7 Halloween recipes with serious hex factor

Cast a sweet spell with our magical Halloween recipes, from spooky brownies and cupcakes to a suitably ‘devilled’ pumpkin soup.

Wicked witch cupcakes

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

MAKES 14-16

40g unsalted butter, diced
100g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg
100g plain flour, sifted
75ml buttermilk
pinch of sea salt
⅓ tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder, sifted
red food colour paste (see method)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
⅓ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Arrange fairy-cake cases in fairy-cake tins. In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until light and fluffy, then incorporate the egg. Add the flour in two goes and the buttermilk in between. Add the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Start to add food colouring a tiny bit at a time, until the mixture is a dusky red.

2. In a small bowl combine the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, which will fizz. Add this to the main batter and combine. Fill the paper cases by roughly a third (about 2 tsp mixture each). Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen almost to the top of the paper. Leave to cool; the cakes will level a little.

3. To make a frosting, combine 200g full-fat cream cheese with 100g mascarpone in a large bowl. Beat together using a wooden spoon until smooth, then fold in 75g sifted icing sugar and ⅓ tsp vanilla extract. Tint as desired with a little orange food colouring. Dollop a heaped teaspoon on top of each cupcake, chill for an hour then finish each one with bought or homemade edible decorations. We used Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing (from lakeland.co.uk) to make our witches’ hats.

Halloween brownies

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

MAKES 1 TRAY FOR SLICING

300g dark chocolate (about 50 per cent)
180g lightly salted butter, diced
180g light muscovado sugar
4 medium eggs plus 1 egg yolk extra
115g ground almonds
100g plain flour
15g cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp dark rum
70g chopped dark chocolate (about 70 per cent)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Break up and gently melt the 300g dark chocolate with the butter in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and extra yolk one by one, beating after each addition and continuing to beat at the end until very glossy and amalgamated.

2. Gently fold in the ground almonds. Sift over the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Fold these in gently without overmixing. Stir in the orange juice and rum, and finally fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour the mixture into a nonstick brownie tin (about 23cm square x 4cm deep).

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the outside edges of the brownie are risen and slightly cracked, leaving just a few gooey crumbs clinging when tested with a skewer. Run a knife around the edges and leave to cool in the tin overnight. Trim and slice into squares (9 jumbo, 16 medium or 25 mini). Dust with cocoa powder.
4. Make chocolate icing by mixing 5 tbsp icing sugar with 3 tbsp cocoa powder and just enough water to combine. Add a dab to each brownie and finish with bought or homemade edible decorations. We used Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing (from lakeland.co.uk) to make our pumpkin shapes and rice paper to make ghost shapes, which can be added to the design.

Halloween punch

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

1. The day before, make 2 trays (24 cubes) of cranberry ice cubes – simply fill your trays with cranberry juice from a carton and freeze.

2. Place the ice cubes in a jug or punch bowl, pour over 300ml chilled vodka (or use orange juice if avoiding alcohol) and the juice of 1 lime. Add a few thin slices of apple and sliced half-moons of lime and muddle together. Pour in 300ml chilled pomegranate juice and 300ml chilled cranberry juice and stir. Ladle into glasses to serve.

Apple ring pudding with ginger cake and blackberries

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

FOR THE BASE LAYER
1 x McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger cake sliced 1.5cm thick
1kg bramley cooking apples
50g unsalted butter, melted
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
50g light muscovado sugar

TO TOP AND SERVE
2-3 red-skinned eating apples (as needed)
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 heaped tbsp light
muscovado sugar
120g blackberries
custard or cream, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Arrange the sliced cake in the base of a baking dish of about 1.5 litre capacity (for example a 30cm oval dish or round equivalent). Peel and core the bramleys, slice them thinly vertically and toss with the remaining base ingredients in a large bowl. Spread this mixture on top of the ginger cake. Drizzle over any juices in the bowl and level the fruit using your hands.

2. For the top, core the eating apples without peeling and thinly slice them into rings, discarding the ends. Arrange the rings, partially overlapping, on top of the cooking apples. Drizzle with the butter and scatter over the sugar. Scatter the blackberries on top, arranging some in the middle of the apple rings. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve about 10 minutes out of the oven, with custard or cream.

Chocolate ghost pots

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

MAKES 6

FOR THE MOUSSE POTS
125g milk chocolate
125g dark chocolate (about 70 per cent)
6 medium eggs, separated

FOR THE GHOSTS
200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g fat-free greek yoghurt (for example Total)
chocolate chips and beans

1. Break up and gently melt the two types of chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Working as quickly as possible, stir the yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture, which will appear grainy at first, but then turn glossy and thick. Beat two large spoonfuls of the whisked whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then very lightly fold in the remainder in two goes. Spoon the mousse equally into 6 x 150ml pots. Cover and chill for several hours.

3. For the ghosts, combine the cream and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to firm fluffy peaks, then fold in the yoghurt. Drop a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each pot and spread it out a little. Dollop a slightly smaller spoonful on top of this, and then half this amount on top, finishing with a swirl, so you have a ‘ghost’ shape. Dot with chocolate chips and a chocolate coffee bean to create the eyes and mouth. Chill until required.

Pumpkin custard pie

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

MAKES 1 X 20CM PIE

About 250g sweet shortcrust pastry

FOR THE FILLING

1 small pumpkin or butternut squash (about 600g)
185ml double cream
150g golden syrup
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
pinch of fine sea salt
3 medium eggs
freshly grated nutmeg

TO SERVE
Crème fraîche

1. Have ready a 20cm tart tin about 3cm deep and a baking sheet. Keep the pastry in the fridge until ready to roll. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Prick the pumpkin all over using a fine skewer, place it in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour.

2. Turn the oven up to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and press it into the base and sides of the tin. Lay a sheet of clingfilm over the top and smooth the pastry into place with your fingers, taking it very slightly higher than the rim and trimming the edge with a knife. Place the tin on the baking sheet.

3. Cut open the pumpkin, discard any seeds and scoop out and weigh 300g of the cooked flesh (save leftovers for another use). Place this in a food processor with all the ingredients for the filling except the nutmeg and whiz to a smooth cream. Pour into the pastry case and grate over a liberal dusting of nutmeg. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly golden and set; the filling may wobble slightly but will firm as it cools and chills. Set aside to cool. Loosely cover with foil and chill for at least a couple of hours. It will keep well in the fridge for several days. Serve with crème fraîche on the side.

Devilled pumpkin soup

Halloween recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

30g coconut oil
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
1 celery heart, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1kg pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
1 heaped tsp garam masala
300g small tomatoes, halved or quartered
150g red lentils, rinsed
sea salt

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onions, celery and
chilli for 7-8 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured, stirring frequently and adding the garlic just before the end. Roughly chop the pumpkin, add to the pan and cook for a minute or two longer, then stir in the garam masala. Stir in the tomatoes and the lentils. Add 1 litre of water and season with salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Whiz the soup in batches in a processor, retaining some texture to your liking. Season to taste and heat through as necessary.
2. If wished serve the soup scattered with a few sliced piquillo peppers (for example Fragata brand) and toasted seed sprinkle (for example The Food Doctor Super Seeds Mix).

Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.