Samhain Cooking and Recipes

01
of 09

8 Great Recipes for Samhain

Jack O' Lantern
by Paco Calvino (Barcelona, Spain) / Getty Images

Here are eight spectacular ideas that will jazz up any Samhain feast, whether you're having a traditional Halloween party, or a more solemn and spiritual Samhain celebration. Check out our most popular recipes below. 

02
of 09

Ghost Poop Dessert

GhostPoop_1500.jpg
"Ghost poop" sounds a little gross, but your kids will love this. It's like a chocolate mousse full of Halloween candy. Patti Wigington

Got a Samhain celebration coming up and you need something spooky for dessert? Wondering what to do with all that extra Halloween candy? This probably sounds vile.. but it's a really delicious dessert, and if you have kids, they'll love the idea of putting a bowl of Ghost Poop on the table. Whip this up the day before so the marshmallows can get nice and soft. It's not a true mousse, but comes out the same texture. This makes a great (and super-sweet) addition to your Samhain dessert menu.

Ingredients

  • 1 16-oz. tub frozen dessert topping, thawed
  • 12 - 14 oz. chocolate syrup
  • 1 C. mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 C. shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C. candy corn, chopped

Directions

Put the thawed dessert topping in a large bowl, and gradually add the chocolate syrup. Mix while adding, so that the topping turns your preferred shade of brown. Use a little more or a little less syrup, depending on how dark and chocolatey you want your Ghost Poop.

Once your whipped topping is the right revolting color, add the marshmallows, nuts (if you're using them), coconut, chocolate chips and candy corn. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, so your Ghost Poop can firm up. Serve in a big decorative bowl with a large spoon.

03
of 09

Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls

SugarSkulls_1500.jpg
Make sugar skulls to celebrate the season of death. Wendy Connett / Moment Open / Getty Images

In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated around the same time that Pagans observe Samhain. One tradition that's always popular is to make sugar skulls. Each year in Mexico, and in many Hispanic communities around the United States, people celebrate the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) between October 31 and November 2. While it may sound a bit macabre, it's actually a joyful celebration, honoring the memories of those who have died in the past year. Today's Day of the Dead festivals are a blend of old Aztec tradition merged with modern Catholic beliefs. One of the most popular customs is that of sugar skulls, which are simple to make, and lots of fun to decorate! Make a batch of your own, and include them in your Samhain celebrations.

Ingredients

  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp meringue powder
  • 1 tsp water
  • Food coloring in your choice of colors
  • Icing

Directions

Blend the sugar, meringue powder, and water together, and then press into skull-shaped molds. You can get the molds at candy stores, or if you have a Hispanic marketa near you, that's an even better resource. Once the molds are filled, allow to dry for 24 hours or more.

Pop the skulls out of the molds, and put a thin layer of white icing over the skulls. Use the food coloring to decorate with bright colors. The above recipe makes about a dozen small sugar skulls, but you can adjust it accordingly to make more, or to make larger skulls.

04
of 09

Creamy Marbled Orange Fudge

Orange Fudge
Patti Wigington

Use white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, and sugar to create a rich, creamy orange fudge that tastes like Creamsicles—remember those tasty popsicles you ate as a kid? This recipe will be a big hit with your Samhain party guests. For a really magical presentation, make a batch of Yule Peppermint Fudge at the same time, cut both batches into squares, and lay them on a plate in an orange-and-black checkerboard pattern.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons plus 3/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 1/2 C. sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 12-oz package white chocolate chips
  • 1 7-oz jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 Tbs. orange extract
  • Orange food coloring 

Directions

Using 1 1/2 tsp of the butter, grease a 13x9" pan and set aside. In a saucepan, combine the remaining butter, cream and sugar. Cook on low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, and then cook for another three minutes.

Remove saucepan from the burner, and stir in the white chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff. Blend until smooth. Scoop out about a cup of the mix and set aside.

