I am a planner. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that before? I like to know where I’m going and how I’m getting there before I embark on a journey…whether it be out in the world or in my kitchen. So I hate it when I have a plan all nicely laid out and someone comes along and tells me that I should do something different. Change, especially last minute change, and I don’t see eye to eye. So it is grudgingly that I let it into my world.
Now that we’ve established that I’m the kind of person that would rather eat glass than do something like change my menu at the last minute, I’m going to put on my hypocrite hat and say that while I’m sure you have a lovely dessert planned for Thanksgiving this week, you need to forget about that. Because you absolutely need to make this pumpkin tart. I know that might sound like nails on a chalkboard to you (it would to me), but I would not suggest such a thing if it weren’t imperative that you become acquainted with this tart.
I’m not going to pretend that this tart is any less of a calorie bomb than its cousin, pumpkin pie. It’s got butter, sugar, chocolate, creme fraiche, and egg; there’s nothing light about it. The chocolate spice crust is a perfect complement to the custard filling that is silky and rich but avoids being heavy or overly sweet.
So why should you make a change this late in the game? Because in addition to being a welcome change from pumpkin pie and being an outstanding dessert on its own merits, pumpkin tart is unexpected. You can get a pumpkin pie anywhere. Walk into any grocery store or kwikimart and you’ll be bombarded with mass produced, industrial, pumpkin pies for sale. As tasty as they are, they’re a dime a dozen. While not any more complicated than a pumpkin pie, pumpkin tart just looks fancy. And that little bit of fancy makes you feel special.
So this Thanksgiving, go for special. Curse me all you want now as long as you are prepared to take every word back when you experience pumpkin tart.
Chocolate Tart Crust
Adapted from Martha Stewart
BAH Note: I have Sweet Mary to thank for introducing me to Pumpkin Tart. She brought it to our Inspired Supper and I was so impressed by the tart that I finally pulled out the tart pan that has been sitting in the cabinet for over a year and made it myself. Despite having the dough as cold as possible, I still found that it warmed up quickly resulting in sticking and tearing. If that happens, put the dough back in the fridge for ten or fifteen minutes to firm back up before continuing. A big hunk of dough ripped off as I was placing it in the pan so I just used my fingers to work the pieces back together. After it’s filled, you can’t tell whether you rolled your dough perfectly or whether it fought you like a rebellious teenager. So don’t sweat it.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, frozen
- 1 large egg
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and spices in the work bowl of your mixer. Using a box grater, quickly grate the butter into the flour mixture. Using your hands, gently fold the butter into the flour mixture. Place the bowl, along with the paddle attachment from your mixer, into the refrigerator (or freezer if you have the room) for 20 to 30 minutes. Then mix on low for a few minutes until the mixtures resembles coarse meal and the butter is pea-sized. Add the egg and mix until everything just comes together to form a dough. Shape the into a disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to a day, before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Brush off the excess flour. Transfer the dough to your 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and trim the edges. Use a fork to lightly prick all over the bottom of the dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
Bake the shell until it is firm, about 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the bottom of the shell with the chopped chocolate and smooth with a spatula.
Pumpkin Tart Filling
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 8 oz creme fraiche
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, creme fraiche, and spices. Taste for seasoning and add more spice as desired. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pass the mix through a fine sieve set over a clean bowl, discarding any solids. Pour the filing into the prepared chocolate crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the filling is set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Use a fork or piping bag with a very narrow tip to drizzle the chocolate over the tart forming decorative stripes. Chill for at least an hour before serving.