HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

I bought an eating rather than carving pumpkin this year purely by accident as I liked its shape and size etc. I usually try and scoop out a good bit of flesh as well as the seeds and stringy stuff when ‘carving’ as not only does it mean there’s less to rot and shrivel up but also means you can make more fun stuff with the by product. Last year it was pumpkin soup with chilli and coconut milk, this year I wanted something sweet and spooky Archie and his crew could enjoy.
These are more muffin than cupcake, they’re also not the most handsome of things when cooked but don’t let that put you off as they’re surprisingly moist and delicious. When I first made them my heart sank as I got them out the oven and they looked a bit 'rustic' and dry but just before binning them in a fit of rage, I cracked one open, still warm, and was impressed at how good they were. These are low sugar, I’m not gonna call them ‘sugar-free’ as they’re not but sugar is substituted for maple syrup mostly because it lends such a delicious, caramel flavour to the roasted pumpkin. There’s ¼ a cup in 12 muffins and same again in the icing so they’re not bad as baked stuff goes.

 

Now, you’ll notice that I don’t tell you how much raw pumpkin you need but I do tell you how much pumpkin puree you need. This is because in my rush to do this before picking Arch up from nursery I forgot to weigh mine before cooking it. Not very helpful I appreciate but I had a medium sized pumpkin and once I’d taken the seeds and stringy stuff out I then used a knife to cut out the excess flesh from the lid (it just burn if you don’t), the circumference from the opening (this is a great place to get loads from) from every bit of the design I cut out ie eyes, mouth etc and then I set to it with a spoon to scrape down the sides. On a carving pumpkin I think the flesh would’ve come away a lot easier as mine was pretty firm but a bit of perseverance and you’ll be all good – just think, you’re extending the life of your lovingly carved pumpkin. You can see from the pictures that I yielded a good heap of the stuff so that should give you a steer or the other option is to just reach for a can of the ready done puree and do it that way.

 

The most time-consuming part of this process apart from scraping out the flesh, is the hours roasting time, you do need to keep checking on it but it’s not labour intensive.

Ingredients:

To make pumpkin puree:

As much flesh as you can scrape out of a medium or large pumpkin after you've got all the stringy bits out

3 tablespoons of olive oil (you may need more if you manage to scrape out more flesh than I did)

To make muffins:

75g Unsalted butter at room temperature

¼ Cup of medium maple syrup

160g of the roasted pumpkin puree or use canned

2 Medium free range eggs

100g Plain flour

125g White spelt flour

2 Teaspoons of baking powder

1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ Teaspoon of ground ginger

1/8 Teaspoon of ground cloves (optional but I think adds a lil something)

30g raisins

Icing:

150g Philadelphia cream cheese

50g crème fraiche (you can use just Philadelphia if you like just make it 200g total)

¼ Cup medium maple syrup

Roasted pumpkin seeds and raisins for decorating

Roasted Pumpkin Puree

1. Set oven to 180c fan.

2. Divide your pumpkin flesh between two roasting tins (I had two of the above), drizzle each one with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well with hands to make sure it’s all well coated. Put into the oven for 45 mins – 1 hour and roast until soft and starting to darken. Don’t worry if you have a few crispy bits but avoid it drying out. Check on it every 15 minutes and give it a stir,  if it’s drying out add the additional tablespoon of olive oil you have in reserve.

3. Once done put into a mixer and add 2 tablespoons of water to help bring it together then mix until smooth and no fibrous bits remain

Muffins:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C fan

2. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases or baking parchment cut to size.

3. In a large bowl mix together the butter, pumpkin puree and maple syrup until it comes together nicely

4. Add the eggs one at a time mixing between each addition

5. Mix the flours, spices and baking powder together in another bowl then add to the pumpkin mix and mix until combined

6. Add the raisins and mix until just combined

7. Spoon into the cases and bake in the middle of your oven until a skewer comes out clean approximately 17 minutes.

Let cool fully before icing

Icing: 

1.  Whisk the Philadelphia and crème fraiche together until thick and it makes firm peaks when you lift out the mixer 

2.  Add the maple syrup and mix a little longer until combined

3. Put in the fridge for a couple of minutes so it gets cold and even firmer

4. Put into a piping bag or sandwich bag and snip the corner off and ice away.
Tip – the bigger the cut in the bag the thicker the circumference of the icing, I experimented and the thicker the icing the better these look. Pop on roasted pumpkin seeds and/or raisins for eyes - avoid the pumpkin seeds for really little people.