Now that October is here I can finally start thinking about my favorite holiday of the year – Halloween! I love coming up with ideas for spooky bakes, they are just so much fun to make. These Halloween Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin pies take a little bit of time and effort to make but they are so effective and would be a great addition to any Halloween party spread.
They consist of a homemade pumpkin pie base which is topped with a creepy (or cute – the design is up to you!) Jack-O-Lantern face made from pastry. They aren’t complicated to make but you will need to break out your best pumpkin carving skills as the facial details are cut out by hand. I just searched the internet for Jack-O-Lantern faces to get loads of great inspiration for the designs; I went for mostly creepy, evil looking ones but you could do cute or happy faces instead if you like.
You will need eight 4 inch wide tart tins for the pies and a 3 + ¾ inch (or slightly smaller is fine) pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. If you don’t have a pumpkin shaped cutter you can just use a round one instead; your Jack-O-Lantern faces will still look great!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Makes 8 pies.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large egg yolks (reserve 1 of the whites for glazing)
- 2 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1-2 Tbsp ice water
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream for brushing
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp dark or light brown soft sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
1.Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and stir well. Add the cubed butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and no large lumps of butter remain.
2.Add the egg yolks and mix in well then gradually add enough ice cold water to bring to pastry together into a ball.
3.Divide the pastry into two pieces, one a little more than two-thirds and one a little less. Shape each into a disc and wrap in clingfilm, refrigerate for half an hour.
4.Remove the larger piece of pastry from the fridge and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each one into a ball and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick and wide enough to line a 4 inch tart tin. Press the pastry into the tin and leave the excess overhanging. Repeat with the remaining balls of pastry. Place the tart shells in the freezer for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F.
5.Line each tart with a double layer of good quality clingfilm or a piece of baking parchment and fill with either ceramic baking beans or dry rice, fold the clingfilm over the top. I prefer to use rice as baking beans can leave imprints in the pastry.
6.Bake the tarts for 15 minutes then remove the baking beans/rice and clingfilm/parchment and return the tarts to the oven for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the tarts from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes then use a sharp serrated knife to carefully trim off the excess pastry.
7.To make the filling, whisk together the sugars, eggs and pumpkin puree until smooth then whisk in the cornstarch, salt, spices, cream and milk.
8.Carefully pour the filling into the tart shells; depending on the depth of your tart tins you may have a little filling left over. Bake the tarts for 25-30 minutes until they are set but still have a slight wobble in the centre. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
9.While the pies are cooling make the Jack-O-Lanterns. Roll out the remaining disc of pastry to 1/8 inch thick and use an approx 3 + 3/4 inch pumpkin shaped cookie cutter to cut as many pumpkin shapes as you can. Re-roll the trimmings to cut out more shapes; you will need 8 for the pies but it is a good idea to have a couple extra, in case some of your pumpkin faces go wrong. If you don’t have a pumpkin shaped cutter then you can use a round one instead.
10.Place the pumpkins on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Work with one pumpkin at a time, leave the rest in the freezer (they thaw quickly and are easiest to carve when frozen). Now it’s time to use your best pumpkin carving skills! Use a sharp paring knife to carefully cut out Jack-O-Lantern faces; if you are struggling for inspiration then there are lots of ideas on Google!
11.Return the pumpkins to the freezer for 15 minutes. Whisk together the egg white reserved from making the pastry and the Tbsp of cream. Brush the pumpkins with the egg mixture then bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
12.To serve, carefully turn the pies out of the tins and top each one with a Jack-O-Lantern. Keep refrigerated and eat within three days.
Love these! great for kids. Really nice work (:
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