Halloween Fougasse – or ‘boogasse’

I started making Halloween-shaped fougasse when my twin lads were tiny – it became a bit of a family tradition in late October to get them to help me shape the bread dough into ghouls and skulls. Now I carry it on as I still am a big kid myself and it’s simply just nice bread. It’s particularly gorgeous dipped into a very cheesy fondue, even dyed green if you’re into the full-on ghoulish experience!

I’ve shown my Halloween shapes for many years on Instagram but I’ve never previously shared my recipe, so here it is. Hope you like it and have fun making your own Halloween shapes – you’re not limited to the pumpkin and ghost I’ve shown here.

A previous year’s example of my boogasse, to show some alternative shapes:

Notes – this dough is a bit wet. If you don’t fancy kneading by hand pop it in your stand mixer with a dough hook.

Makes 2 large “boogasse” fougasse – enough for four people.

Preparation is about 1hr 45, though much of that is hands-off, with around 22 minutes baking.

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Scraper or knife
  • Two linen tea towels or a baker’s couche
  • Two large baking trays
  • Hand/stick blender or potato masher
  • Saucepan
  • Sieve
  • Measuring jug
  • Spoon
  • Scales

Ingredients

  • 135g of pumpkin or squash flesh, chopped
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 260g water
  • 8g fine salt
  • Several turns of a black pepper mill
  • 20ml olive oil, I used Filippo Berio organic extra virgin olive oil 
  • (optional – one egg as an egg wash if preferred)

Method

  • Place the chopped squash in a saucepan and add enough water to almost cover it
  • Simmer until soft
  • Strain the squash, but sieve it over your measuring jug – you’ll need to keep the water it was cooked in. Press the squash flesh to get as much water out as possible (this is so you can measure it more accurately)
  • Mash or blend the flesh so it’s not lumpy or stringy
  • Top up the liquid with water until it reaches 260g
  • Make your dough, by combining the flour, salt, pepper, the squash, olive oil, yeast and liquid in your large bowl
  • Mix roughly and leave for 10 minutes
  • Tip out onto a clean surface and begin kneading. This dough comes together quickly and is a little wet
  • Knead 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 and cover with a clean linen tea towel or similar
  • Leave to prove for about 45 minutes until risen
  • Divide your dough in half
  • Flour both baking trays
  • Take half of the dough and cut off a small piece. Roll this into a long sausage/string shape
  • With the rest of this piece of dough, flatten it out to about 1 cm thickness, shaping it into a pumpkin shape (like a fat ‘8’ on it’s side with a short stalk)
  • Take the string of dough, persist lightly onto where the stalk is and curl it on it self across the pumpkin shape. Do NOT make the indentations at this stage (see image below)

  • Cover the dough with a tea towel
  • With the second piece of dough, pull and flatten into a ghost shape – but do NOT make the holes for the eyes and mouth yet (as in image above)
  • Cover this one with your other tea towel
  • Leave both to rise for about 30 minutes
  • While the dough is on its last proof, turn your oven on to 200C fan / 220F conventional / 450F
  • When the fougasse has risen, use the edge of a spoon to make the indentations on the pumpkin shape – as the spoon is curved it makes it easier. Use the handle end of the spoon to create the holes for the eyes and mouth on the ghost shape
  • You can now lightly brush with beaten egg if you prefer – my pumpkin was brushed with egg and the ghost was left without (so you can see the difference)
  • Place them in the oven and immediately turn it down to 190C fan / 210C conventional / 425F 
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes until risen and getting brown
  • Leave to cool (or eat slightly warm)

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

Pesto and roasted butternut squash dip

raostingButternutSquash.jpgThis delicious, easy-to-make dip is rather more than meets the eye. Although it’s amazing with crudites, bread sticks or crackers –  such as the cider and olive oil cracker recipe I created to go with it – as you’d expect, it can be transformed in to a lot more besides.

The dip can also be used as a pasta filling such as for ravioli, as the basis for a pumpkin risotto, and alternative to tomato sauce on a pizza base and, when thinned with a vegetable stock, turned into an amazing veggie soup (or go carnivore by adding chicken stock instead).

Notes

In the instructions I’ve detailed preparing the squash by cutting it into eight wedges lengthways, having first de-seeded it, and layering these skin side down in a dish (as in the image above). You can also roast the squash by taking the skin off first, then cutting it into large chunks.

10 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes (hands off) cooking time.

This recipe has been kindly featured on the Filippo Berio recipe page.

