Pumpkin & Crustacean Juice

Preparation info

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By Peter Gilmore

Published 2014

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  • 1 large or 2 small kakai pumpkins, 4 kg (9 lb) total weight
  • still mineral water (optional)
  • reserved crayfish and mud crab legs
  • 50 g ( oz) unsalted butter
  • ¼ fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 eschallots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) unoaked chardonnay
  • sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon xantana (fermented cornstarch)


Peel the kakai pumpkins and discard the peelings. Split the pumpkins in half and remove all of the seeds. Soak the seeds in cold water and remove as much flesh as you can from the seeds, using your hands. Reserve all the pumpkin seeds in fresh cold water and refrigerate. Using an electric juicer, juice the pumpkin flesh. Pour the juice through a fine sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth) into a bowl. Measure the juice: you should have at least 1 litre (35 fl oz) of liquid. If you don’t have this much you will need to top up the juice with fresh still mineral water to make 1 litre (35 fl oz) total.

Remove the crayfish and mud crab legs from the refrigerator and, using the back of a heavy knife or a small mallet, bruise and crack all of the shells to expose the flesh.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the fennel, eschallots, garlic, thyme and cracked crustacean legs. Gently sweat, being very careful not to add any colour. Deglaze the pan with the wine, stir well then increase the heat to evaporate the wine. Once the wine has virtually disappeared, add the strained pumpkin juice. Simmer over very low heat for 40 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to stand for a further 40 minutes. Carefully strain the liquid through a fine sieve double-lined with muslin into a bowl. Be careful not to apply any pressure to the solids, but allow the liquid to naturally filter through. Discard the solids. Reheat the liquid to simmering point. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt.

Transfer 100 ml ( fl oz) of the liquid into a small bowl. Sprinkle the xantana over the top and whisk well until smooth. Pour this back into the hot liquid, whisking over heat until well combined. Simmer on low heat for 3–4 minutes. Strain the liquid through a clean muslin-lined sieve and set aside the pumpkin and crustacean juice in the refrigerator until required.