Practice makes perfect – but every pumpkin face is unique!
Which pumpkin should I use? Any pumpkin is suitable really, whereby the following applies: smaller varieties, and especially the very irregularly shaped decorative pumpkins, only suit very skilled carvers because you have to work very carefully. The typical "pumpkins", i.e. the large, round, orange coloured, edible pumpkins, which are also used in the USA, are most suitable. Larger varieties such as Hokkaido pumpkins are also very suitable.
Cover your work area with newspaper if necessary. Prepare a large bowl and HEITMAN DECO tools. Clean the pumpkin - if needed - (rub off loose dirt with kitchen paper); choose the nicest side for carving.
Cut off the pumpkin lid, preferably using the big HEITMANN DECO saw. Mark with a drill bit or pen first of all, and then start to cut diagonally towards the middle. This is how you get a larger support surface, as the lid cannot fall in. The opening must be big enough to allow you to hollow out the pumpkin easily. Clean the lid of strands and seeds then put to one side.
Extra tip: you can cut out the lid in a circle, hexagonally or with the typical zigzag pattern.
Hollow the pumpkin out with the HEITMANN DECO pumpkin spoon. First thoroughly remove the soft inside (the seeds and the squidgy tangle of strands) and throw the waste into the organic waste bin. Then spoon out the fruit flesh and scrape out. Collect in the bowl to cook later (see fast recipe).
Extra tip: the wall of the pumpkin should still be 2 – 3 cm thick, so that the pumpkin is sufficiently stable.
Fast recipe: Put the pumpkin flesh into a pot, cover with meat or vegetable stock, bring to the boil once and then let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes on a low flame. Puree everything and season with spices (e.g. chilli, ginger or nutmeg). Should the soup be too thick, add more stock, puree again and reheat. Before you serve add a little whipped cream, crème fraîche or sour creamit Top with chopped herbs, roasted kernels or crusty chunks of bread.
Mark the contours with a water resistant pen. There are two options when you use a carving template: either cut out the motifs precisely with scissors, stick them with a sticky tape to the pumpkin and mark around it with the pen. Or fix the whole template onto the pumpkin and with the drill bit prick along the contours every 1 – 2 cm through the paper. Don’t push through the whole of the pumpkin wall, but carefully through the outer skin layer. Remove the template, and join up the individual holes with a pen to form a line.
Extra tip: start with simpler motifs. Straight cuts are simpler to do than round ones; therefore angular motifs are better for beginners and children.
Cut out the motifs along the lines with a serrated blade from HEITMANN DECO. Work with careful forward and backward movements and very little pressure so that the knife does not get stuck and nothing breaks off accidentally.
Extra tips: work from the middle of a motif outwards to avoid damaging areas that have already been carved. Larger pieces are more easily removed if you have cut them into smaller segments first. Pieces that have broken off unintentionally can be fixed again using a toothpick.
Tips on how to keep the pumpkin fresh for longer can be found under "Fresh-kick".?