Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recipe: Caramel Pumpkin Tart

I seem to be on a roll on tarts these days! I have re-discovered Dorie Greenspan and her rather maternal, comforting recipes. The header to this recipe said that this was no wishy-washy pumpkin pie and that's pretty right.

The addition of caramel to a traditional pumpkin recipe adds a lot of punch and a deep jazzy depth to the taste of this tart filling. I like it a lot, I'm absolutely going to make this at Christmas.

Caramel Pumpkin Tart

200g digestives biscuits, crushed
75g butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used thickened cream)
2 Tbsp rum (dark rum or port would work as well)
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanailla essence
1 C pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin pie puree
Pinch of salt
2 large fresh eggs, beaten

1) Start with the making the graham crust, as in a prior post, this is 150g or half a packet of crushed Digestives biscuits and 75g melted butter, stirred together and pressed into a pie pan. Bake at 130 degrees for 15 min.

2) Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of sugar into a flat-bottomed pan and let it cook over the stove at high heat. Do not stir. It will start to caramelize and turn amber and bubble dramatically. When you've reached this stage, turn down the heat to medium throw in 3/4 cup of heavy cream. You will see the entire mixture bubble but if you stir it out, it will start to calm down into a caramel sauce. Add the rum and the butter, while continuing to stir at medium heat. This caramel sauce, by the way, is excellent for sticky toffee date pudding.

3) Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla essence and salt to the pumpkin. I used the scrapings from a vanilla bean instead.

4) Whisk together the pumpkin mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Add in the beaten eggs and the cooled caramel mixture. Pour into the pie tart.

5) Bake the pie at 150 degrees for 40 minutes. Toward the end, you might have to adjust the oven heat down, if the pie looks like it is hardening up well. The top should bake smooth and if you are worried about the top browning, you can turn your oven to a bottom grill heat mode, or cover the top of the pie with aluminium foil (while not pushing the foil directly onto the surface of the pie).

6) Cool the pie and finish with a sweetened whipped cream piping. Pumpkin goes really well with whipped cream. If you find that its hard to get the cream to set, one reason is that you should cool your bowl and whisk. The cooler the bowl, the easier it is for the cream to trap air. You can also beat the cream with some marscpone cheese, for a sweetened and thicker cream. Pipe it in a thick, decorative rim over your pumpkin filling top.

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