Yes, it's nearly Halloween, and El Diablo dog is disguising himself as a pumpkin to avoid the ghosts of past unholy collie-terrier unions. Wise werewolf.
Here in Essex, those of us who cannot afford a spray tan, take this seasonal opportunity to surround ourselves with as many pumpkins as possible for a reflected TOWIE orange glow. Nothing is more effective at scaring the undead. And so, to celebrate this joyous pumpkin-filled Hallowe'en, we've delved into Hannah's recipe "book" (a scary task in itself, see right), and as requested, the recipe for a family favourite:
1lb pumpkin (peeled and diced) , 2 oz butter/marg, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, large pinch nutmeg, 1lb flour (1/2 white, 1/2 wholemeal is best), 1 tsp. salt (optional), 2 tsps. sugar, 2 tbsps. warm water, 1 egg (beaten)
Peel and dice the pumpkin. Cover with water and cook for 20 minutes until tender then drain and mash with the butter, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Make sure it is smooth. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, warm water, egg and yeast.
Once the pumpkin mixture is lukewarm, combine all the ingredients and knead. The mixture can be quite wet at first. The best advice I've had is to start mixing and kneading with a spatula and give the flour time to absorb some of the liquid. If needed, gradually add extra flour a little at a time on your hands or in the bowl and knead in until you have a smooth dough.
Cover and leave for 10 minutes to prove in a warm place.
Punch down and divide the dough in two. Knead each half and place into two greased 1lb loaf tins. Cover the tins with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
Cook at 200oC for about 30 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when knocked on the base. (My favourite part of the bread process!)
Enjoy toasted with lashings of butter, Marmite or jam and try not to eat the two loaves before you get a chance to take a photo...ahem.
This year, mini pumpkins (munchkins) are available at Wiston Church, including the adorably named 'Wee Be Little'. It's worth a walk over to Wiston to enjoy the autumn colours and return home with pockets of pumpkins. They also act as excellent improvised "go fetch" balls if you are uncoordinated enough to drop them near annoyingly fast werewolves with vegetarian tendencies - a socially acceptable werewolf if ever I've met one.
Happy baking and Happy Halloween!