Friday Food: Gemma’s Pumpkin-esque Pie

Happy Friday folks!

This morning we’re welcoming Gemma back and continuing the pumpkin theme (hope you’re not getting pumpkin-ed out!) with more squash recipes. Pop back later for your favourite… Friday Frock O’Clock

So readers, the days are getting shorter, the inclement weather is coming in (Glasgow rainstorm anyone?! I was nearly washed away in the deluge this morning and I’m by no means what anyone would describe as a ‘slip of a thing’) and two autumnal and pumpkin-related events are coming up: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now, I’m Australian and ‘downunder’ we don’t really do either of these holidays which is a bit of a shame – I think it’s always worthwhile to stop and think about the things in life that you’re thankful for, and who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up?! So in honour of this I’m channelling my inner Karen Brewer (because I learnt all about important American traditions by reading the Babysitters Club and Babysitters Little Sister) for today’s recipe, Pumpkinesque Pie.

*Image taken by Rebecca in Chelsea Market, New York, last October.

It’s pumpkinesque because it’s actually made out of butternut squash, although I thoroughly endorse listening to The Smashing Pumpkins while you make it. It will serve 8 people and it will fill your kitchen with the most delicious scent you may never buy a smelly candle ever again. And, if you read my last post about soup, you’ll know I like it when I can boast about ensure that I am getting my 5 fruit and veg per day, and this will count as one of them.

1 unbaked and chilled 22 cm ready made pie crust (frankly I think life’s too short to make pastry from scratch. But I do have my nan’s amazing recipe somewhere and can dig it out if there’s an outcry!)
1 large butternut squash
3 free-range eggs
1 cup of medium brown sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk or ½ a cup of semi-skimmed mixed with ¼ of a cup of single cream
3 teaspoons of allspice/ mixed spice/ cinnamon nutmeg mix
1 tablespoon or so grated fresh ginger (fresh ginger makes it SO GOOD but of course ground ginger does just as well, but you don’t need as much – maybe a teaspoon or two? And obvs if you are like my sister and don’t like ginger then don’t use it!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

*Image Credits, both

How to:

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape the pith and seeds out with a spoon. Cook it the same way as outlined in my soup post or to speed things up a little, pop the squash, skin outwards, into a foil lined baking dish and add 1/2 cup or so of water to the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 200 degrees oven for about an hour, let it cool and then mash it or throw it in the blender.
  • Mix 1 1/2 cups of squash with the brown sugar in a bowl with handheld beaters (or with your Kitchenaid if you are lucky enough to have one! Jealous!) and then add the butter, spices, vanilla essence, salt, and flour along with the eggs one at a time, adding the milk/cream in gradually to keep the mixture moist and give it all a good whiz at the end so it’s smooth and thick.
  • Pour the filling into the pie crust and place on the centre of the oven. It will probably take about 50 minutes to bake, but check it after half an hour or so because you might want to cover the pastry to stop it burning. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set. Check that it’s cooked by touching the filling, it should be firm but not rubbery – it’s actually pretty easy to tell when it’s done. Let it cool, and then you can serve it with a dusting of icing sugar or go mental with fake cream in a can tastefully pipe whipped cream or even cream cheese icing over it.

I would like to assure you that my pies have NEVER looked as good as Martha’s, but they do taste lovely.  I’d also like to add that I’m not  the kind of person who has a gorgeous shot of pumpkins she can use as a stock image, you know, just kicking around my house since I happy-snapped it in The Big Apple.  Luckily for me, that’s the way Rebecca rolls, otherwise you’d have a shot of something else pumpkin-y, like my face after a week of eating too many pies.

Happy Halloweek (halloween week) and I promise that if Rebecca lets me post on FF again there won’t be a pumpkin or butternut squash in sight, but… if you’re going to try this out, or you made some Florence-style soup last week, please send us some photos, reviews or reports via twitter or comment on these pretty multi-coloured pages.
Back to the editor’s box for me readers (it’s the best seat in the house!)

