Halloween is traditionally regarded as a day to honour the deceased, but it has evolved into an occasion filled with eccentric and quirky attire, unusual treats and surprises; and last but certainly not least, eye-catching and fascinating meals to honour the iconic occasion that is celebrated by people all over the world. As Halloween approaches, we are all poised to enchant our readers with a spooky Halloween-themed recipes to enjoy a fun-filled mysterious evening.
Mini Graveyard Dirt Cakes with California Walnuts
70ml white chocolate melting wafers
8 California walnut halves
1 small tube black decorating gel
3 cups vanilla whole milk yogurt
6 chocolate sandwich cookies
1/2 cup California walnut halves
1. Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper.
2. Place white chocolate in a small microwave safe dish. Heat chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring with a spoon between each interval, until white chocolate is almost melted (you don’t want the chocolate to burn). Stir chocolate vigorously until all wafers are melted.
3. Using a fork, dip each California walnut half into the chocolate, cover with chocolate, then remove, shaking excess back into the bowl. Place walnut halves onto wax paper.
4. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Remove halves from refrigerator and write the letters “RIP” on each walnut halve using the black decorating gel.
1. Layer yogurt at the bottom of four short and wide mason jars or glass bowls.
2. Add cookies and walnut halves to a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form, about one minute.
3. Spoon crumbs over-top yogurt. Place two gravestones in each mason jar graveyard. Serve or refrigerate until serving.
California Walnut and Wild Mushroom Hand Pies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup (50 mL) cold cream cheese, cubed
3 tablespoons whipping cream (35 % M.F.)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled
2 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cups combination of shiitake caps, oyster and chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup California walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Pulse flour and salt in food processor.
- Add butter and cream cheese, pulse just until dough forms pea-sized pieces. Drizzle cream evenly over dough and pulse until it begins to clump.
- Remove dough from processor, pat into round (add 1 tablespoon cream if dough does not hold together), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days).
1. Pour boiling water over crumbled porcini mushrooms, let stand 10 minutes.
2. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add fresh mushrooms and California walnuts to pan, cook 5 minutes.
- Add wine and porcini mushrooms with water, cook 7 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, cool. Stir in cheese. Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.
4. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Using 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut 24 circles.
- Add 1 heaping tablespoon mushroom mixture to centre of 12 circles. Brush edges of pastry with egg, place remaining rounds of dough on top and crimp edges with fork.
- Slit tops with knife. Arrange 2-inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with egg.
- Bake in centre of 180° C heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden. Serve warm.
Baked Pumpkin Custard
Ingredients : 6 small sugar pumpkins, approx. 400g each, and about 4-inches in diameter (to be used as decorative bowls) 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 cup non-fat or low-fat evaporated milk, 6 tablespoons chopped, toasted California walnuts
*NOTE: These crustless, individual custards can be baked either in small, hollowed-out pumpkins or in ramekins. Instructions for both methods are given.
Preparations : To prepare the pumpkins, if you are using them, remove the stem end from each, and scrape the seeds and fibers from inside the pumpkins. Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each pumpkin, so they will sit flat, without wobbling. Alternately, coat 6 ramekins, each about 170g capacity, with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 230°C In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, and stir with a whisk or spoon until evenly blended. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and beat until completely mixed. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. If you are using pumpkins, divide the filling among them, pouring about 1/2 cup into each. Place the pumpkins on a parchment-lined shallow baking pan, with their tops next to them. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue baking about 1 hour more, or until the pumpkins are tender when pierced. If the tops are done sooner, remove them. If you are using ramekins, pour about 1/2 cup of filling into each. Place the ramekins on a shallow baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 163°C and bake about 25 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean or almost clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool (cool for an hour if baked in pumpkins). Serve the custards warm, sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of walnuts. Accompany with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. The pumpkin lids may be placed atop the pumpkins, or at a jaunty angle alongside.
Recipes By Sabyasachi Gorai