Pumpkin Pie | Bakery Progress…

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It has been a frustrating time with the bakery. We are being taught again that patience in abundance is necessary and things don’t always work on our time frame. We are in a position where we have managed to fundraise start up costs, the market research has been very positive and in fact we are being asked when the products would be ready, we have a fab artisan baker from E5 bakehouse in London at the ready to come and train staff and we have a director in place who has a heart of gold and management skills to match. As well as all this we still have the incredible offer of land and a purpose built building, seemingly many doors are open but it is still not happening.

For one reason or another the land has not progressing, and nor has our registration as an NGO, even with all the hard work we put in to the constitution and the business plan. As Christmas time approached we were feeling really downhearted, despite all our efforts, we still have no head baker and no building to start in.  I had an exam to prepare for and it seemed the right thing to just be patient… to let go.

Christmas passed and we reached the end of 2013 with little prospect of getting the bakery started before we finish our time in Kenya. We were reflecting on this time last year: the eye project had been challenge after challenge as we “patiently”awaited for the slit lamp in the hope we could start the project. This year we found ourselves in a similar position. Then, on new years eve, 2013, we received a phone call from Charles, the director of Ujima, explaining he would be at Maili Saba Camp on New Years day. The tented lodge is our favourite place in Nakuru, it overlooks the crater and has an air of serenity like nowhere else in the area. It is run as an income generating program for the Ujima Foundation who provide young adult orphans with skills in hospitality and the opportunity to be independent as well as support their own families. We had nothing planned so we decided to spend the first day of the year overlooking the Menengai Crater.

Unbelievably, as Charles shared the exciting plans Ujima has for the coming three years, there seemed to be so much synergy with our plans for the bakery. So much of our visions overlap and we have huge admiration for how Ujima runs and what it stands for. Andrew and I looked at each other as the conversation went on, we both had had the same thought. If the bakery became an Ujima project it would benefit them and help us achieve our vision. We explained that we would be happy to effectively run the bakery under Ujima’s umbrella provided the focus on health and profits were to be used for eye care and supporting employment to vulnerable people (their speciality) .

Amazingly, Charles jumped up, brimming with enthusiasm and showed us three potential sites at Maili Saba Camp that could be used as a bakery. Somewhat in shock at this incredible development, we called our architect friend on the off chance he was free to come and take a look, he was. One of the buildings looks perfect and with two weeks work can be transformed. Suddenly the doors are open again. We are just awaiting the go ahead from the board of directors then, hopefully, we can begin to put the wheels in motion…

The Bakery?

The Bakery

The bake is a pumpkin pie something I have been meaning to do for a long while pumpkins are in abundance here and we always pass the lady who sells them on our way home.  This is a Anthony Worrall Thompson recipe.

Recipe – Pumpkin pie

For the Pastry

  • 500g  plain flour
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 250g  butter, cut into small cubes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 splash milk

For the filling

  • 450 g/1lb prepared weight pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in/2.5 cm chunks
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (use the white for another dish)
  • 3 oz/75g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 10 fl oz/275 ml double cream

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Use a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, about 9 inch/23 cm diameter and 1½ inches/4 cm deep.
  3. To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.
  4. Then lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.
  5. Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly.
  6. Now add the pumpkin pureé, still whisking to combine everything thoroughly.
  7. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time it will puff up round the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre.
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. Serve chilled (stored loosely covered in foil in the fridge) with some equally chilled créme fraïche, but warm or at room temperature would be fine.

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