{Voting Open} Farm to Table: Breaking down the Spiced Pumpkin Tart

Voting is now open until 6PM PST on Oct 14, 2010. Please use this link to vote. Thank you very much! :)

Spiced Pumpkin Pie

{Warning}: This is a very photo heavy post!!

A picture is more than equivalent to a 1,000 words right?! That's about what I am trying to do in this post. I plan to walk you through making a scrumptious Spiced Pumpkin Tart from scratch, flaky crust and silky, smooth filling and all!

For the fourth challenge in the Project Food Blog contest, we were asked to do a step by step photo post. I mulled for a bit over what to make for the show and tell piece. I finally decided to tackle a dish that is classic, elegant and definitely one of learn-to-fish kind of recipes.. :) The perfect tart with a flaky, buttery crust.

Much gratitude to everyone who has voted for me so far and I really, really do hope you will continue the warm patronage all the way to the trophy!!! :D

Ingredients for Pumpkin tart
All the ingredients to make the pumpkin tart

In keeping with the season and also making use of the produce from my CSA, I made a pumpkin tart subtly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. The hint of spice brings just enough warmth to the tart and makes it a good accompaniment with a mug of hot tea on a chilly Fall evening...

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin
Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin

A few notes/tips/tricks -

  • The freezer is your best friend here. To make the perfect flaky crust, everything needs to be very cold. So freezing between at each stage really helps the process.
  • The trick to getting the texture of the dough to the crumbly mixture is to use a blender (I don't have a food processor) on the pulse mode to break down the ice cold butter into smaller pieces.
  • Once you have transferred the dough to the tart pan, do NOT lift the pan by its base. Use only the sides. I did this once and all my careful efforts prior to that were in vain.
  • Do not stretch the dough to fit the sides of the pan; it'll shrink while baking. If you think, you are running short, remove and roll out a larger circle.
  • Tart/Pie dough keeps well in the freezer for upto a month. So, it's an easy make ahead dish too.

Spiced Pumpkin tart Plated

And, now, I going to stop the gabbing and let my photos tell you the story. You tell me how you like it! :)

Btw, Damaris at Kitchen Corners is hosting a Pumpkin Cook Off. Such a cool idea, right?! I am submitting this tart for that. The cook-off is on until Oct 15. Go over and check it out and if you have something with pumpkin in it to send her, all the better ;-)..

Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Standard Tart crust :

1-1/4 cup flour
6 T cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
3-4 T ice cold water

extra ingredient for this tart crust:

1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the filling:

1-1/4 cups tightly packed roasted pumpkin puree (recipe below)
1/3 cup sugar (you may need more depending on how ripe your pumpkin is)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 inch ginger grated
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg + 1 yolk, beaten
1/4 cup cream

To make the crust, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and freeze for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender/food processor and pulse till you get a crumbly mixture.

making the dough

When ready, trickle in the water slowly and combine the ingredients until it just about forms into a ball. Gather them up onto a lightly floured surface and form into a rough dough. Pat into a circle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for atleast 30 minutes. You can also leave it overnight. If you are storing for longer, freeze the dough. It stays good for a month in the freezer.

sequence of rolling crust - clockwise from top left

When ready to roll out the crust, on a liberally flour the surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a 10 inch circle. To transfer the dough to the tart pan. Fold the dough into half once and again to make a quarter circle. Place the dough in the pan with the point at it's approximate center. Unfurl the dough and fit into the pan, gently pressing the dough into the sides without stretching it.

Preparing and baking the crust

Freeze the dough for 15-20 minutes. Again, if not using immediately, leave it in the freezer. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. Prick the base of the crust with fork to prevent puffing while baking. Wrap the dough in foil and place pie weights over the foil. I use dried beans as pie weights.

Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Then carefully remove the weights and foil and bake for 7 more minutes until the edge starts to turn golden. Remove the crust from the oven but keep the oven on.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together and processing to a smooth puree. Pour the puree into the warm shell and return to oven. Lower the heat to 350 F and bake for 35 minutes or until the center is set and sides are slightly puffed.

Remove and cool on rack. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar.

Roasted Pumpkin Puree

1 sugar pumpkin
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Preparing the pumpkin for roasting

Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the flesh. Place pieces of the cinnamon stick in the cavity of each half. Place the pumpkin halves skin side up in a roasting pan and fill the pan with 1/2 inch of water. Roast at 400 F for 40 minutes until the flesh is really soft and fork tender.

Cool the pumpkin and remove the cinnamon stick. Using a spoon scoop out the flesh and reserve.

Pumpkin pie slice
That's for you and me. Come let's have tea.. :)