Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Purée Tart

Cody Fitchett

Are you dreading going to Thanksgiving dinner and having to eat the same pumpkin pie that you eat every year? I have a fresh new way to use pumpkin that people will talk about long after Thanksgiving is over.

This is an excellent recipe for Thanksgiving because it’s full of warmth and offers a different approach to the average pie you eat during the holidays. I have a big family, and all 75 of us get together at my great-grandma Pauline’s house and eat lunch, play football and enjoy each other’s company. Every year before we pray, we go around the table and say what we are thankful for, so ask yourself, what are you thankful for? I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and best wishes from my grandma’s kitchen to yours.

Pumpkin Purée Tart
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Yield: 6 Tarts

Tart dough

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ stick butter, room temperature

Pumpkin pastry cream

2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can pumpkin purée
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 4 egg yolks
• ¼ cup cornstarch

Cinnamon whip cream

• 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Tart dough

In a separate bowl: whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Spray six, 3-inch tart pans with non-stick cooking spray. Once the pastry has chilled, evenly pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in center of oven. Place tart pans on a larger baking pan and bake crusts for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to bake the crusts for about 15 minutes or until crust is dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Pumpkin pastry cream

Place milk, ½ cup of the sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and the pumpkin purée in a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer, or until steam starts to rise from the top. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, mix together egg yolks, the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Slowly pour 1/3 of the hot milk combination into the egg yolks and whisk constantly (so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs). Place the remaining hot milk back on the stove and bring to a medium high heat, add the egg yolks to the pot and stir slowly. When the surface of the cream is bubble free and starts to thicken (three to six minutes) bring to a boil and add the butter, whisk until smooth and pour into a medium sized bowl. Fill a larger bowl half way with ice to create an ice bath for the cream. Place the bowl of cream into the ice so it starts to cool down. Place plastic wrap directly on the cream, to prevent a skim from forming on the surface Let cool for 30 -45 minutes.

Cinnamon whip cream

In a stand or hand mixer, add the heavy cream and the cinnamon and let whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Make sure your crust and cream has cooled completely before doing the next steps. Spoon the cream into the bottom of the crust, using a butter knife to make an even layer. Place the cream in a piping bag with your favorite tip and pipe whip cream on the top. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to garnish.

Cody’s tip

When making the crust, before you stick the tarts in the oven, prick the bottom with a fork to release steam as they bake. (Don’t go all the way through the bottom or your crust will break).