October 24th, 2016

Halloween Recipe: Sweet Pumpkin Breakfast Soup with Mini Dumplings


All Hallow’s Eve is one of those special times of the year I always think of when I’m missing my homeland. In Poland, we spend these few days at the end of October visiting the graves of our loved ones. It may sound like a rather dreary thing to do, yet it feels quite magical. As we visit the graves of our deceased, one by one, we tidy them and light new candles on them. The graves glow enchantingly and the cemeteries are filled with light, colour and people. It’s a social event, where you are likely to bump into people who you haven’t seen in a long time. You might catch up at a grave of a family member you have in common, or if it’s the end of the day, you might go to someone’s house for some tea and cake (and a bit of moonshine most likely). Even though it’s not the fun-filled Halloween you have in the West, our Halloween has its own melancholy charm. You might shed a tear or two, yet there is something cleansing and authentic about visiting these graves. I also remember visiting many graves of people I didn’t know: an uncle my mother always had fond memories of who had died in a fire; my great-grandparents who had some argument once (no one knew what it was about) and spent the remainder of their lives living next door to one another yet not speaking to each other. You learn a lot about your family history on days like these.

Halloween is a family orientated time of the year for us and, therefore, I would like to share a family recipe. It’s the first recipe in my book, Polska, because it’s a special one for me. My mum would make this soup for me at this time of the year only, when the pumpkins came. It’s a warm and nourishing breakfast soup, perfect for a day in the cemetery or trick-or-treating, as you prefer.

Sweet Pumpkin Breakfast Soup with Mini Dumplings (serves 4)

Cooking time: 30min

1 small pumpkin

150-200g flour

1 egg

700ml milk

1tblsp sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

Large pinch of salt

Let me start off by explaining the concept of “zacierki” – they are a cross between little pasta shapes and dumplings. You make them by combining the flour and egg with a little water and forming a dough ball.

Kneed the dough ball for a few minutes. It’s ready when it stops being sticky and falls away from your hand – add more flour if it feels too sticky.

You make “zacierki” by ripping little bits of the dough ball off and forming them, between two fingers, into very small oblong shapes, rather like a cardamon pod or orzo pasta shapes. Don’t take too much time on the formation of each bit, because it could take hours and actually that’s no the point. These dumplings are super easy to make – as a guide 2 sec on each one is more than enough. It’s fine if they are all different shapes and sizes too.

For the soup: cook the pumpkin chunks in a little water until completely soft, which can take up to 25min.

In a separate pan, cook the “zacierki” in the milk, which takes about 5min.

Grate some nutmeg into the milk while the “zacierki” are cooking.

Then, simply combine the two, adding sugar and a little bit of salt to taste and simmering for a couple of minutes together. The pumpkin should be falling apart and making the soup quite orange.

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