Equipment

  • A large roasting tin or casserole
  • A blender, food processor or stick blender (or a mooli/potato ricer)
  • Large sharp and heavy knife for the squash

Ingredients

  • One butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced into large chunks * see notes above about whether to roast with skin on or not
  • Red (tomato) pesto – 3 tablespoons
  • Olive oil: a good quality olive oil but not extra virgin – 3 tablespoons
  • Rock salt – two tablespoons (or fine salt 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • Garlic cloves, peeled – 4 – 6  (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • Paprika – 1 teaspoon
  • Dried chilli flakes – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – around 70ml (you may need to add a touch more if the butternut squash was particularly large)
  • Additional extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 170 ºC / 190 ºC conventional
  2. Use 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat the bottom of your roasting dish
  3. Prepare the squash by halving, removing all the seeds and chopping each half lengthways into four so you have eight wedges in total (see the top image). There is an alternative method for taking the skin off first, whish is outlined in the notes above
  4. Place the squash on the oiled roasting dish and coat with the pesto
  5. Crush the peeled garlic cloves slightly and scatter over the squash, together with the salt, paprika and chilli flakes and finally drizzle over the rest of the olive oil
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the squash is soft and yeilds all the way through when you press it with a fork
  7. If you did leave the skin on the squash, remove it now and discard
  8. Place the roasted squash, all the spices, the roasted garlic and all the oil left in the bottom of the roasting dish into your blender or food processer
  9. Add the additional water and whizz until smooth
  10. (If you are using a stick blender you will need to transfer the ingredients into another taller container before adding the water and blending. Alternatively, pass it all through a potato ricer or mooli, then combine the water by mixing it in)
  11. Leave to cool and then serve in a bowl, drizzling the top with extra virgin olive oil and scattering over a few toasted pine nuts if desired

dip4

Roasted orange butternut squash ravioli

finishedRavioliA delicious, veggie main meal that won’t have you missing meat! I’ve been roasting butternut squash to this recipe for a long time. I first developed it as a vegetable recipe to feed to my twins when they were weaning, but I loved it so much myself it started creeping into our adult meals!

I use the roasted squash as it is as an accompaniment, it can be made into a spiced soup with the addition of a little milk and some paprika and rewarmed in a saucepan or – as here – a great filling for ravioli.

As part of the recipe, there are step-by-step instructions for preparing the pasta dough into filled ravioli.

You can prepare the squash a day before if you prefer.

Notes

A note on making your own pasta: it’s fun (although hard work) and for a lot of recipes fresh-made pasta is the bee’s knees. However, don’t be sniffy about dried pasta once you’ve made your own fresh. It’s quick, cheap and frankly the majority of recipes are actually better with dried pasta. Fresh pasta is not ‘better’ overall, just better in certain recipes and essential to make your own filled shapes.

I tend to make fresh pasta for filled shapes (pretty obvious this one), for when I want to do something really unusual like coloured pasta (spinach, tomato, beetroot, squash or squid ink etc) and for a rich version of things like carbonara when I want tagliatelli. I’m also driven by the shapes produced by my Mercato pasta machine – big sheets, tagiolini and fettucini (there are other attachments you can buy but this is enough for me, at least for now).

Dried pasta is great for everything else – which is the majority of pasta dishes! All oily or tomato type sauces and of course the tiny shapes like stellini for broths and soups.

Equipment – roasted butternut squash

  • Vegetable peeler
  • Very sharp heavy knife
  • Large casserole with lid or other oven-proof container and a sheet of foil
  • Potato masher
  • Frying pan
  • Kitchen towel

Equipment – ravioli

  • Large bowl
  • Rolling pin or pasta rolling machine
  • Dough cutter
  • Sharp knife
  • Pastry brush
  • Circular cookie cutter – quite a large one (I used a 9cm one) – or you can just cut it into squares
  • Large saucepan
  • Slotted spoon

Ingredients – squash

  • I medium-large butternut squash
  • Orange juice – 100ml
  • Sea salt – large pinch
  • Black pepper – freshly ground to taste
  • Shallots – about two small round shallots or one banana shallot

Ingredients – pasta

For four people:

  • ’00’ type flour (you can get this in any mid-sized supermarket in the baking aisle) – 200g*
  • Semolina/durum wheat flour (again, this is usually available in a normal supermarket – go look for it in the world food aisle) – 100g*
  • Medium eggs – 3
    • * If you can’t get these, you can use regular plain flour – it makes acceptable pasta, although if you use 00 and semolina it will make a big difference. If you don’t find either in your supermarket (I’ve bought these in TESCO, ASDA and Sainsbury’s – apologies for those not in the UK, but of course I can only speak for where I live) you can get them online

