Spiced and glowing gold, this pie is pure autumn on a plate. Use butternut squash or your Halloween pumpkin
- 700g chunk butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 250g tub mascarpone
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp maple syrup, plus more to serve
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 x 375g packs chilled dessert pastry
- plain flour, for rolling
- milk, for brushing
- handful pecan halves, very roughly chopped
- icing sugar and whipped cream, to serve
MethodCut the squash into several large pieces, remove any seeds, then toss with the oil in a roasting tin. Roast for about 35 mins or until golden and soft.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 140g pack cubed pancetta
- 1kg braising steak, cubed
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 1 bottle red wine or 750ml beef stock
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 600g whole shallots
- 2 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry jelly
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 egg yolk
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tbsp English mustard powder
- 200g butter, frozen
- Heat half the olive oil in a large pan and cook the pancetta for a few mins until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dust the steak with the flour, then brown in the hot pancetta oil – to stop the pan getting overcrowded, do this in two batches. Return all the steak to the pan along with the pancetta.
- Add the wine and thyme and bring to the boil. Partially cover with a lid, leaving a gap of about 1cm, and simmer for 2 hrs until the meat is tender, stirring from time to time, and once the sauce has thickened and reduced a little, cover the pan completely.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the remaining olive oil and the shallots together. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 45 mins until soft and golden brown.
- To make the pastry crust, sift the flour and mustard into a large bowl, then coarsely grate in the frozen butter. Drizzle over 6-8 tbsp cold water and taking care not to over-handle it, lightly bring together to make a firm dough. Wrap and chill for 30 mins.
- Stir the roasted shallots, jelly and vinegar into the beef and season, then spoon into a 2-litre pie dish. Raise the oven temp to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
- Roll out the pastry and lay over the filling – it’s a good idea to use a pie funnel to support the pastry and prevent it going soggy in the centre, but it’s not essential. Mix the egg yolk with a little salt, then brush over the top of the pastry. Bake for 30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is hot right the way through.
- 100g broccoli, cut into florets
- 85g watercress, chopped
- 4 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
- 425g pack ready-rolled puff pastry sheets
- 1 egg, beaten
- 170g pack poached salmon fillets, flaked
- steamed green beans, to serve
- Cook the broccoli in lots of boiling water until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Drain well and set aside. In a mini chopper or food processor, blitz the watercress and crème fraîche with some seasoning.
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Unroll the pastry sheets. Place one on a baking sheet. Cut out a 2cm-wide border from the second sheet, like a picture frame, and stick this onto the first sheet with some of the beaten egg. Prick the base all over with a fork. Bake for 10 mins until golden.
- Cut remaining pastry into 2cm wide strips. Spread on the crème fraîche, scatter with the flaked salmon, broccoli and seasoning, and top with the strips of pastry to make a lattice.
- Brush with beaten egg and cook for 20-25 mins until pastry is golden and cooked through and the filling is hot. Serve with green beans.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast (or 2 tsp Quick dried yeast)
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 100g mix of dried cranberry, raisins and chopped pecans
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- Mix the flour, yeast and salt and 1½ tsp of the caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the flour. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm (cool rather than hot) water, with a round-bladed knife. Then mix in enough of the remaining water and a bit more if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.
- Put the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy. Timing will depend on the warmth of the room.
- Knock back the dough by gently kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so too much handling now will lose the dough’s lightness. Shape into a ball, then cover and leave for 10 mins.
- Shape by flattening the dough into a rectangle, about 28 x 18cm, scatter on the cranberries, raisins and chopped pecans, then roll up tightly from one of the short ends. Roll into a 52cm-long sausage. Tie into a simple knot and lay on a baking parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and leave for 40-45 mins, or until doubled in size.
- Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for 20 mins or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the loaf if should be firm and sound hollow.
- Finish by making a spiced sugar glaze with the remaining caster sugar, cinnamon and 1 tsp hot water. Brush over bread while it is still warm.