Typically associated with the colder months of the year, and the spookiest of the year in October, pumpkin is often overlooked as a serious culinary treat. Take advantage of the time of year, visit a pumpkin patch and take a look at our favourite recipes for the scariest vegetable of the lot.

Pumpkin and bacon soup

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 150g maple-cured bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ½ Crown Prince pumpkin or onion squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into medium chunks (you need about 500g pumpkin flesh)
  • 1l chicken stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
  1. Use a large pan to heat oil with 25g butter, before adding finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt, cooking on low heat for 10 mins or until soft. Add 60g bacon, cook for 5 mins until the bacon loses its fat, then increase the heat to medium, adding pumpkin and stock and season.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 40 mins until the pumpkin is soft. Set aside some of the liquid, and blend any remaining pumpkin until smooth, then add liquid back into the pan bit by bit as you go. Strain through a sieve and set aside.
  3. Melt any remaining butter in a pan over a high heat and fry the rest of the bacon with black pepper for 5 mins. Divide bacon between four bowls, reheat soup and pour over. To serve, sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and drizzle with maple syrup.

Pumpkin and caramel cake

Ingredients (serves 10-12):

Cake

  • 80ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g pack vanilla or white cake mix (or make your own cake mix, see tip below)
  • ½ x 425g can pumpkin purée
  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Spread

  • 4 tbsp dulce de leche from a jar

Filling

  • 225g full-fat cream cheese
  • 125g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ x 425g can pumpkin purée
  • 440ml double cream

Decorate

  • 70g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  1. Heat to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease the bases of two 23cm cake tins, before beating the oil, cake mix, pumpkin purée, milk, eggs and spice mixture in a big bowl until smooth. Pour mixture into tins and bake for 22-25 mins.
  2. Beat the cream cheese briefly in a medium bowl until fluffy, before adding icing sugar, spice and pumpkin purée and beating until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat or it will go runny. In another bowl, whip the cream and fold it gently into the cream cheese mixture.
  3. When the cakes are cool, cut each one in half horizontally so you have four thin sponges. Put the bottom layer on a plate, spread with 1 tbsp dulce de leche, then smooth over a quarter of the filling. Add the next layer and repeat until you have an amazing tower of pumpkin, cake, caramel and cream, then sprinkle the pecans on top.

Are you cooking pumpkin this Halloween? Let us know across our social media channels.