Add the orange extract and a couple of drops of orange food coloring to the mixture still in the pot, and stir until blended. If you use gel food coloring, you can typically get it in orange. If you use just regular liquid coloring, you'll probably need to blend red and yellow. About 10 drops of yellow and five drops of red should do it (or any other 2:1 ratio), but you can adjust that depending on what shade of orange you like.

Scoop orange mixture into your prepared pan. Take the cup of remaining white mixture and drop small globs over the top of the orange, using a teaspoon. Use a knife to swirl the white into the orange, giving it a marbled appearance. Don't blend it all the way; you still want to be able to see streaks of white.

Cover and refrigerate until firm, and then cut into squares. This makes about 2 1/2 pounds of fudge.

Quick note - if you find that your fudge doesn't set firmly even after refrigeration, you can roll it into small balls instead. It still looks pretty, and tastes just as good!

05
of 09

Soul Cakes

SoulCakes_1500.jpg
Use your favorite simply pastry recipe to make soul cakes for Samhain. Philip Wilkins / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead. In many European countries, the idea of "Souling" became an acceptable alternative for Christians. The cakes took many different names and shapes—in some areas, they were simple shortbread, and in others they were baked as fruit-filled tarts. Still other regions made them of rice flour. Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available.

You can make your own with one of these four simple recipes for your Samhain celebrations.

Pie Crust Soul Cakes

  • A refrigerated roll-out pie crust
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 C mixed dried fruit
  • 2 Tbs honey

Roll out the pie crust and cut it into circles. Use the circles to line a tin of muffin cups. Mix the butter, fruit and honey together. Scoop the fruit mixture into the pastry shells, and then bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before eating.

Quickie Shortbread Soul Cakes

You'll need:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 C flour

Cream together the butter and sugar. Use a flour sifter to add the flour to the bowl, and mix until it's smooth. Divide the dough into two parts, and shape each half into a flat circle about half an inch thick. Put them on an ungreased baking sheet (baking stones are really nice for this) and poke lines with the tines of a fork, making eight separate wedges in each cake.

Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.

Buttery Soul Cakes

You'll need:

  • Two sticks butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 C flour, sifted
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar
  • Powdered sugar

Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon and allspice.

Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4" thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.

Irish Soul Cakes

If you're a fan of Irish cooking, the folks at Food.com have a neat story about the history of soul cakes: "Soul cakes were the original trick-or-treat goody. Irish peasants would go door-to door on All Hallows Eve begging homeowners for food to celebrate the occasion. Soul cakes were given to them. This ensured the homeowner would be free from a curse or prank; instead, the receivers would offer prayers for them that would help them get into heaven."

You'll need:

  • 4 C flour
  • 1 pkt active dry yeast
  • 1 C milk
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon & salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 C golden raisins

Cream yeast with 1 tsp sugar & 1 tsp milk, let it get frothy. Blend flour, spices, & salt together, then cut in butter. Add the rest of the sugar to the flour mix and blend. Add milk & beaten egg onto the yeast mixture; combine with flour mixture. Beat until stiff.

Fold in raisins and zest, cover with a damp cloth and let rise.

Divide in two, place each half in greased 7" round pan. Cover, let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake 1 hour at 400 degrees.

06
of 09

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds on a window sill, surrounded by organic tomatoes.
Kirk Mastin / Getty Images

Pumpkin seeds are a delicious addition to just about any seasonal feast, and at Samhain, the pumpkins are everywhere! When you remove the seeds from your pumpkins (which is all part of carving a Jack-O-Lantern!) you can rinse them off, roast them, and season them with just about any flavor you like. Here are the basics to get you started:

First, make sure you've rinsed all the extra pumpkin off your seeds.

If you don't it will burn - or at the very least, smell really weird - when you pop them in the oven. Some people like to boil the seeds, but I've found that oven-roasted gives you a better flavor, and a nicer, crunchier texture. If you like, you can boil them in a bit of salted water for a few minutes before oven roasting, but it's not necessary. Feel free to play around and experiment to see what your family likes best.

Preheat your oven to 300 while you prep the seeds.

