Pumpkin rolls

pumpkin rolls inksugarspice #pumpkin #bread

Delicious at any time of the year, but particularly fitting to make for Halloween, these pumpkin rolls don’t just look the part, they taste it too as they’re made from a roasted pumpkin (or squash) dough.

I’ve written out the instructions (with some images) how to make these rolls into pumpkin shapes, but they can also be made into ‘normal’, round dinner rolls too. The dough is also marvellous when baked into a full sized loaf (top with toasted pumpkin seeds for extra oomph).

Notes

It’s a bit tricky to cut up just the right amount of pumpkin/squash for this recipe, so I suggest using a whole, small pumpkin or butternut squash. Once roasted it’s easier to weigh out the correct amount and any that is surplus to the recipe can be used up elsewhere (freeze for later, turn into soup, add to a pasta dish, mix into mash potato for example).

You can skip the shaping instructions and just make round rolls if you prefer.

Do make sure you get rid of all the string before serving!

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Scraper
  • Linen tea towel
  • Two large baking trays
  • Roasting tray
  • Sharp, large chef’s knife and potato peeler
  • Sieve (not fine gauge) and large spoon
  • Smaller bowl
  • Butchers/bakers string and scissors
  • Saucepan or microwavable bowl/jug (for warming the milk)
pumpkins - inksugarspice

Ingredients

  • 1 small pumpkin or squash (you will only need 120g once roasted, see notes above)
  • Strong white flour – 475g
  • Fresh yeast – 15g (or replace with fast action dried yeast – 7g)
  • Milk – 200g
  • Fine salt – 1 teaspoon (plus extra for the pumpkin)
  • Black pepper – several turns
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of a good quality olive oil, I used Filippo Beri organic extra virgin olive oil (plus about another 3 tablespoons to drizzle on the pumpkin for roasting and to oil the bowl)

Method

  • Warm your oven to 180C fan / 200 conventional / 400F
  • Halve the pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds
  • Take the skin off the pumpkin and cut into large chunks (about 3-4cm)
  • Spread the pumpkin pieces out into your roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil, about three tablespoons’ worth and then sprinkle with some salt
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. The pumpkin pieces should be soft when pressed with a fork or spoon. If they are not ready, leave in for another 10 minute
  • When ready, leave the pumpkin pieces to cool a little until you can handle them
  • While the pumpkin is cooling, gently warm the milk in a microwave or a saucepan a little and stir in the yeast. Leave this to one side while you prep the pumpkin flesh
  • When the pumpkin flesh has cooled enough to handle (but is still warm), press the pumpkin through the sieve into the smaller bowl. It’s easiest to press it through wi th the back of a large spoon. This will remove any little crispy edges that you wouldn’t want in your bread and break down the fibres so that it incorporates into the dough more thoroughly
  • Make your dough, by combining the flour, salt, pepper, mashed pumpkin, olive oil and the milk/yeast mixture in your large bowl
  • Once combined roughly, tip out onto a clean surface and begin kneading. This dough comes together quickly because of the pumpkin flesh, so knead it for about 7-8 minutes until it starts to become smooth and glossy. Only use additional flour if you feel it’s absolutely necessary
  • Once kneaded, oil the bowl and shape the dough into a ball. Place it into the oiled bowl seam side down and cover with a clean linen tea towel or similar
  • Leave to prove for about 45 minutes until risen
  • Divide your dough in to eight equal pieces
  • Cut up eight pieces of the butcher’s string – each about a metre long
  • Taking one of the pieces of dough, shape into a ball
  • [See the images below for the following steps) Take the string and its centre point over the middle of the ball of dough, flip the dough over and make a loop round the dough and finish with a little twist of the string – your ball of dough should have a loop over it. Make sure you come back to the middle of the ball of dough and ensure the string is not tight or cutting into the dough
  • Twist the string and repeat another loop at 90 degrees to the first, so the ball of dough looks like a parcel
  • Repeat twice more, keeping the string between the first two loops – so that the ball of dough is eventually sectioned into eight wedge shapes. Tie off loosely and trim off the ends of the string
How to tie up the pumpkin rolls with string so they get that quintessential pumpkin shape when baked - inksugarspice #pumpkin #bread
  • Place the dough ball on a floured baking tray
  • Repeat with the remaining seven balls of dough
  • Cover the dough and leave to rise for about 30 minutes, until the dough has started to rise through the string and created a pumpkin shape
  • While the dough is on its last proof, turn your oven on to 220C fan / 240F conventional / 475F
  • When the rolls are ready, place them in the oven and immediately turn it down to 200C fan / 220C conventional / 400F
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes until risen and getting brown
  • Leave to cool and when cold, snip off the string from the underside of the roll and pull through the threads to ensure there is no string left before serving
pumpkin rolls inksugarspice #pumpkin #bread

Halloween mummified pizzas

stripImageHorribly easy and terrifyingly tasty mummy pizzas to make with your little pumpkins in the run up to All Hallow’s Eve or to give as treats for spooks and wizards who come knocking on the door. Dead simple, no tricks!

