It’s one more sleep until Halloween so we thought we’d ask Louise Barnard from Baby Bites to share three of her scrummiest pumpkin recipes for babies and toddlers. Baby Bites offers organic gourmet frozen foods, home delivered for your baby. They also teach a range of classes to give parents the confidence to cook for their children.
Pumpkins hog the limelight at this time of year with their show stopping colours and shapes until their grand finale as the belles of the ball on Halloween night. They’re delicious in all manner of dishes such as the Tartiflette recipe below, roasted in wedges with chilli, soy and lime or as warming hearty soup or curry.
The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular it boasts very high levels of beta-carotene, which your body automatically converts to vitamin A, identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in foetuses and newborns.
What’s more, with each serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
1. Pecan and Honey Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Makes 1 loaf, 12 muffins or lots of mini muffins.
For babies under the age of one you can use agave syrup instead of honey.
Agave syrup is extracted from the agave cactus. It is slightly thinner than honey,
has very little flavour but tastes sweeter than sugar. Itâ€™s a natural sweetener
with a low glycemic index so it has a similar effect on blood sugar levels as fructose
(fruit sugar) as opposed to sucrose (table sugar). I often use this as a sugar
replacement in dishes such as muffins, banana bread or pancakes where sugar is
not an essential part of the recipe.
If you would like to reduce the quantity of honey or agave syrup added over all
then replace it with extra pumpkin puree or other fruit puree.
I have added lots of spices you could replace these with 2-3tsps of mixed spice.
Other than needing to prepare the pumpkin puree this is an incredibly quick
recipe only needing two mixing bowls to initially combine the dry and wet
This recipe can be made with mashed bananas or any other kind of fruit puree.
To prepare pumpkin puree:
Chop the pumpkin or squash into half, remove the seeds and stringy bits. Lie face
down on an oiled tray and place in a hot oven (approx. 180C) for 40mins â€“ 1 hour
until the flesh is soft. Leave it until itâ€™s cool enough to handle, then scoop out the
flesh, mash or puree. Any excess
- 125gm flour
- 125gm wholemeal flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 120ml olive oil
- 150gm honey or agave syrup
- 250gm pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 75gm chopped pecans (reserve approx. half for sprinkling on the top)
- 75gm pumpkin seeds
- 100gm cranberries
- 1tsp cinnamon
- Â˝tsp nutmeg
- Â˝tsp cardamom
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
- Line an 8 x 4 inch loaf tin with greaseproof paper or prepare your muffin tray with cases.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The trick is to not over mix the batter or it will result in a tough loaf or muffin. Try not to use more than 10-15 strokes. The batter only needs to be just combined, it will continue to blend as it bakes and the lumps will disappear. If you over mix the batter the gluten will begin to develop and make it very hard for the baking powder to do itâ€™s job.
- Pour or spoon into the loaf tin or muffin cases, only fill until 1/2 or 2/3 full, sprinkle with chopped pecans.
- Bake a loaf for approx. 45 minutes or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Muffins will take approx. 20-25 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly and the middle is not quite done, turn the temperature down 10-15C.
- Can be served with yoghurt, cream or marscapone with a little orange zest and apricot compote added.
2. Roast Pumpkin and Butterbean Hummus
This is a lovely dip for lunches and snacks with roasted vegetable sticks or cruditĂ©s. Hummus freezes really well and the beans are full of easy to digest protein.
- 200gm peeled and chopped pumpkin or squash
- a can of butterbeans, drained
- 2-3tbsp olive oil
- a squeeze of lemon
- a squeeze of orange
- 1tbsp tahini (opt)
- a little water
(You may also wish to add a little salt, pepper and fresh garlic after portioning out a bit for your baby)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C
- Chop the pumpkin into chunks. Place on a roasting tray drizzled with a little olive oil and with a squeeze of orange juice.
- Roast for 20-30 minutes until softened and starting to caramelize.
- Remove from the oven and place in a jug or pot with any roasting oils and juices.
- Add the chickpeas, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and tahini, if using.
- Puree with a stick blender until the desired consistency is reached. Add water as required.
Try this recipe with different roast vegetables and different beans. For example roast beetroot and chickpeas.
3. Pumpkin Tartiflette
This is not something to eat on a daily basis. It’s comfort food taken to the
extreme -designed to keep skiers warm and nourished up mountains. On a cold autumn day before heading out trick-or-treating itâ€™s perfect.
It is a luxuriant mix of potatoes, bacon, white wine and Reblochon cheese -
a bubbling, oozy, creamy bake that conjures up scenes of log fires in snowy
Reblechon is not the only suitable cheese, anything that melts nicely will
work and for very young children cheddar or Brie would be just fine.
I have made this version with duck fat which some of you may think is excessive
or even more unhealthy than necessary but duck fat is better for you than many
other animal fats. It contains much higher levels of Omega 6 linoleic acid,
unlike chicken and turkey fat and is more like olive oil in its composition than
butter or beef.
- 600gm of firm waxy potatoes
- 300gm pumpkin or squash
- 300gm crĂ¨me fraiche
- 200ml white wine or chicken stock
- 200gm smoked bacon lardons or smoked ham
- 2tsp duck fat or olive oil plus a little extra for greasing the dish
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 bay leaves
- 250gm Reblechon cheese (or anything that melts well, cheddar is fine for kids)
- salt and pepper opt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Place in a pan of cold water with theÂ bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and cook tender. Drain andÂ leave to cool a little.
- Whilst the potatoes are cooking, thinly slice the onion and garlic, put in a
- pan with the duck fat or olive oil and slowly cook for a few minutes until
- softened. Add the bacon lardons, continue to cook until the lardons have
- started to caramelise.
- Peel and finely slice the pumpkin or butternut squash.
- Grease an oven-proof dish with a little more duck fat or oil. Line it withÂ half of the potatoes, then a layer using half of the butternut squash thenÂ cover with the bacon and onion mix. Pour over the wine and then spoonÂ over most of the crĂ¨me fraiche. Cover the bacon mix with the remains ofÂ the pumpkin layer and finally finish with the rest of the potatoes. SpoonÂ over any remaining crĂ¨me fraiche over this. Sprinkle with a little salt andÂ pepper if you like and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until startingÂ to brown. The squash should be cooked though, which you can test byÂ inserting a knife tip.
- Now take your piece of Rebelchon, cut through horizontally and placeÂ both pieces on top of your Tartiflette. Return this to the oven for a furtherÂ 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is starting to bubble and turn golden.
This can be served as a main course with lots of salad or green steamedÂ vegetables on the side.