Munchkins are great aren’t they, cuz you can drop them into your jacko-lantern displays with minimal effort to spiffing effect. But what the blazes do you do with them when Halloween is done?
Cuz the deal with salt baking is, it really intensifies the flavour of whatever it is that’s being baked in salt, and keeps it moist too boot. So prepare yourself for a hit of pure pumpkin pleasure, and a dish fit for a vegetarian’s banquet.
You can play around with the encased veggie choices to suit what’s in season. Turnips, beets and potatoes all make for stellar salt baking. Try the first with a wholegrain mustard cream, and the potatoes with rosemary cream.
1 hr 30 mins | serves 5 | bit o’faff
5 munchkin pumpkins, washed
500g plain flour
300g fine sea salt – table salt will do if you don’t want to break the bank
1 tbsp veg or rapeseed oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig thyme
1 glass white wine
200ml veg stock
200ml double cream
large handful summer savoury, roughly chopped
Oven’s at 180°C / gas 4.
Make a salt dough with the salt and flour, gradually adding 300ml water until you have a firm dough. You may not need all the water, so go steady. Slice the dough into 5 discs and roll them out so they are big enough to fit around the munchkins.
Wrap each munchkin up so it is totally encased then place on a lined baking tray and bake for 1 hr. Stick a skewer in the middle to check they are soft and cooked inside. They may need a little longer depending on how big they are.
For the cream, fry the shallots, garlic and thyme in the oil until soft but without taking on any colour. Add the wine and reduce by three quarters. Add the stock and reduce by half. Add the cream, bring to the boil then reduce until thickened, about 10 mins.
Strain the cream to remove the shallots and garlic and return the cream to the pan. Stir in the savoury, season, taste and adjust if needed.
Serve on a platter with the pumpkins busted out of their jackets and the cream in a boat. Don’t dally, you won’t be able to wait!
We’re riffing with a recipe by Dan Doherty, of Duck and Waffle fame, for salt baked turnips.