- 4 x 350g (11oz) heirloom pumpkins
- 1/4 cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60g) fine sea salt
- 100 gram (3oz) butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup (110g) self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 3/4 cup (85g) ground pecans (see tip)
- 350 gram (11oz) butternut pumpkin, peeled, chopped
- 2 cup (500ml) thickened (heavy) cream
- 395 gram (12½oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 50 gram (1½oz) butter, chopped
- 1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup (250ml) pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (125ml) water
- 1Make pumpkin ice-cream; microwave pumpkin in a microwave-safe dish on HIGH (100%) for 4 minutes or until soft; drain. Mash pumpkin until smooth; you will need 1 cup mashed pumpkin. Cool. Beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add condensed milk and vanilla; beat until firm peaks form. Fold in cooked pumpkin. Pour mixture into a loaf pan. Cover; freeze for 4 hours or overnight until firm.
- 2Clean heirloom pumpkins on the outside. With a knife, cut open the top of the pumpkins in one piece to give each a 7cm (2¾in) wide opening. Scrape out the seeds; reserve tops.
- 3Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Combine caster sugar and salt in a small bowl; sprinkle sugar mixture inside pumpkins to coat all over. Place pumpkins upside-down in a colander in the sink; stand for 15 minutes. Rinse inside of pumpkins; pat dry with paper towel until as dry as possible.
- 4Beat butter and brown sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Stir in sifted flour and mixed spice, then ground pecans until combined.
- 5Place pumpkins on lined tray; spoon mixture into pumpkin shells until about two-thirds full.
- 6Bake pumpkins for 45 minutes (cover loosely with foil if they start to over-brown). Add reserved pumpkin tops to tray; bake pumpkins and tops for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding comes out clean. Leave pumpkins on tray for 30 minutes.
- 7Meanwhile, make maple caramel sauce; place ingredients in a medium heavy-based saucepan over low heat; stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.
- 8Serve pumpkin puddings with ice-cream, drizzled with warm sauce.
For the ground pecans, process 1 cup (120g) pecans until as finely ground as almond meal. Pumpkin ice-cream and maple caramel sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead; keep sauce covered in the fridge. Pumpkin spiced puddings are best made on day of serving.
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