300g gingernut biscuits
350ml maple syrup , plus extra to serve
350g full-fat cream cheese
300g pumpkin purée
300ml double cream
Blitz 250g of the biscuits in a food processor with 125ml of the syrup until it resembles fine crumbs. Line a 20cm springform tin with baking parchment, then firmly push the crumbs into the base, transfer to the fridge and chill for 30 mins.
Beat 100ml of the syrup with the cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Whip 200ml of the cream with 100ml of the syrup to soft peaks. Fold into the cream cheese mixture, then spoon over the base and level the top. Cover and chill the fridge for at least two hours.
Lightly whip the remaining cream with the remaining syrup and dollop over the cheesecake. Crumble over the remaining biscuits and drizzle over some extra syrup. Leave to rest for 5 mins before serving.
oil , for greasing
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp French's yellow mustard , plus a little extra to decorate
tube of 6 ready-to-roll croissant
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and brush 2 baking trays with a little oil. Mix the honey, ketchup and mustard together in a bowl, then brush over the chipolata sausages.
Unroll the croissant dough and divide into 3 rectangles. Pinch together the diagonal perforated seams, then cut into long thin strips – you should get about 16 per rectangle.
Wind the little croissant strips around the chipolatas, leaving a little gap at one end to make a slit for the eyes. Place on baking trays and bake for 20 mins. Cool a little, then, using the mustard, dot a pair of little yellow eyes on to each mummy. Serve warm with your favourite dip.
50g peanut butter
150g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
20 peanut butter cups, Rolos or Maltesers
100g milk chocolate, chopped
icing eyes, or make your own
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with parchment. Using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Once combined, stir in the flour, bicarb and ¼ tsp salt.
Scoop 18-20 tbsps of the mixture onto the trays, leaving enough space between each to allow for spreading. Make a thumbprint in the centre of the cookies. Bake for 10-12 mins or until firm at the edges but still soft in the middle – they’ll harden a little as they cool. Leave to cool on the tray for a few mins before topping each biscuit with a peanut butter cup, Rolo or Malteser. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Heat the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts, or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, until just liquid. Scrape into a piping bag and leave to cool a little. Pipe the legs onto each spider, then stick two eyes on each. Leave to set. Will keep for three days in an airtight container.
Pumpkin & Feta Pies
450g butternut squash or pumpkin peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (prepared weight)
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp ground turmeric
125g cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for the tin
2 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg, beaten
grating of nutmeg
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
200g feta, crumbled
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the squash and unpeeled garlic into a roasting tin, drizzle with 1 tbsp oil, season and toss to coat. Roast for 30 mins, until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the onion in a frying pan over a medium heat with the remaining 1 tbsp oil for 8-10 mins until tender and slightly golden. Leave to cool.
Tip the flour, turmeric and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter and whizz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg yolks and 2 tsp cold water, and blitz again until the mixture starts to clump together. Squeeze it between your fingers – if it sticks together, tip the mixture onto a work surface. If it’s too dry, add more water, 1 tsp at a time. Knead the pastry a few times just to bring it together, but don’t overwork it. Shape into two circles, one slightly smaller than the other, then wrap in baking parchment and chill in the fridge for at least 20 mins.
Butter six holes of a muffin tin and line each with a strip of baking parchment that overhangs the top. Roll the larger circle of pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use a 10cm cutter to stamp out six circles (you may need to re-roll the pastry to get all six). Press the pastry circles into the prepared muffin tin, patching any cracks with the pastry offcuts. Spoon in the squash filling.
Roll the remaining pastry circle out as you did the large one, but use an 8cm cutter to cut out six lids. Cut spooky pumpkin faces into the lids using a small, sharp knife. Press the lids over the pies in the tin and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 40 mins until golden brown, then leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin before lifting out.
Halloween Fruit Punch
1 litre carton blueberry, blackberry or purple grape juice , chilled
1 litre carton cherry or cranberry juice , chilled
1 litre sparkling water , chilled
To make eyeballs:
425g can lychees
225g jar cocktail cherries
To make hand ice cubes:
2 pairs powder-free disposable gloves
Optional: If you are making the hand ice cubes - Rinse the disposable gloves and fill each with water. Tie a knot in the top of each as you would a balloon, or use a tight bag clip to hold the opening closed. Freeze overnight.
Optional: If you are making the eyeballs - Drain the lychees and cocktail cherries, reserving the juices in a jug. Push a raisin into one end of each cherry, then push the cherries into the lychees to make ‘eyeballs’.
Tip all of the juices, plus the reserved lychee and cherry juices, into a large bowl with the ‘eyeballs’. Carefully peel the gloves from the ice hands, add to the punch, then top up with the sparkling water.
Halloween Vodka Punch (for adults)
2l cherry juice
peel from 3 oranges , pared with a vegetable peeler
1 thumb-sized red chilli , pierced a few times but left whole
3 cinnamon sticks
6 slices ginger
Dracula fangs sweets (available from sweet shops), to serve, optional
Tip the cherry juice, orange peel, chilli, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger into a large saucepan. Simmer for 5 mins, then turn off the heat. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hrs, or up to 2 days – the longer you leave it the more intense the flavours.
When you’re ready to serve, pour the juice into a jug and add the vodka. Serve in glass bottles or glasses and pop a straw in each. Dangle a fangs sweet from each glass.