Next, lightly toss your pumpkin seeds with melted butter. You'll want about one tablespoon of butter for each cup of raw pumpkin seeds.

Now, you'll want to add seasoning - and this is where you can get really creative! Add a pinch of salt plus one of the following to your butter-coated seeds for a savory taste:

  • Garlic powder, dried oregano, and basil, for an Italian-style seed
  • Equal parts curry and paprika, for a slightly spicy seed (that's what's in the photo)
  • A crushed bay leaf, some cinnamon, a bit of allspice and some black pepper for a jerk-style flavor
  • Your favorite dry barbeque seasoning
  • Your favorite powdered ranch salad dressing mix

If you'd like to try some sweet varieties instead, skip the salt and just add:

  • Allspice, nutmeg, sugar, and cinnamon - it will taste like pumpkin pie!
  • Cinnamon and sugar, for a tasty sweet treat

Once your seeds are completely coated with the seasoning, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring them around occasionally in the oven. Once they're done, let them cool, and dig in for your Samhain feast!

07
of 09

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

High Angle View Of Pumpkin Cheesecake In Plate
Chuck Kahn / EyeEm / Getty Images

Pumpkins are a popular symbol of the Samhain season, and in October, you can find them just about everywhere. For this recipe, you could use a fresh baking sized pumpkin and scoop out the innards, but if you're in a hurry (or you just don't want to dig out pumpkin guts), you'll notice a heck of a bargain price on all of that canned pumpkin at the grocery store. If you're someone who loves the taste of pumpkin, try making a pumpkin cheesecake to add to your Samhain feast!

Preheat your oven to 375.

Ingredients

  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 can pumpkin
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp pie spice blend (equal parts nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon)

Directions

For the crust, run the graham crackers through your blender or food processor until they're finely chopped crumbs. Combine crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar, and mix thoroughly. Press into a lightly greased pie plate, covering both the bottom and the sides.

Next, in a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, Ricotta cheese, pumpkin, sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1 tsp of the pie spice blend. Use a mixer to make it nice and fluffy, and then fold it into the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle that last 1/2 tsp of pie spice blend onto the top.

You'll want to bake your cheesecake at 375 for a good 45 minutes to cook it all the way through - here's a tip I've found helpful. Cover the top with a tented piece of aluminum foil to keep the crust from burning. Be sure to let your cheesecake cool completely before serving - you may even want to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to chill. Enjoy at your Samhain dinner festivities, and celebrate the season!

08
of 09

Butternut Squash Casserole

Squash Apple Casserole
Combine apples, nuts, raisins and squash for a delicious seasonal casserole. Image by Patti Wigington 2012

By the time Samhain rolls around, the gardens are starting to dwindle down just a bit. There's not a lot left to harvest... unless you've planted squash. If you grow butternut squashes, you can typically pick those up until around the beginning of November, although that will depend on your planting zone.

This recipe is a super easy thing to bake during the fall harvest season. Butternut squashes are perfect for it, but you can use pretty much any fall squash - acorn squashes or even pumpkins work well if you have them on hand. If you've had a chance to go apple picking, it makes this even better because you can use apples you collected yourself! What's a better fall meal than a dish full of squash, apples, golden raisins, and nuts?

Make as much as you think your family will eat - it's also great for potluck dinners!

Also, obviously some people don't eat bacon or are allergic to nuts or hate Gorgonzola cheese. If bacon makes you happy, use the bacon... but if you're a vegetarian, we shouldn't have to tell you this, but just leave the bacon out. Likewise, if you hate the taste of Gorgonzola cheese, leave it out. Allergic to nuts? Skip them!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cubed (peeling is optional, but I leave mine on)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, browned and chopped into little bits
  • 1/2 Cup walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar (optional - skip it if you don't like sweet stuff)
  • A pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything together in a bowl, and then spoon it into a really big greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about an hour, mixing occasionally. Once you've taken it out of the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes before serving. Serve as a side or a main course for your fall celebrations - the possibilities are endless!

