Ballycross Pumpkin Risotto with Ballycross Apples and Highbank Syrup Caramelized Pecans by Trish Deseine

Ballycross Pumpkin Risotto with Ballycross Apples and Highbank Syrup Caramelized Pecans by Trish Deseine

This recipe is where that fabulous pumpkin smoothness really comes into its own. When anyone tastes this, they always think I have added a ton of cream or mascarpone, when in fact it is simply the pumpkin giving the lovely texture – not to mention the taste. Of course, as for all risottos, this one requires your utmost attention, so be well prepared with simmering stock and ladle, and your guests close to hand with table set, before you start cooking the rice. The Highbank syrup gives a nice sweetness to the pecans, and the apples lovely colour and crunch. Serve it with crisp leaves beforehand or alongside and plenty of parmesan to hand for extra grating. 

Serves 4 | 35 mins prep 


  • 1 butternut squash or 500g of pumpkin flesh, steamed and pureed

  • 70g pecan nuts

  • 1 tablespoon Highbank orchard syrup

  • 2 or 3 shallots, peeled, finely diced

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil

  • ​300g risotto rice

  • 1 litre chicken stock

  • A small glass of marsala or white wine

  • 1 level tablespoon of mascarpone

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

  • 1 red apple, half cut into slivers, half grated


Toast the pecans in a frying pan slightly before sprinkling them with syrup which will caramelize them. Let them cool.

Heat the oil in a shallow pan and sweat the shallots, being careful not to brown them. Bring the rice to the boil, strain and leave it until you'’re ready to cook the risotto.

Tip the rice into the pan with the softened shallots and oil and stir. Let the rice become translucent (3 minutes or so) and absorb all the fat. Still be careful not to brown it.

Once the rice is transparent around the outside, pour in the marsala or white wine, deglaze and stir until it has evaporated. Add a ladle of hot stock and, stirring all the while, cook the rice in the stock. When it has evaporated, add more stock, stirring constantly, and continue thus until the rice is cooked, but still has a little bite in the centre.

Stir through the hot pureed pumpkin, the mascarpone and half of the parmesan,leaving the rest for garnishing or topping up if needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with the apple and caramelized pecans as garnish.

Photography by Marta Miklinska. Food Styling by Trish Deseine.

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