[Fernand and the magic potimarron – Pumpkin pie and other autumn treats]

 

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It happens once a week, sometimes even twice.
While I’m drinking my ever-favourite matcha soy latte on the stairs just in front of the main door of my house, I spot a paper bag, hanging on the gate.I remember the first time; me, leaving the cup of tea on the higher step and walking down – slightly hesitant. I grab the vintage brown paper bag suspended on the faded gold gate.
The corners of the bag are stained.
I carefully open it while going up the stairs and to my greatest delight I discover its content: bright-orange carrots, gorgeous potimarron, shiny shallots and delicious coings [quinces].

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Then I see a small paper – maintained pleated by a fine raffia ribbon – at the bottom of the bag. I carefully untie the bow and read the sweet note:
‘J’espère que ça vous plaira, ce ne sont que de modestes légumes de mon jardin mais qui sentent délicieusement bon l’automne.
Si vous avez un peu de temps, je serai ravi de vous faire visiter mon potager.
Fernand’

[I hope you’ll like it. Only humble vegetables from my garden, but they deliciously smell like autumn.
If you’ve got a little spare time, I’ll be glad to show you my kitchen garden.]

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What a kind person! From then, I’ve been waiting for that old paper bag and literally craving for it.
And when it’s finally time for the sweet delivery I can’t refrain that smile on my face.

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I smile. Sheer joy. But also because I can’t help but imagine Fernand picking his most beautiful vegetables, packing them with love and quietly hanging the bag on the gate without I even notice.

Pumpkin pie

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Pumpkin pie has always been on of my favourites. It reminds me of the warmth and treasures of autumn.
I remember making this exact pumpkin pie years ago and I sincerely can’t remember who gave me the recipe. All I know is that’s it’s both a keeper and a crowd-pleaser.
ps.
I’m not giving exact cooking times because I didn’t write them down.
As you can see on the picture the edges of the pie crust are slightly burnt: I tried to bake blind the pastry first and then bake the whole pie, which obviously didn’t turn out as expected. Thus I can only advise you to check the pie now and then.
It is cooked when set but still a little soft in the centre.

Pumpkin pie

serves 8

one sweet short crust pastry (I used Pierre Hermé’s recipe)
600g pumpkin, skinned and cut into 2cm chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g light muscovado sugar
350g unsweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the pumpkin chunks into a roasting pan, loosely cover with foil and bake until soft (it should be easy to cut with a fork). Blend in a food processor, move to a sieve and allow to cool for at least an hour.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, condensed milk, sugar, salt and spices. Add the pumpkin purée and stir well until smooth.
Line a 24cm tart tin with baking paper and drape the pastry into the tin.
Fill with the pumpkin mixture and bake at 180°C until cooked (see note above).
Cool completely before eating.