09
of 09

Savory Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup
Serve some pumpkin soup right inside the pumpkin!. Image by Tim Buckner/E+/Getty Images

It's fall, and the leaves are changing colors, the nights are cool and crisp, you can dig out your boots and sweaters, and it’s not cold enough for a jacket or mittens. One of the other things to love about the Samhain season? Pumpkins. They’re everywhere. There’s pumpkin-flavored everything, from coffees to candies to cheesecakes, and it’s all amazing.

Pumpkin soup is a favorite for a lot of people, and one of the things that makes this recipe awesome is that in addition to the sheer deliciousness of pumpkins, know what else they’re great for? It’s nature’s soup tureen! No kidding - you can serve this soup right inside the pumpkin that you used to make it with, and it looks seasonal and cool and adorable all at once.

Sure, you could use canned pumpkin, and if you want to that’s fine (don’t buy the cans of pie filling, just use regular canned pumpkin), but it’s so much better if you use the real thing. It’s a little more work, but trust me, the results are spectacular in the long run. Grab a pumpkin, and let’s get started!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pumpkin (use one that’s about four pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Garlic
  • Curry powder

DIRECTIONS

The first thing you’ll want to do is roast the pumpkin. I like to use a four to five pound pumpkin for this, but go with whatever size you prefer. A four pound pumpkin will give me about four cups of meat to use – and be warned, the really huge pumpkins that you make Jack O Lanterns with tend to be very stringy and don’t have as sweet of a flavor.

Now, there are a lot of recipes for pumpkin soup that call for you to cut the pumpkin in half and then roast it – you can do this, if you’re serving your soup in bowls. But if you want to serve the soup inside the pumpkin, don’t bake it. If you do, you’ll end up with a soft and squishy floppy pumpkin that’s of no use to anyone. So here’s what you can do instead. Cut off the top quarter of the pumpkin, which will include the stem, and scoop out the insides, leaving about an inch thickness along the walls. Set the seeds aside to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and place the meat into a roasting pan. You can discard the stringy bits, although a lot of people like to use them in other recipes. Keep that pumpkin shell! You’re going to need it!

Drizzle the meat with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and then roast it around 425 for about half an hour. Once your meat is done roasting, run it through your blender or food processor to puree it.

While your pumpkin meat is roasting merrily away in your oven, start making the rest of your soup. Melt the butter in the bottom of a large pot, and add the onions. Sautee them just until they’re translucent and soft, and then add the broth, heavy cream, and garlic to taste (I love garlic, but use as much or as little as you want). Simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes.

By this time, your pumpkin should be done, and you’ll have pureed it. Add the pureed pumpkin into your soup pot, and stir constantly – don’t bring it to a boil, just let it get hot all the way through. If you have an immersion blender, now’s a good time to use it to get any lumps out that you missed before. About fifteen minutes before serving, add your curry powder. There’s no hard and fast rule on how much to use, but it depends on how much you like curry. Obviously, use your best judgment here. Finally, add salt and pepper to season it to taste. Remove the soup from heat, and allow it to cool for just a few minutes.

Remember that hollowed out pumpkin shell we told you to keep? Here’s where you can get creative and really impress your friends. Pour the soup – or ladle it, if you’re messy – into the pumpkin for serving! Did you save the top part after you cut it off? Now you've got a lid! Another option? Use smaller pumpkins so everyone gets their own to eat from. It looks pretty and seasonal, and as long as your pumpkin doesn’t have any holes in it, it will hold the soup just fine as you serve your meal. Hand everyone a bowl and a spoon, and dig in to enjoy!

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Wigington, Patti. "Samhain Cooking and Recipes." ThoughtCo, Jul. 18, 2017, thoughtco.com/samhain-recipes-4145789. Wigington, Patti. (2017, July 18). Samhain Cooking and Recipes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/samhain-recipes-4145789 Wigington, Patti. "Samhain Cooking and Recipes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/samhain-recipes-4145789 (accessed November 18, 2017).