don't get to see them.
I've not tried my hand at pumpkin carving - I'm not entirely sure my knife skills are anywhere near good enough to create the kind of result that I want in my head. So, I'm going to stick with baking. I'd bought a pumpkin to roast and use for this recipe that I've been thinking bout for a while. My plan was to split and roast it, then scoop out the warm insides - but then... I found pumpkin puree in Waitrose! Hurrah! Quick and easy and now I can add pumpkin and ginger soup to next weekends cooking.
I'd a pumpkin traybakes with a cream cheese frosting on Pinterest. I wanted to make it slightly more British so decided to use an idea from an old Delia book and layer the sponge with raw, finely sliced Bramley apples. In the Delia book it's plums layered in flapjack mix but I wanted to try it with the pumpkin sponge. I was worried it would be too wet, so cooked it for an extra 10 minutes from what I thought, and then left it to cool in the hot tin.
Spiced apple and pumpkin tray bake
1 tin pumpkin puree - or 400g of cooked and blitzed pumpkin/ butternut squash
350g of Bramley apples (that's when weighed whole, before you skin and slice them)
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
225g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
275g caster sugar (if you wanted a more toffee-ish flavour, then use soft brown sugar)
350g self raising flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Grease and line a small roasting tin (I used the same one as in the Snickerdoodle blondies)
Roast the pumpkin for about 45 minutes in the oven, until its soft enough to spoon out - blitz this in a food processor if you have one, if not then mash it with a potato masher
Peel, core and finely slice the apples - if you want to do this ahead of time, toss them in some lemon juice to stop them from browning
Using a mixer - or strong arms, beat the butter and sugar together
Add in the eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of the flour each time
Add in the flour, ginger and baking powder
Beat in the pumpkin puree (this makes the mixture a beautiful colour, a soft orangey pink)
Spread half the batter into the tin, and cover with half the apple slices
Add the rest of the cake batter, smooth the top and then sprinkle the rest of the apple over
Sprinkle your sugar over the top and then put in the oven for 45 minutes
This is a beautifully soft sponge, the tartness of the apples cutting through the sweet, slightly moist cake. The top has a little crunch from the sugar - I might switch this out for a more granulated brown sugar to add some flavour as well as texture.
I've cut this into slices rather than squares, and that gives you 16, but you could easily make it into squares and double that.