tartlicious tuesday’s: pumpkin pie tartlets
In an earlier post entitled “It’s all about the Pumpkin” I wrote about cooking down your own pumpkin. For me, the day my father would peel and cut the pumpkin for my mother to cook down was one of great pleasure for I knew what the end result would be. I mentioned that my mother rarely, if ever, baked. She didn’t care for baking so having a freshly baked pumpkin pie was a treasure and greatly anticipated each year. I’m not really sure why my mother chose pumpkin pie as the one thing she would bake year after year. My mother passed on three years ago and so I won’t have the chance to ask her, but I do know it wasn’t a recipe handed down from mother to daughter as my grandmother was from Sicily and pumpkin pie was not in her baking repertoire. I am going with the theory that my mother loved pumpkin pie as much as I do. She took great pride in her very simple recipe. She loved to mention that the pumpkin was not from a can and she would make as many pies as she had puree pumpkin, which was a lot because she often cooked down a rather large pumpkin. My mother didn’t know that there were particular pumpkins for cooking down. A pumpkin was a pumpkin. And, that fact is a testament to this recipe. It doesn’t matter if you have a “pumpkin pie” pumpkin with its tiny brown specks or if you have a regular, run of the mill pumpkin. As long as you cook it down properly and puree it well any pumpkin will do for this recipe and for an upcoming pumpkin soup recipe.
I like to use the following recipe from Martha Stewart for the pate brisee: Ingredients 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water Directions 1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. 2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. 3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month. Or, you could use this tart dough recipe from Martha Stewart: Ingredients 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup ice water 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces Directions 1. In a small bowl, mix together salt and water. Keep very cold until ready to use. 2. Place flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly until mixture forms large crumbs. Add the salt water mixture and continue pulsing until dough has just formed but is not smooth. 3. On a lightly floured work surface, evenly divide dough. Form each piece of dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Pumpkin Pie Filling Ingredients 2 cups pumpkin puree 1 cup whole milk 2 large eggs ¾ cup sugar 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ginger ¼ tsp ground clove 2 tbsp melted butter (unsalted) 1 tbsp corn starch Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Move the racks to the lower half of the oven. 2. Take a dough round and roll out to fit a deep dish 9” pie dish. Or, roll out the dough to fit 6-8 tartlet forms depending on size. 3. Chill the pie shell for about 10 minutes in the freezer. If making tartlets you will need to pre-bake the tartlet shells because they will not finish cooking when the filling has finished. 4. While the shell(s) is/are chilling; Place all ingredients into a blender. Pulse to blend, but do not over blend. The mixture is not thick. 5. When the pie shell has chilled place it on a cookie sheet. Pour the filling into the shell and carefully place the pie (on the cookie sheet) into the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. 6. If making the tartlets, once they have chilled, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown. Take the shells out and cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once they are cool, poor the filling into them and place them back in the oven. Bake until tartlets are set. 7. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the pie is set, about 45 minutes. 8. Remove the pie or tartlets from the oven and cool. Once cool put the pie or tartlets into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving. Serve with homemade whip cream. Note: If you have any filling left over and don’t want to waste it simply place it into a small baking dish or ramekins. This custard bakes nicely without a shell and is equally as delicious.