Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ginger Spiced Pumpkin Tart

Fresh out of the oven.
Even though I call this a Pumpkin tart I made mine with butternut squash.  I'm working my way through the squash family to see if I can taste any difference when I use them in a pie or tart or souffle.  So far Blue Hubbard and Butternut squash have given me great results.  If you do use a pumpkin, don't use the typical kind you carve.  Look for a cheese pumpkin; they look like regular pumpkins except they are a light beige color, not orange.  They have a far better flesh for cooking than their more famous cousin which tend towards watery and stringy.

The two things I most love about this tart is the spicy cookie dough-like crust and the fresh ginger infused filling.  Just remember Squash is in season from August until early Summer so don't just think about making this tart for the holidays.  It's an elegant and delicious way to finish any Fall or Winter meal.

Ginger Spiced Pumpkin Tart

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on add 2 Cups All Purpose Flour, 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, 3 Tablespoons sugar1 Teaspoons Cinnamon, 1/2 Teaspoon allspice, 1Teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg and a grating of fresh black pepper.  Mix the dry ingredients together. 

Then add 13 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter cut into chunks, mix on medium speed briefly so that the butter is just incorporated, but there are still lots of visible chunks of butter.  Then add 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla mix on slow until the mixture just forms a ball. Do not over process!  If it is too dry add some ice water until the dough forms a ball.  Flatten into a disk between two pieces of parchment and chill for at least an hour.

For the filling you will need 1 1/2 cups of squash or pumpkin puree.  For instructions on how to make your own puree go here

While the dough is chilling make the filling.  In a saucepan add 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 Tablespoons of flour, cook over medium high heat, whisking until it comes to a boil and thickens.  Slowly add 3/4 cup of heavy cream whisking all the while.  Remove the minute it comes to a boil.
Pour the thickened cream into a big bowl, whisk in the 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree.  Add 3 large eggs, one at a time whisking to incorporate each one. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F

In a food processor add 1 tablespoon of peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar, process until the ginger is finely chopped and well incorporated.  Add 1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, allspice and nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a grind of freshly grated black pepper. Pulse briefly in the food processor to combine.

Add the spiced sugar and ginger mixture to the pumpkin/cream mixture.  Add 2 teaspoons of good quality Amber Rum (optional or you can use brandy or vanilla).

Roll out the chilled dough and fit into a 11" fluted removable bottom tart pan.  Cover with parchment paper and filled with beans or rice for weight, place on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven and using the over hang from the parchemnt remove the paper and the beans.

Pour in the filling and return to the oven for 45 or so minutes.  It should be well set and the dough lightly browned when it is done.  Cool on a rack to room temperature, chill until ready to serve
To garnish the tart I chopped up about 1/2 cup of Spicy Sugar Nuts and spread them around the perimeter of the tart.  Serve this with a dollop of unsweetened whip cream or a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.

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