Method – butternut squash

  1. Put the oven on to 200C fan / 220C conventional
  2. Halve and peel the butternut squashsquash.jpg
  3. Scoop out the flesh and seeds from the hollows in both halves
  4. Chop the flesh into thick (1 cm) slices
  5. Arrange the sliced squash in the bottom of the oven-proof dish so that they are spread evenly
  6. Pour in the orange juice and sprinkle over the sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  7. Cover with the lid or a sheet of foil and place in the centre of the oven for at least one hour, until the squash flesh is soft enough to be pressed with a fork
  8. While the squash is cooking, finely chop the shallots and fry gently with a little oil
  9. Remove when the shallots have become softened and glass-like and lay on a piece of kitchen towel to absorb excess oil
  10. Remove the squash from the oven and add the cooked shallots to the squashRoastedSquash
  11. Mash with the potato masher – do not pour out any remaining orange juice as it should all be incorporated
  12. Leave to cool until you are ready to stuff the ravioli

Method – pasta

  1. In a large bowl swirl together the flours and make a well in the middle
  2. Crack in the eggseggAndFlour
  3. Mix it all together with the fork and bring it all together – when you can’t mix it any further with the fork, start to use your hand (my tip here is use only one had – leave the other ‘clean’)
  4. Bring the pasta dough together with your hand – I find that the dough naturally absorbs all the flour it needs – so if there is a little bit of flour left don’t worry
  5. Transfer the dough to a large flat surface – a dining table or a large kitchen counter top (my kitchen is tiny – I also go into my dining room!)
  6. You are aiming for a ‘strong but forgiving’ consistency of dough. I once read in a book years ago (sorry I can’t remember which one) that the dough should be the same to feel as the relaxed muscle in your forearm! It sounds weird, but actually it’s true – just try it! Relax your non-writing arm and poke your forearm just below your elbow. See what they mean?
    I do believe the dough picks up the right amount of flour itself as you are gathering it together, but:

    1. if the dough feels too soft add a little more flour
    2. if the dough is too tough and dry add a few drops of water
  7. Knead the dough for anything up to 10 minutes – it should get to the point where it feels like tough elastic and gets very hard to knead. If you’re using a pasta machine you can stop before it gets really tough going, as by pass the dough through the machine at its lowest setting and then folding and passing through again (see instructions below) you continue the kneading process. Unfortunately if you’re rolling by hand you need to keep kneading!
  8. Now’s the time to set up your pasta machine (bolting it to the table/counter top) if you’re using it – or reach for the rolling pin
  9. Don’t add any more flour to the pasta – you’ll clog your machine (if using). Pasta correctly mixed is ‘clean’ and should only stick to itself (or a wet surface). However – there is a caveat to this if you are rolling using a rolling pin. See the instructions on rolling by hand
  10. Leave the pasta to settle and rest for a while somewhere cool – about 15 – 60 minutes. Wrap in cling film or cover with a tea towel to stop it getting a crust
  11. Using a machine:
    1. Cut the pasta into tennis-ball sized pieces – I find this is the easiest amount to roll into pieces for ravioli. If you’re a seasoned pasta making you may be comfortable with rolling more, but as I am writing this as a basic recipe I’ll stick with the easy amounts
    2. Set the machine to 0 (the largest setting) and pass the dough ball through.
    3. Fold the rolled dough in half and turn 90 degrees and pass it through again – don’t change the setting
    4. Fold and pass through three or four times – this relaxes the gluten forming in the dough and smooths its texture
    5. Now, turn the machine to the next setting  (one increment smaller) and pass through. Turn the crank handle with one hand and capture the rolled dough with your other hand, drawing it out along the table. Make sure it lies flat
    6. Turn the machine up another notch and repeat – the pasta sheet will naturally get longer and longer (and a little wider) each time as it gets squeezed thinner. This makes it a bit more tricky to handle as you go along – to make it easier to crank with one hand and feed/capture the pasta with the other each time as you feed one end of the pasta in the roller, gently lay the rest of the pasta over the top of the machine draping it gently – it should get pulled through the machine as you turn the handle cleanly and smoothly (see below). This allows you to use your other hand to capture the pasta as it comes out and feed it down the tablepastaAndMachine
    7. Keep repeating this until your pasta is very fine – on my Mercato machine I do ravioli to No. 6 (out of 10 settings), so whatever your setting is on your machine that is about three quarters of the very finest setting. You need it thin (as the edges of the ravioli of course will be double thickness as they are stuck together but it can’t be too thin or there is a risk of tearing and the filling could spill out during cooking later)
    8. Repeat for the rest of the dough and then lay all the sheets of pasta out together
  12. Using a rolling pin:
    1. I’ve only recently bought a pasta machine – I’ve been making pasta using a rolling pin for years. OK, I never made it not often as it IS a chore this way, but I’m living proof you can do it without a machine. However, the finished result is rougher, thicker and not so uniform. The toughest part is to roll the pasta finely – it really doesn’t want to thin out (the gluten wants to draw together) – you will have to keep going and apply force. Frankly I wish I’d bought a machine years ago – it’s been a revelation!
    2. Unlike using the machine, you will need to lightly flour your table – as you apply force with the rolling pin to squeeze the pasta flatter and wider you are effectively mashing it into the table and it will stick
    3. Chop the pasta dough up into manageable pieces – probably in half will be sufficient for a three-egg/300g dough
    4. Roll out as finely as you can – keep shifting the dough round by a quarter turn to stop it sticking and keep rolling until you are satisfied it’s as thin as you can get it. Don’t worry about a few tears if you have then – you can just avoid them when you cut the ravioli
    5. Repeat with the remaining dough
  13. Now go get your butternut squash
  14. Place teaspoons of the squash on the pasta sheets – leave a 10-12cm gap between the dollops of squash. Don’t overfill!placingFilling
  15. Using the pastry brush, dip it in water and shake off the excess (you don’t want much water at all). Draw a circle with the damp brush all round the mini pile of squash
  16. Now, drape another sheet over the top of the squash and first pasta sheet.
  17. Gently with your finger tips, try to tamp down the top sheet onto the bottom and around the squash filling – try your best not to leave air gaps (the air will expand when cooking later and may burst the ravioli) and make a little tightly packed dome
  18. Once you’re satisfied each raviolo is sealed all the way round you can cut it out with the cutter, or use a sharp knife (or pastry wheel if you have one) to make a squarecutRaviolo
  19. Keep going until you’ve made enough ravioli – I think 4 – 5 is enough for each person as a main meal or three for a starter (you can freeze the remaining squash and pasta dough – or you can keep going and use it all and then freeze the uncooked ravioli – see my note at the end)cutRavioli.jpg
  20. Keep the ravioli to hand – next it’s the cooking stage!

