Life of Pie

The spooky season is upon us again! Time for scary movies, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays that is celebrated all around the world.

In Ireland, Halloween can be traced back to the pagan festive of Samhain. Samhain would occur around moon cycles at the start of November and continued well into the 6th century. During this time, it was thought that the dead returned to the moral world, in response, the pagans lit large fires to supposedly ward off evil spirits. In parts of Ireland it was believed that mischievous spirit would cast spells on unsuspecting folk.

In the 8th century, when Christianity was introduced and set November 1st as All Hallows' Day, Irish Celts were hesitant to give up their festival and so celebrated Samhain as All Hallows' Eve, which later became corrupted to Hallowe'en and Halloween. Today, Halloween in Ireland has come a long way from its pagan origins.

There are a number of popular events held throughout Ireland in celebration of Halloween. One of the biggest and most popular events is the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival held in Derry in Northern Ireland. Billed as the biggest Halloween party in Europe, in 2018, the Walled City’s celebrations has been extended to an 8 day long event for even more frightful fun for all the family.

Whilst you’re there, why not pop in to the Walled City Crafters, where you can find a selection of our handmade vintage cutlery. Walled City Crafters is located in the Craft Village, Shipquay Street, and is open from 9am to 9pm every Monday – Saturday. To find out more and follow them on Facebook – click here!

Not to be outdone, Dublin hosts Halloween in a typically colourful style with a massive parade from Parnell Square along O'Connell Street and finishing in Temple Bar in a carnival of all things ghostly and ghoulish.

However, there’s still Halloween fun to be had in the comfort and warmth of your own home this time of year, with our terrifyingly tasty pumpkin pie recipe!


750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks

350g sweet shortcrust pastry

Plain flour, for dusting

140g caster sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated

1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

25g butter, melted

175ml milk

1 tbsp icing sugar


1. Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain pumpkin; let cool.

2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.

4. Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.

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Co Down

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