Pumpkin pie is not French. Not only is it not French, but the idea of making a dessert out of this vegetable seems to be a shocker… until they try this version.
What is so special about this recipe is that the low ratio of filling to crust (2:1) highlights the crust. As a result, the crust is elevated to almost a shortbread cookie with a subtle anise flavor that compliments the spices in the filling. Because there is so little filling, there is a focus on quality and thus it needs to be made from fresh homemade pumpkin puree. It is worth the extra time and effort. It reminds me of my grandmother because I use my great-grandmother’s tarte tin.
*Start 1 day ahead.
FILLING INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cup pumpkin, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp grated nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 eggs, 11/3 cup cream CRUST DOUGH INGREDIENTS: 1 1/3 cup flour, 2 TBS sugar, 1TBS anise seeds, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1 egg yolk, 1 1/2 TBS-2TBS water TOPPING INGREDIENTS: 1 pint whipping cream, 1 scant TBS sugar, 2-4 drops of vanilla
*STEP ONE: MAKE THE PUREE
- Bake a pie pumpkin. (Cut in half, seed and place cut-side down in baking dish with about 1 inch of water.)
- Scoop out the pumpkin and drain any excess liquid (I like to do this a day ahead. When I take it out of the fridge the next day the water has separated itself and I can easily just pour it off).
- Puree in a food processor.
*STEP TWO: MAKE THE CRUST (Makes 1 crust)
- Mix all the dry ingredients
- Cut the butter and use your fingers tips to smear and pinch the butter together with the dry ingredients. Try to work the dough the bare minimum so that it will be tender and flaky. Stop just when you get a sort of large wet sand consistency and welcome larger baby pea sized pebbles of butter.
- Mix the eggs and 1 1/2 TBS water together. Add to the butter-flour mixture. Stir with a fork until incorporated.
- Squeeze the dough to see if it holds together. If not, stir in the last 1/2 TBS of water.
- Smear the dough together (again, working it a minimum) and gather it together in a ball.
- Refrigerate (minimum 1 hour, maximum 2 days)
STEP THREE: MAKE THE FILLING
- Be sure to drain or press out all excess water from the pumpkin puree.
- Mix all the ingredients together and blend until smooth.
STEP FOUR: BLIND-BAKE THE CRUST
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Roll out the dough and place in low sided tart tin. Prick the bottom to let hot air escape so it won’t bubble. Fill with pie weights (or a piece of aluminum foil and rice)
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the dough appears set and the crust edge is light brown.
- Add the filling to the crust. Bake about 40-45 minutes (until a knife or toothpick can be inserted and removed clean).
- In a food processor, whip together the cream, sugar and vanilla to make whipped cream.
Serve slices of cooled tart with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.