Although I bet by now almost every Halloween lover has its decorations in place, maybe not everyone has decided on what to serve their ‘scary’ guests just yet. I am one of those who usually spends half a day in the kitchen when they have guests for dinner, but I am completely aware that not everybody has that kind of time. There is a certain satisfaction though when you get compliments for how good the food was, and that is exactly why I avoid serving takeaway or semi-prepared food.
It seems, though, that Halloween food has invaded the supermarkets and nobody feels the need to spend any preparation on snacks or dinner for this event. I mean, ‘come on … Isn’t picking out your costume hard enough?’ Well… maybe it is. But I still love that smell of pumpkin roasting in the oven, that fills up my house and makes it ten times cozier.
Therefore, this year I chose to go super simple but amazingly delicious! I give to you: the hot & spicy roasted pumpkin! It is the simplest thing ever and you can make endless trays of this dish because it is just as good cold as it is hot.
There is a large selection of pumpkin and squash out there to be used for this recipe and I am certain all of them work just fine. I do particularly like the Hokkaido pumpkin, though, because once roasted its skin becomes edible and you can simply nibble on the wedges until you’re stuffed.
In order to maximize the ‘my house smells like cold winters in my grandma’s kitchen’ effect, I really recommend you grind the spices yourself. There is something about freshly ground cinnamon, cloves and anise that just makes everything taste and smell like childhood. At least, it does it for me! After grinding all the spices, give them a good mix with some olive oil and sea salt and coat those lovely yellow wedges until you see no more dry spots.
Because I love the sweet & spicy taste I prefer to top the wedges with some brown sugar. I have tried using maple syrup instead but unfortunately, it makes the pumpkin soggy and washes away the spices. If you really want to avoid sugar at all costs you could maybe sweeten it with honey (but that might be a bit too sweet). The sugar also encrusts all the other spices once it starts melting in the oven and the result is a wonderful golden-brown crust.
You can always replace the sriracha with a less spicy sauce, or just exclude it altogether. I actually don’t recommend it for children and that is why I add it only at the end. Besides the pinch of hotness, it also adds a ‘bloody’ look to your pumpkin snack which I’m sure will fit right into your Halloween décor.
You can find the recipe bellow and if you have tried this for Halloween or any other day please let me know how it went! I am always happy to hear about variations on the recipe as well as any other idea you might have.
- 1 Hokkaido pumpkin of about 800 gr/ 30 ounces
- 15 gr / 1 tablespoon of cloves
- 1 anise star
- half of a medium sized cinnamon stick
- 45 gr / 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 15 gr / 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 115 gr/ ½ cup of brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190° C / 375° F
- Rinse the pumpkin thoroughly on the exterior and let it dry for a few minutes or simply dry it with a towel. Once roasted, the exterior skin becomes very tender and can be easily eaten.
- Cut the pumpkin in two and deseed both halves with a spoon.
- Set the pumpkin aside and if you are using the 'fresh' spices, start grinding them into a fine dust. You can of course just use a store-bought blend of 'all spices' if you don't have the time or you don't own a grinder.
- Mix the olive oil, spices and sea salt in a bowl and take out a pastry brush for coating.
- While the spices are left for a short maceration in the bowl, cut the two pumpkin halves into slim wedges and place them on an oven tray covered with baking paper.
- Use the pastry brush to coat the wedges with the spice mixture.
- After all wedges are 'spiced-up', drizzle some brown sugar on top of them, with the purpose of creating a thin crust.
- Set them in the oven for about 40 minutes and when they are done quickly drizzle as much Sriracha as you wish over them.
- You can eat them warm or even set them in the fridge for a later re-heating.
Scarry Halloween everyone!