Pumpkin tarte

A finished pumpkin tarte with pate brisee, hot out of the oven.

Sadly, the Turkey Day is gone for another year. Then, maybe not! Lots of folks freeze one, and after their craving for the poultry has subsided into a memory, out comes the big frozen bird and we feast again.

Here comes the alternative: no turkey next Thanksgiving.

My brother married a Korean woman. We spent the holiday with her family in Seattle. We had the turkey and all the trimmings lovingly prepared by my brother. We also had Korean kimchi, sushi, lean yellow fin tuna (sashimi) and a barbecued New York roast, Asian-style, courtesy of my brother-in-law. While carving the bird, I nibbled on a few stray ends but steadfastly avoided the big traditional meal and dived instead into the Asian alternatives. I even made a mushroom sauce from preserved porcini mushrooms for the meat.

My wife, Laurie, baked some divine whole wheat rolls, an apple pie and a pumpkin tarte with pate brisee.

Pate ingredients:

  • 4 ½ oz. unsalted butter diced and refrigerated (plus another tablespoon for buttering the tarte pan)
  • 9 oz. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz. sugar
  • 1 ¾ oz. ice water
  • One egg yolk
  • Milk for brushing on pastry
  • Latex gloves for mixing ingredients

Pate directions:

Butter the bottom and sides of the tarte pan with about a tablespoon of butter.

Then, dust the pan with flour and remove excess, making sure the flour coats both the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer for a few minutes, then dust with flour again. Keep in freezer until needed.

Sift flour by hand into a bowl and make a well in the center, and add salt, sugar and ice water. While wearing latex gloves, mix salt, sugar and water in the well. Then add the egg yolk and mix to combine. Working quickly, place the chilled and diced butter into the well, and mix it in, breaking it up into smaller bits with your fingers while gradually pulling in the flour with your fingers until the dough is crumbly and starts to cohere.

Compress the dough with your hands gently to create a ball. Press one more time to flatten the dough, do not knead. Loosely shape the dough into a circle about an inch thick and wrap in plastic, then refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Once the dough has chilled, dust your work surface with all purpose flour and allow the dough to soften for a few minutes at room temperature.

Dust rolling pin with flour, then roll dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick and a little larger than your 9” tarte pan.

Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared pan, guiding it into the depth of the pan and trimming the dough evenly around the outside edge. Repair any gaps or holes with extra dough, and press dough against sides of pan so that it will adhere. Prick the pastry bottom all over with a fork. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Pumpkin tarte filling ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pumpkin filling
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Pumpkin tarte filling directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush pastry lightly with milk, then cut a circle of parchment paper to fit over the bottom of the tarte and fill with beans or pie weights, and place on a sheet pan and transfer to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until pastry has browned . Remove from oven, cool and remove the pie weights.

Puree the cottage cheese with the whipping cream until smooth. Combine the rest of the pumpkin tarte filling ingredients. Pour the pumpkin filling into the pastry, and transfer back into the oven to cook for about 35 minutes, until the filling has only a slight wobble when shaken gently. Remember that the filling will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven.

Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream.

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