Cooking

finishedRavioli

One of the best, most simple way of serving this is to warm a few tablespoons of red pesto in a large frying pan or sauté pan with a little water (from the pasta water) and just sloosh the cooked ravioli around gently and briefly in this and then slide it all onto plates – and serve with a fresh green salad.

I haven’t given a recipe for a ragu here – just the pasta itself. In the photo above for this particular meal of this ravioli I made a soffritto base (finely diced onion, carrot, celery, garlic), fried this off, added a tin of chopped tomatoes, seasonings and then some chopped up Italian sausages. I sprinkled over

This sausage ragu does stop this recipe being vegetarian – however you can substitute the sausages for either courgette or mushrooms to keep it meat-free.

To cook the ravioli

  1. Bring a very large pan of water – which has been generously salted (don’t panic – there’s no salt in the pasta dough and also the pasta is bathed in the salt water only: it doesn’t absorb much of it) – to a simmering, gentle boil
  2. Using a slotted spoon, put the ravioli in the water – they will sink
  3. They will only take about three minutes to cook (you may want to do them in batches if you’ve made lots)
  4. When they’re done they will start to rise to the top of the water
  5. Take out with the slotted spoon – I actually find it’s handy to hold a sieve over the pan with one hand and feed each raviolo that I fish out with the slotted spoon into the sieve – that way they drip back into the pan
  6. Serve the pasta with whatever sauce you want – whether that’s a ragu or the simple red pesto sauce mentioned above
  7. Best eaten immediately – grate over some grana padano or parmesan, a grind of pepper and a sprinkle of salt (I used black sea salt, just because it looked fantastic against the pasta)

Note on freezing filled pasta

  1. Freeze the ravioli by lying it down on something flat that will fit in your freezer draw and make sure they do not touch each other
  2. You may then put them in a bag together later, once they are fully frozen (they won’t stick after they’ve frozen solid) so that they won’t then take up too much space
  3. No need to thaw – just pop them in a pan of simmering (not rapidly boiling water) and bring it slowly up to a full boil and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more than from fresh

I hope this has helped! If you try this ravioli please leave me a comment – I’d love to know what you think of it