Comfort food to me is the food that stimulates your senses and transports you back to another time and place. That mouthful of memories that is kickstarted by the first whiff or bite.

One of my fondest memories are these delicate miniture pumkins called 'Little Jacks' or 'Mini Pudding Pumpkins' or 'Jack O Lanterns', my mumsy used to steam/boil them for us with a dollop of butter in the centre often. The skin are soft when cooked and a great source of fibre and roughage.

These little pumkins can be served in a multitude of ways, but I personally love to make little pot pies with them when they are in season and I am entertaining vegetarian guests.

Give them a try you'll be back for more ...

Preparing & Cooking time - 1hr 30mins
Serves:  4

For The Pie Casings:
4 Jack O'Lantern /  Mini Pudding  Pumpkins

For the filling:
4 baby marrows/ Courgettes
3 small sweet potatoes/ yams
3 large tomatoes or 6 small tomatoes
2 Tbsp Double Cream Yoghurt
150ml full cream milk
300ml vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tsp Eleven in One Masala
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

For the crust:
Ready made Puff Pastry

For the pumpkins:
Boil the mini pumpkins in a pot of boiling water , add a Tbsp salt to the water. You will need to boil for 30 mins and turn over , boil the second side for half an hour.
Test with a knife to ensure they are soft but firm. DO NOT OVERCOOK!
Set these aside.

For the filling:
In a pot pour in the 300ml chicken stock and allow to heat up. Rinse the sweet potatoes and Courgettes and chop into chunks. Rinse the tomatoes and cut into chunks, put all the veg into the the pot with the veg stock and bring to the boil. Cook the veg until soft but firm. Add the milk , spices, coconut oil and double cream yoghurt. Turn down and allow to simmer on low heat.

Assembly of the pumpkins:
Place the pumpkins on a cutting board and carefully cut the top of the pumpkin so that you do not penetrate the bottom of the pumpkin, but allowing you to remove the pips and excess flesh (place this into the pot with the veg to thicken the sauce). Stir the pumpkin flesh into the veg , remove from the heat and spoon into the pumpkins , ensuring to push it into the entire hollowed area and add enough of the sauce.

From the Puff Pastry you will need to cut 4 circles large enough to cover the top of the pumpkins ( there is no need for butter or egg , unless of course you would like to brush this on the pastry). I like to cut little diamond shapes or leaf design and place these on top.

Bake on 180'c for 30mins and serve immediately.

Cooks notes -
This is a vegetarian and banting friendly recipe.

** you can easily use these as a soup starter by liquidising the filling and thinning it down with milk until the desired consistency is achieved. In this instance you can make cheesy fingers from the puff pastry for dipping.

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