Happy Halloween

Photographer: Adam
serves 4

This Halloween we have an extra special treat, a guest blogger from the local culinary arts school.  Our guest, Liz, used many techniques including balloons and dry ice to create an amazing desert that can only be described as an artfully deconstructed pumpkin pie!  Here are a few words from Liz:

Think Halloween and I instantly think jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins.  Think pumpkin desserts and I think pumpkin pie.  Put the two together and you have a Halloween pumpkin pie.

Before I tell you some more about how to put the dessert together, let me tell you a little about how I got to be writing this blog.  Like most of us, my early food education came from my mother and in my adult life (first as a nurse, then a mother of three) my passion and excitement for food grew.  I love the challenge of trying a new recipe or developing my own.

Now that my kids are becoming more independent I have been fortunate to be able to begin studying towards a Bachelor of Culinary Arts at Otago Polytechnic. This course – the first of its kind – marries fundamental cookery techniques and design methods providing a framework for developing creative and innovative food.  The challenge of thinking about how to take everyday ingredients and mix them with a little magic (well, actually, with some clever techniques and a sound understanding of how to work with flavour and texture!) has been hugely challenging and satisfying for me.  So, if you’re at a stage in life where you’re wondering what’s going to come next – be encouraged, and take a risk or two.

But enough deep thinking from me!  Here’s how to make two of the components in this dish, pumpkin pie ice cream and the crumb.  These can be made at home using simple techniques that produce an amazing flavour.


Pumpkin pie ice cream
1 cup pumpkin puree (pass through a fine sieve)
5 ml vanilla extract
500 ml heavy cream
130 g brown sugar
5 egg yolks
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
pinch nutmeg

125g flour
50g icing sugar
1½ tbsp dark cocoa powder
100g unsalted butter (diced)
½ egg yolk


Pumpkin pie ice cream
1. Whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate.
2. In a saucepan combine 375 ml cream and 80 g brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan (about 5 minutes)
3. In a bowl combine egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 125 ml cream, and 50 g brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.
4. Gradually add the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk. Return the combined mixture to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken, coats the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it.
5. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and place bowl in iced water to cool.
6. Mix the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.
7. Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

1. Place flour, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor and pulse together with the butter and egg yolk. Pulse until just combined.
2. Turn out onto the workbench and bring together. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 160 C. Roll out dough to 5 mm thick and bake for 8-10 mins.
4. Once cool, crumble with your hands to produce a chunky, course crumb.