Monday, 8 October 2012

Regarding Pumpkin Filling

Today is a cooking day.

My mother has chosen a wonderful way to express this: she is making little sweet rice-flour-cakes stuffed with pumpkin filling.

Well, she's trying to.

After realising that Just Pumpkin Paste was far too thin for our nefarious industrious purposes, we set about trying to find ways to make it thicker. Cornflour, we decided, was too boring - and thus was born a magnificent scouring of fridge, pantry, and cupboards as we frantically lazily searched for anything which would improve the taste and texture of our pumpkin paste.

Here are a few of the things we rejected. Some of them are lies.

-Peanut butter
-Sweetened condensed milk (I was bitterly disappointed when they shot this one down)
-Another form of pumpkin custard that I'd made a few days ago
-An entire stalk of Cabbages on a Stick
-Sweetened condensed milk again
-Chocolate truffles and cream (which we would have done if we hadn't been out of cream)
-The Immortal Yam-Creature (which may be explained in the future)

Eventually, sugar was added. Then Mummy, inspired by the pumpkin custard suggestion, decided to add some cream cheese. She did this by pulling the remaining half-box (left over from the custard) out of the fridge and tossing it into the bowl of pumpkin paste. Not quite satisfied with the visual effect, she scooped a bit of paste out of the bowl and set it on top of the white brick.

'Beautiful,' we pronounced. Kristebel took pictures (with a desk lamp for lighting).

Then we began to stir the contents of the bowl. This attempt was met with moderate success until the two ingredients stopped blending and sat next to each other in small, unappetising clumps. Kristebel took more pictures of this while I pointed out that the food-processor was amazing at blending creamy things like this, and we got that out and used it instead. We began tossing in ingredients to thicken and sweeten the mixture (Mummy and I had the same reaction after licking the traces from the sugar-pumpkin bowl, and this was a mixture of grimacing, blinking, and teeth-licking).

Another excerpt from the Hunt for Thickeners:

Mummy's muffled voice from inside the cupboard: 'Marshmallow fluff!'
Brief pause.
'I can't open it!'
Another pause.
'Have we got any more marshmallow fluff?'

I managed to get the jar open and we scooped most of that in. (In retrospect, we were basically creating George's Marvellous Medicine all over again except that none of us is called George and we were making pumpkin filling rather than any actual cure for anything but hunger and curiosity.)

In the end, we'd cobbled together a mixture of

pumpkin paste,
cream cheese,
three sorts of sugar,
two permutations of marshmallows,
two eggs,
melted chocolate,
and a glorious sense of bliss fuelled by a determination to be victorious in the face of adversity and thin pumpkin paste (sometimes these things are one and the same).

As I write this, the filling-creature is in the oven. The rice-flour-cakes have been finished and stuffed with smooshed red-beans*. As you may have guessed from the previous information, none of the pumpkin mixture actually ended up in the rice-creatures. We are planning to eat it as a custard.


*This choice of filling prompted us to invent a new game show ('Potato or Giant Bean?') based on Mummy's honest queries during the handling of red-bean paste.