Halloween pumpkin chunks

Each October, houses all over the country prepare for All Hallows’ Eve. Carved illuminated pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps, whilst images of ghoulish faces seem to stare at you through heavily decorated windows. And our house is no different.

Pumpkin chunks

Every year the hubby and small one carve out the pumpkin for our Jack-o’-Lantern and every year I say that I will bake something pumpkiny for the two of them, but alas the moment passes and pumpkin flesh sits in a bowl until it’s just too late!

People have been making Jack-o’-Lantern’s at Halloween for centuries. Its origin dates back to 18th century Ireland when faces were carved into turnips and placed on the doorstep to ward off evil spirits.

Pumpkin chunks

Myth has it that an Irish blacksmith named Stingy Jack – the village villain and prankster – annoyed the Holy One and the devil so much, that neither one, would allow him entry into Heaven or Hell. His spirit was doomed to walk the earth for eternity and the villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away.

When the Irish emigrated to America during the famine they took the tradition with them, but a shortage of turnips resulted in the pumpkin being used instead. This year I finally got to bake using pumpkin… and not just an ordinary pumpkin… a green organic pumpkin.

Halloween pumpkin chunks

Halloween pumpkin chunks

Baking time Approx 40 minutes • Adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com

300g self-raising flour
300g light muscovado sugar
3 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
100g sultanas
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon orange juice
200g pumpkin (peeled weight)
To decorate
150g Plain cooking chocolate

1. Heat oven to 180C/Gas4/160C(fan). Grease and line a 30 x 20cm baking tin.
2. Grate the pumpkin.
3. Mix together the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt.
4. Melt the butter, leave to cool slightly then add to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, orange zest and orange juice and stir until it comes together.
5. Mix in the pumpkin.
6. Scoop the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for approx 40 minutes until springy to the touch.
7. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire tray.
8. When the cake is cool, place on a chopping board, melt the chocolate and pour over the top of cake. Decorate with sprinkles.
9. Wait until the chocolate has set before cutting into even squares.

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