I love Halloween… I’m deeply disappointed that it’s a combination of complete apathy and some tatty cheap costumes for the most part. It doesn’t all have to be plastic bats, giant spiders and motion sensor-activated ghost noises (especially if you don’t have little children in the house). I tend to sculpt and paint a few pumpkins for the front door and inside I’ll arrange smaller decorative squashes, conkers, hops and other foraged greenery and light a number of candles and lanterns. For All Hallow’s Eve I usually bake (any ol’ excuse) and give out jelly wormy cupcakes or the like to squeals of delight/horror when trick or treaters knock. I do like the dressing up bit (read in to that as little or as much as you will!) and have made a number of costumes for my lads, my husband and myself. One year my husband looked like Sweeney Todd a bit too realistically and several parents were a bit perturbed…

As a change from dishing out yet more sugary treats to children, these mini pizzas make a great alternative. And, if you pass them out still warm they’ll have both fuel and a toasty belly on what’s a usually pretty cold evening as they traipse door-to-door. Of course, you could black out all the rooms, pretend you’re not in when they knock and scoff these yourself with a spooky film and a nice glass of Chianti. Now that’s a neat trick.

Notes

  • Makes 12 small pizzas
  • To make vegetarian, swap out the salami for mushrooms or thinly sliced peppers
  • if you don’t have chilli flavoured olive oil, just use your normal olive oil and sprinkle a few dried chilli flakes in

Equipment

  • Two large baking trays
  • Baking paper or parchment
  • Long knife, pizza wheel or mezzaluna
  • Wide straw
  • Large bowl
  • Clean linen tea towel or cling film
  • Rolling pin
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Scissors

Ingredients – base

  • Strong white bread flour – 500g (plus extra for dusting)
  • A rich or virgin olive oil, I’ve used the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Filippo Berio – 1¼ tablespoons (plus a little extra for the bowl)
  • Fine salt – 1¼ teaspoons
  • Granulated sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Lukewarm water – 350ml
  • Dried, fast acting yeast – 1¼ teaspoons

Ingredients – toppings

  • Sun dried tomato pesto – 70g
  • Concentrated tomato puree – 70g
  • Chilli flavoured olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mozzarella – two 125g balls (you’ll need about 1 ½ balls for the pizza topping and a little extra to cut out the eyes)
  • Salame/pepperoni – 120g of sliced meats of your choice or a veggie alternative like mushrooms or peppers
  • A few black onion seeds, Nigella seeds or cracked black peppercorns for the pupils

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the bread (flour, oil, salt, sugar, water and yeast) together in a bowl, using your fingers
  2. Tip out on to a clean surface and knead for ten minutes, you may need to add a little flour to the work surface if it continues to stick (but try kneading for a few minutes without adding the flour if you can)*
    * you can use a stand mixer or food processor if you prefer, rather than hand kneading
  3. When the dough becomes smooth and slightly glossy on the surface, it’s been kneaded enough and is ready for proving
  4. Rub a little olive oil round the bowl and place the kneaded dough in
  5. Cover with the linen tea towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm (but not too hot) place for around an hour until it has risen well and a few large bubbles have appeared under the surface
  6. Lightly dust your work surface and tip out the dough
  7. Punch down the dough to knock the air out of it
  8. Using the rolling pin and/or your hands, flatten out the dough as thinly and evenly as possible into a large rectangle. You should be able to get it to the size of a typical large baking sheet (40 x 27cm / 15″ x 10″)
  9. Cut off a third off the end of the rectangle – you will need this for the mummy ‘wrappings’
  10. Gently transfer the large portion of the flattened dough onto a piece of baking paper (this makes each mini pizza easier to pick up and move)
  11. Cut this dough into twelve equal pieces, by first cutting along the middle lengthways, then making five equally spaced cuts. You should have twelve mini rectangles, about 20cm x 5cm (plus the ‘spare’ piece of dough you cut off)
  12. Using scissors, cut the baking paper around the twelve pizzas, so they each have their own portion that they are sitting on
  13. Cut the spare piece of dough into long strips of about 1cm widthdoughStrips
  14. Put your oven on to 210ºC fan / 230ºC conventional
  15. Mix the pesto, puree and chilli flavoured olive oil in a small bowl to make a pizza sauce, then spoon it out equally between the twelve mini pizzas, using the back of the spoon to spread it outpesto-puree
  16. Cut two thin slices off the mozzarella and keep to one side for the mummies’ eyes
  17. Rip up the rest of the mozzarella evenly between the twelve pizzasmozzarella
  18. Now lay the pepperoni, salame or veggies (whichever you’re using) on top of the mozzarella
  19. Taking one of the dough strips, you can now start to make the mummy ‘wrappings’
  20. Lay a dough strip diagonally across the pizza and cut to size. Repeat in a random crisscrossing pattern until you’ve ‘wrapped’ each mummy pizzawrappedDough
  21. You do need to squash the ends of every strips just slightly into the pizza base, otherwise when they bake they will lift up. Pinching the end of a strip to the base fixes them together
  22. Place six pizzas spread out on each of the two baking trays, so they have some space to rise and spread out
  23. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes until the bottom of the pizza is baked, the top of the wrappings are a nice golden brown and the mozzarella is gooey and a bit crispy round the edges
  24. While the pizzas are cooling a little, you can make the eyes. Using a wide straw punch out circles from the remaining mozzarella slices and arrange in pairs (or even some threes!) on the pizzas, so it looks like the mummies are peering out from their wrappings
  25. Add a Nigella or black onion seed (or a little piece of black peppercorn) to each eye so it looks like a pupilindividual
  26. Best served still warm, but can be eaten cold

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