As for the dessert, I had inspiration from Dick Strawbridge's work during the last stages of Celebrity MasterChef.
He made little cups out of filo pastry, which he filled with sweet things, I can't remember exactly what. I thought the cups were brilliant and so made some for my dessert.
The filo pastry I had was a bit on the dry side and I had to revive it with water from the spray bottle. This worked a treat though and with care I managed to unroll them with very few tears.
Unfortunately I did not have muffin tins and decided to use aluminium cups normally used for mazarines.
So I melted 40 g of unsalted butter on very low heat and cut squares from the filo, two or each cup.
For each cup, I brushed the first filo square with the melted butter and placed it over a cup with the butter side up and away from the cup itself. I then brushed the second filo square and placed on top of the first square, but turned it 45 degrees, thus ending up with an 8 point star. I centered the cup and carefully pushed the filo into it, folding where necessary and making sure the edges formed some sort of a petal and didn't stick out too much. And I also realised that shaping these in a muffin tin would have been so much more difficult.
I preheated the oven to 200 degrees C and baked and went to check my emails and burned the whole bunch.
After some swearing, I cut another batch of filo squares and repeated the process, but I also lowered the heat to 180 degrees C. And kept watching. I think it took bout 5 minutes and I moved them around during the baking, to make sure all got baked evenly.
With a much better result. Quickly out of the oven and left to cool down, on the baking sheet, which perhaps provided a few extra seconds of baking. Once cooled, I removed the aluminium cups very carefully, then placed the filo cups in boxes well padded with kitchen paper and closed the lids tightly to keep crisp. I used them the next day and staleness had just begun to do its work, so I don't think they would have lasted a further day.
I then turned my attention to the pumpkin. Off with it's lid and out with the seeds and stringy bits in the middle. Then I drew a simple face on the front and cut it out. Once that was done, with the help of the melon ball scoop, I carved out about 50 pumpkin balls, which I steamed until they began to go soft.
I then heated up about 175 g medium maple syrup until it started bubbling (on medium heat) and added the pumpkin balls, sprinkled over cinnamon and basted them in the syrup to get them nicely caramelised/infused. Then out onto a baking parchment and allowed to cool down.
I tasted one while it was hot and it was fantastic, once cooled though, the sweetness went away a bit, or I managed to get the one that had soaked up most of the sweetness. I should have stewed them a bit longer in the maple syrup perhaps.
So, to serve, I placed a filo cup on a plate, placed 5 pumpkin balls inside it and added a teaspoon of mascarpone.
It was my intention to drizzle more maple syrup over them, but had another of many brain skips and completely forgot that.
Thus the wow factor that I was aiming for got lost, however it was still pretty tasty.