Gemma x


Friday Food: Gemma’s Grandma’s Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Friday readers! Whoop whoop!
This morning we have a guest post from the very lovely Gemma who deserves an intro all of her own for 2 reasons. Not only am I delighted to have snaffled her to write the occasional blog post when she finds the time, because she is absolutely hilarious, but she has actually been doing rather more than that. Gemma has the super important role of editing Florence Finds. My spelling/grammar/typing is notoriously bad and I didn’t want that putting you off all the lovely finds we have to share with you, so each and every post has been edited by Gemma behind the scenes. I hope you’ll all join me in saying a big Florence Finds thank you. Gemma has also been my personal cheerleader of late for which I’m ridiculously grateful. 🙂 A big heartfelt thank you from me too Gemma!

So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself!

Hi everyone, Gemma here. I’m a friend of Florence. In fact, you could call me the founder of the Florence Fan Club because I have been lucky enough to see some bits of this lovely blog behind the scenes while Rebecca’s put it together, which has been like being invited to a premiere screening of an incredibly cool movie. I’ve unashamedly loved it but also been a tad worried about what shoes I should wear. Anyway, I’m going off the point. In true we-heart-it-when-it-begins-with-an-F style, today is the best day of the week. Make sure you nip back for your fashion fix later on, because today is Friday! Friday is for Frock O’clock and Friday is for (fantastic) Food. Which is where I come in.

Another reason (as if I needed one!) that I am a wee bit envious of Mrs Norris is that she has an allotment. The woman has an Important Grownup Job, (capital letters entirely intentional) runs this brilliant blog in all its many-faceted stylish glory in her spare time, and grows her own food. I can’t even keep a tub of coriander from Sainsburys alive long enough to last the journey from the checkout to my flat.

Said allotment is thriving apparently and has produced some butternut squash just perfect for lovely Autumny things.

Here’s the first one:

This recipe for butternut squash soup was originally my grandmother’s, but I’ve added more vegetables to it over the years because, well, I’m lazy. I like to boast that this soup is your 5 a day, but my husband pointed out that the 5 a day concept is to have 5 servings of fruit and veg, not 5 different types of fruit and veg in one serving of soup. Whatevs.


1 onion
1 smallish cluster of garlic
2 butternut squash (or more if you have a fancy allotment and want to use them up)
1 head of cauliflower
3 or 4 tomatoes (I normally skin these before I put them in the soup and if that’s too much of a faff for you, a tin of peeled tomatoes with no added salt or sugar is just as good)
3 or 4 carrots, peeled
2- 3 litres of stock (once, and I mean once, I was organised enough to use chicken stock I’d made myself but normally I use vegetable bouillon powder so that it’s vegetarian friendly, or chicken stock cubes, and ham flavoured ones work well in this soup too)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder (that’s grandma-style, bright yellow curry powder)
A pinch of chilli and/or garam masala powder if you like them/have them kicking around
1 cup of apple juice
A dash of olive oil

How to do it:

Cut the squashes lengthways, brush with olive oil, and put them in the oven at about 180 degrees for 2 hours or so. I’ve left them for 3 and a half on a slightly lower heat too, and if you want to be environmentally friendly and you’re baking cakes or a roast and have an oven rack free, you can always do your squash the day before. Pour a cup of boiling water over the garlic to soften it and stop it from burning and then pop it onto the tray with the squash.

Once the squash has baked it will be incredibly soft – just scoop out the seeds etc and then the flesh will be almost a puree.

In a big soup pot brown the chopped onion with some olive oil and then roughly chop the carrots and cauliflower and toss them in with the onion, coriander, cumin and mustard powder before adding the tomatoes and apple juice and about a litre of stock and simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.

*Image Credit

After simmering, add the squash and garlic (which should also be pleasingly squashy and not too pungent) and you’ll be able to see how thick your soup will be – add more stock to get it to the consistency you like, and then blend in a blender or with a hand held ‘stab mixer.’

Serve with a little bit of coriander on top, and if you’re feeling naughty, a swirl of sour cream and/or some crispy bacon. (ie, put a couple of bacon rashers under the grill until they’re brown and crumbly)

Give it a try and see what you think!

Please do leave Gemma a comment below if you’ll be trying this one at home this weekend and if you’re feeling particularly technical, tweet us a picture of your creations! @FlorenceFinds and @prettiesthobo


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