Mark Hix’s Pumpkin Pie

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This pumpkin pie offers a more accessible version of the American classic. Try to find a ripe orange-fleshed pumpkin if you can, though you can always use a butternut squash instead – they tend to be pretty consistent in terms of their flavour and ripeness.

Ingredients 
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
180g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
a few handfuls pumpkin seeds
icing sugar, for dusting

For the filling:
700g orange-fleshed ripe pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into rough chunks
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
60g butter
200ml double cream
150g caster sugar
1 small egg, beaten

Method
1 First make the pastry. In a food processor, electric mixer or by hand, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Slowly mix in the beaten egg (scraping the sides of the bowl every so often if you are using a mixer), then gradually fold in the flour to form a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2 Lightly grease a 25 x 4 cm deep tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a floured table to about 3 mm thick and cut out a disc just large enough to line the tin. This pastry is quite delicate, but forgiving – if it starts breaking up on you, just patch it up when lining the tin and mould it back together with your fingers.
3 Neaten up the edges of the pastry by pinching with your thumb and forefinger all the way around, then leave to rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
4 Meanwhile, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Put the pumpkin pieces on a roasting tray with the mixed spice and butter.
5 Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Drain and cool in a colander, then blend in a liquidiser until smooth. Push the mix through a conical strainer, colander or sieve to remove any fibrous strands.
6 Bring the cream to the boil, mix with the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add to the blender with the egg and puréed pumpkin and blend until smooth.
7 Turn the oven down to 150°C. Remove the pastry from the fridge, line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 10–15 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden. Remove the beans and paper and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
8 Pour the pumpkin mix up to the top of the tart case and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the filling has set.
9 To serve, put the pumpkin seeds on some foil on a baking tray, dust with icing sugar and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or so until golden. Carefully cut the pie into slices and scatter the seeds over the top. Serve as it is or with crème fraîche or mascarpone.

Recipe courtesy of Mark Hix, extracted from the Mark Hix On Baking cookbook. See more here.

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