It’s pumpkin season and they are everywhere. The variety of pumpkins seems to be growing year on year and the choice of shapes, sizes and colours can be a bit overwhelming, but why make a choice when you can have them all; they’re pumpkins after all! So, as you can see from the photo, I’ll be making pumpkin recipes for some time to come. Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween! This recipe, originally from Sainsbury’s Magazine (October, 2016), really hits the spot. It’s a savoury, cheesy treat, perfect to eat on its own, with butter or instead of a bread roll with soup.
275g peeled and deseeded pumpkin or butternut squash (about 350g unprepared weight)
225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra to dust
50g soft butter
125g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
2-3 tablespoons milk, plus extra for brushing
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
· Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7.
· Chop the pumpkin into rough 2.5cm pieces and put in a microwaveable bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover loosely with clingfilm and pierce in a couple of places. Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes. Drain off any water. Alternatively, wrap the pumpkin loosely in a foil parcel and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until tender.
· Mash the pumpkin into a puree, then tip it into a sieve over a bowl for 5 minutes to drain off any excess moisture and let it cool slightly.
· Sift the flour, baking powder and smoked paprika into a mixing bowl and season. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in half the cheese.
· Tip the puree into the mixing bowl and use a table knife to start to blend it into the flour mixture. Add just enough milk to bring it together as a soft, but not sticky, dough.
· Turn out onto a floured surface and roll or pat out until 2.5cm thick. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out scones and transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Re-form the dough to stamp out further rounds until all of it is used up. Brush each scone with a little milk and top with the remaining cheese. Gently press a few pumpkin seeds on top and dust with smoked paprika.
· Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until well risen and crisp. Cool slightly before eating.