As the weather cools, welet the kitchen warm us. We’re roasting, we’re baking, we’re making pies and tarts and pizza. Yum!
Autumn is an abundant time of year when many delicious plants are ready for harvest. We get to reap the benefits of nutritious figs and fill our cupboard with pumpkins to savour through the colder months to come. It’s also time for the food we eat to get heartier – more warming dishes and comforting meals begin to fill our bellies.
Pumpkins are probably the most renowned autumn crop, likely due to the American ‘fall’ traditions of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins can be stored for months when picked on the dark moon, and in old times before supermarkets and refrigeration, this was a miracle because it would allow the nutrients of the warmer months to be carried into winter.
Aside from pumpkin, corn and garlic are two vegetables that are also in season in autumn. When it comes to fruit, the rose family, which includes pears and apples, are ripe for the picking. In spring they blossom, in summer they develop fruit, and come autumn they are ready to share sweet fruit with us before going dormant over winter.
Easter is the holiday during the autumn of the Southern Hemisphere, so a time for chocolatey treats for many! My chocolate and bay tart uses bay leaves to impart a delicate sweet spice to the richness of the chocolate filling. While bay leaves are perennial and not unique to the season, they are a symbol of peace and have long been associated with Easter. This was the inspiration for infusing their sweet, soft spice with rich, decadent chocolate.
Savouring the season
Let the produce of autumn’s harvest get you inspired to get creative in the kitchen. Here are some favourites that you’ll find on regular rotation on my autumn table:
Roast butternut pumpkin with black barley
Stuffed butternuts make a glorious seasonal dinner centrepiece in this hearty and flavoursome dish. If you don’t have time to pre-sprout the barley, this step is optional – although recommended!
You can’t go wrong with a classic homestyle apple pie, and this one ticks all the boxes, with its buttery crust, hearty filling, and crumbly topping.
Sweet fig pizza with salted caramel and chocolate
In this recipe, homemade pizza bases are smothered with sweet bechamel, and topped with figs, chocolate chips, and salted caramel sauce. A sprinkle of orange zest is the final magic touch.
Chocolate and bay Easter tart
This exquisite tart infuses the soft sweet flavour of bay leaves through its silky chocolate filling. Bay leaves are a traditional symbol of peace, long associated with Easter, making it perfect for seasonal spreads at this time of year – or any occasion that calls for a showstopping chocolate treat!
This sweet pumpkin pie has it all: a melt-in-your mouth pastry crust, a rich cinnamon and nutmeg-spiced pumpkin filling, and a fluffy layer of whipped coconut cream to top it all off. It’s surprisingly easy, too – just remember to factor in time for it to cool and set in the fridge overnight.
Images: Kelly Harwood Photography.