Donal Skehan

Maple Glazed Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

This muffin recipe is incredibly easy to make. You basically combine wet and dry ingredients, spoon the batter into muffin cases and bake! You can make this same recipe without pumpkin puree and instead use milk. The tinned pumpkin purée is made by Libby’s and comes in 822g tins. Many good speciality food shops carry them at this time of year and they are perfect for seasonal baking. If you want to add more texture to the muffins add some of the nuts throughout the batter.

Makes 12
240g of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
200g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of all spice
80ml of sunflower oil
400g of pumpkin purée
2 large free range eggs

For the glaze:
90g of icing sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup
40g of walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Line a muffin tray with paper cases. Place the dry ingredients into bowl and make a well using the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter. Don’t over mix. Divide the mixture amongst the 12 paper cases and place the whole tray into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking the maple syrup and icing sugar together until you have a stiff yet runny mix. When the muffins have cooled completely on a wire wrack, drizzle with the maple syrup glaze and scatter over the nuts.

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Back Of The Pack Retro Recipes and Pumpkin Pie

It’s another pumpkin recipe this week, but while last week’s was a savoury offering, this week’s is all about sweetness and the kitsch factor! I love collecting old recipes and one of my absolute favourite cookbooks is one I robbed from my aunt, a compilation of recipes from the backs of American packets and tins. Half the book is made up of recipes that would make the Masterchef inside you cry a little, but hidden amongst them are true gems which are not to be sniffed at.

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Ginger and Cinnamon Spiced Pumkin Pie

The original recipe uses 1/2 the can of both the pumpkin pure and condensed milk, so I’ve doubled it here to make two pies. After all two pies are always better than one! I’ve also added grated fresh ginger for an extra zing, but you could add ground ginger, mixed spice and ground black pepper.

Makes 2 x 9inch pies
Each pie serves 6
For the filling:
110g of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 large thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
1 x 822g tin of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
4 large free range eggs

For the pie bases:
2 sheets of ready to roll shortcrust pastry
A little butter to grease
Tin foil
Ceramic baking beans or dried pulses

Preheat the oven to 220˚C and grease two 9 inch pie tins with a little butter.

Roll out the sheets of short crust pastry and press them into the two pie tins. Prick the bases with a fork and tidy up the edges by crimping them with your fingers, this doesn’t have to look perfect.

Place one sheet of tin foil or grease proof paper in the base of each pastry lined pie tin and tumble in some ceramic baking beans or any dried pulse will do.

Place the pie tins in the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Remove the tin foil and baking beans and place back in the oven for a further 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the pastry is cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.

Divide the pumpkin mix between the two tins, reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C and place back in the oven to bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the pies come out clean.

Allow to cool before serving.


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Roast Pumpkin, Coconut and Chilli Soup

roastpumpkinsoup_6

If you haven’t cooked with pumpkin before, this is a wonderful way to  start. Choose small pumpkins as they’re easier to tackle in the kitchen.  If you can’t find pumpkins, butternut squash is an ideal substitute.  The addition of coconut milk adds a wonderfully creamy and exotic  flavour, but if you don’t want to use it you could just make up the  difference with vegetable stock.

Serves 4-6
1kg of pumpkin, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
A few sprigs of thyme
2 red onions, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin of coconut milk
1/2 litre of vegetable stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper

The Method

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

While you prepare the pumpkin, scrape out the seeds, clean them in a colander with cold water and then dry the in a tea towel. Pop the seeds in a roasting tray tossed with a little melted butter and roast in the oven until toasted. Remove and set aside.

Tumble the pumpkin into a roasting tin with the thyme and toss in a little oil. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and pop in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or until the edges are slightly charred and  tender when pierced with a fork. In a large pot, heat a drop of oil and fry the onions until they are soft. Stir through the chilli flakes and fry for a further minute. Discard the thyme and add the roast pumpkin to the pot, along with the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, whizz the soup until you have a velvety smooth consistency. You may need to add more stock or boiling water to get the right consistency. Add sea salt and ground black pepper and check the seasoning. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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October Update!

Hi Folks!

Pumpkin carving, monkey nuts, lots of comfort cooking and Autumn baking are all ahead of us in October.  This month on the blog, I have lots of new recipes, competitions, and tips to make the best of all October has to offer.

After a very busy September which had me traveling up and down the country giving cookery demonstrations, I’m looking forward to settling down to start work on my third book which will be released next year.

October brings with it lots of seasonal produce to get excited about and in this month’s update, I’m focusing in on pumpkins, wild mushrooms and an Irish favourite, kale.  Of course there is much more to get excited about, so head out and scour farmers markets, butchers, fishmongers, and local shops for lot’s of seasonal inspiration.

There are two episodes left of the new season of Kitchen Hero on Monday nights on RTÉ One at 8.30pm, you can find all the details and recipes from each episode by following the episode guide.  Make sure to tune in and spread the word!

Pick up the Irish Independent the week before Halloween for some of my favourite spooky recipes and also the November issue of Food & Wine out this month for lots of delicious winter warming soup recipes.

Enjoy October!

Donal x

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Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan brownies

These pumpkin brownies are so delicious, you just have to try them. I didn’t manage to get my hands on pumpkin puree so I made my own. I slowly roasted the pumpkin until it was soft, scraped out the flesh, then I puréed the mixture and passed it through a sieve.

Makes about 20 squares
For the pumpkin mixture:
25g butter
75g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
1 egg
100ml pumpkin purée
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp ground ginger
75g plain flour

For the chocolate mixture:
200g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
300g granulated sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Grease and line a rectangular baking tin, approximately 20cm x 30cm (8-12in) and 3-4cm (1 1/4-1 1/2in) deep, with greaseproof or parchment paper.

To make the pumpkin mixture, beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Keep to one side. For the chocolate mixture, melt the butter and chocolate together, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand whisk until thick and creamy. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and pecans. Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined baking tin and level off the surface. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin mixture all over the top, and then, using the back of a table knife, loosely swirl it into the chocolate mixture. Place in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes, until the top is cracking and the centre is just set.

Leave to cool in the tin for 40-45 minutes before cutting into bite-sized squares.

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Pumpkin and Crispy Pancetta Risotto

I absolutely love this recipe, it is a real cosy dish, which leaves you full, satisfied and warm. Risotto may seem a little tricky, but it’s just a case of giving it your full attention and slowly incorporating the liquid, so give it a go! If you can’t get your hands on pancetta slices, use smoked streaky bacon.

Serves 4
850g pumpkin, cut into slices
A few fresh sage leaves
3 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices of pancetta
1 litre of chicken stock
150g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
75ml white wine
150g parmesan freshly grated
A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7.

Peel and gut the pumpkin and cut into slices. Make sure to save the seeds they are super tasty roasted with a little butter and sea salt. Place the pumpkin on a roasting tray with the garlic, sage, salt and pepper, toss together. Cover with tin foil and bake until soft for about 50 minutes.

10 minutes before the pumpkin is ready remove from the oven, lay the pancetta over the pumpkin and place bake in the oven till crisp. Melt 75g of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft for about 15 minutes.

Add the rice and off the heat stir through until it is totally coated with the onion mix. Return to the heat, add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer stirring until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. Continue to add a little more stock at a time until it is all absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes, until the rice has a creamy coating. Add the remaining butter, roast pumpkin, white wine, garlic and parmesan. Gently stir though.

Serve immediately.

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