Tuck into an autumnal feast of soup, hotpot, pie and pastries with our seasonal selection of comforting recipes – perfect for when the nights begin to draw in.
1. Pumpkin Pie
Sweet shortcrust pastry filled with lightly spiced squash to make a traditional American treat.
Prep: 40 mins | Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
- 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
- plain flour, for dusting
- 140g caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 25g butter, melted
- 175ml milk
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
STEP 1 – Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain pumpkin; let cool.
STEP 2 – Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
STEP 3 – Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.
STEP 4 – Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.
2. Leek & Potato Soup
Of the comforting soups, leek and potato is one of the most familiar.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
• 50g butter
• 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
• 1 small onion, cut the same size as the potatoes
• 450g white parts of leeks, sliced
• 850ml-1.2litres/1.5-2pts light chicken or vegetable stock
• 142ml carton whipping cream
• 125ml full-fat milk
• the white part of 1 leek
• a small knob of butter
• finely chopped chives
STEP 1 – Melt 50g butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add 450g potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes, 1 small onion, cut the same as the potatoes, and 450g white parts of leeks, sliced and toss them in the butter until they are well coated.
STEP 2 – Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper (called a cartouche by chefs) on top of the vegetables to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid.
STEP 3 – Cook over a gentle heat for 10 mins, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.
STEP 4 – Uncover the pan and discard the paper. Pour in 850ml of the light chicken or vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked – about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour.
STEP 5 – Purée in a blender until silky smooth, in batches if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of a 142ml carton of whipping cream and 125ml full-fat milk.
STEP 6 – To finish the soup, finely shred the white part of 1 leek and gently cook it in a small knob of hot butter for a few mins until it is softened but not coloured.
STEP 7 – Reheat the soup to a gentle simmer (add some extra stock at this point if the soup is too thick for your liking), then pour into warmed bowls.
STEP 8 – Drizzle the remaining cream over each serving, top with a little pile of buttered leeks and a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once.
3. Lancashire Hotpot
A famous favourite among many – lamb stew topped with sliced potatoes.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 1 hr 40 mins
• 100g dripping or butter
• 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks
• 3 lamb kidneys, sliced, fat removed
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 25g plain flour
• 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• 500ml lamb or chicken stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 900g potato, peeled and sliced
STEP 1 – Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.
STEP 2 – Heat a little of the 100g dripping or butter in a large shallow casserole dish and brown 900g stewing lamb chunks in batches, lift to a plate, then repeat with 3 trimmed and sliced lamb kidneys.
STEP 3 – Fry 2 chopped onions and 4 peeled and sliced carrots in the pan with a little more dripping until golden.
STEP 4 – Sprinkle over 25g plain flour, allow to cook for a couple of mins, shake over 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, pour in 500ml lamb or chicken stock, then bring to the boil.
STEP 5 – Stir in the stewing lamb and kidneys and 2 bay leaves, then turn off the heat.
STEP 6 – Arrange 900g peeled and sliced potatoes on top of the meat, then drizzle with a little more dripping.
STEP 7 – Cover, then place in the oven for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are cooked.
STEP 8 – Remove the lid, brush the potatoes with a little more dripping, then turn the oven up to brown the potatoes, or finish under the grill for 5-8 mins until brown.
4. Cornish Pasty
Reawaken childhood memories with the traditional Cornish pasty.
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 55 mins
For the pastry;
• 125g chilled and diced butter
• 125g lard
• 500g plain flour, plus extra
• 1 egg, beaten
For the filling;
• 350g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely chopped
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 2 medium potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
• 175g swede, peeled, finely diced
• 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
STEP 1 – Rub the butter and lard into the flour with a pinch of salt using your fingertips or a food processor, then blend in 6 tbsp cold water to make a firm dough. Cut equally into 4, then chill for 20 mins.
STEP 2 – Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix together the filling ingredients with 1 tsp salt. Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until large enough to make a round about 23cm across – use a plate to trim it to shape. Firmly pack a quarter of the filling along the centre of each round, leaving a margin at each end. Brush the pastry all the way round the edge with beaten egg, carefully draw up both sides so that they meet at the top, then pinch them together to seal. Lift onto a non-stick baking tray and brush with the remaining egg to glaze.
STEP 3 – Bake for 10 mins, then lower oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and cook for 45 mins more until golden. Great served warm.
5. Spiced Toffee Apple Cake
Try a twist on traditional toffee apples - sugared, spiced and very VERY nice!
Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 1 hr
• 200g dates, roughly chopped
• 200ml milk, plus a splash
• 250g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
• 280g self-raising flour
• 200g light soft brown sugar
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tbsp mixed spice
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3 small red apples
• squeeze lemon juice
• handful of toffees
• a little icing sugar, for dusting
STEP 1 – Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment. Put the dates and milk in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 mins to cool.
STEP 2 – Whizz the date mixture to a smooth purée in a food processor or blender, then scrape into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, eggs, mixed spice and vanilla, and set aside while you prepare the apples.
STEP 3 – Quarter and core the apples, then slice quite thinly, tossing in a little lemon juice as you go. Quickly beat together the cake ingredients with an electric whisk until smooth, then scrape into the baking tray. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping in rows, on top of the cake – you should be able to get 3 rows lengthways down the tray. Bake for 45-50 mins until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tray.
STEP 4 – Put the toffees in a small pan with a good splash of milk and gently melt, stirring, until runny. To finish, dust with a little icing sugar, then drizzle sauce all over the cake. Cut into squares or slices to serve.
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All recipes were taken from BBC Good Food.