Making pumpkin pie is a tradition for GD and I for Samhain evening or halloween evening as is more recognised by the kids. G.D. likes the Mexican take on this celebration called ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ or the ‘Day of the Dead’ . It is a celebration of the ancestors as they were when they were alive on this earth. I love this celebration which is helping children and adults alike to not be scared of death, viewing it as much a part of life as being born and to enjoy remembering where we have come from and how we have been shaped. Halloween for us is neither a scary nor a sad thing. The festival of Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, it is rooted in age-old European traditions, originating with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. However in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1st a day to honor the saints, very quickly All Saints Day began to incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before November 1st was known as ‘All Hallows Eve’, which later became ‘Halloween’. Over time Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. All around the world today, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to celebrate the coming in of the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats. My window is dressed with day of the dead bunting and my pumpkins are carved, I am working on a memory board of photographs or writings about our family so the grandchildren will have connection to those who have gone before us The pumpkins my granddaughter carved up in Hertfordshire are actually gruesomely brilliant, looks like the larger pumpkin head is eating a little alien.
Okay so the recipe for pumpkin pie. Serves 8, uses a 23 cm / 9″ deep pie dish.
225g sweet or shortcrust pastry.
2 large eggs lightly beaten.
425g can pumpkin puree.
pinch of salt.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
1/4 generous teaspoon ground cloves.
285g condensed milk.
If you find you only have evaporated milk in your cupboard like me, you can convert evaporated milk into condensed milk by adding sugar to it, for each cup of evaporated milk add 1 generous cup of sugar. Pour the mixture into a pan, stir while heating until the sugar completely dissolves. Let it cool. Heating evaporated milk is similar to the treatment condensed milk undergoes so it makes a good substitution.
Preheat oven to 220 c /Gas mark 7
Roll out the pastry to line a deep flan dish or tin or use to make 2 shallower pies.
Chill for 20 minutes and then bake blind for 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 180c/gas mark 4.
Meanwhile in a mixing bowl combine all the other ingredients together and when ready pour into the part baked pie shell.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or when the filling is just firm to touch or a knife comes out clean.
The cottage is all ready now for the fun to begin.
Happy Samhain everybody! xx