Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart

October is the month when all the holidays planning starts. Starting with Halloween, then Thanksgiving and X'mas and New Year. In the short span of 3 months, I get to bake alot in my kitchen and for this year, I shall be extra careful on the quantity I can eat as I have lost 2/3 of my targeted excess weight and certainly I cannot let the last quarter of the year fail my plans to lose the remaining 1/3 excess weight. It might be hard but it is do-able!

Pumpkins and squash are the star produces this month and the fall colors are just beautiful. Coupled with the crisp cool autumn air, it is the transitional period from summer to the ominous cold winter and a time when it is still enjoyble to go out to play and walk. I love Autumn.

Despite Curry not liking pumpkin pie or anything pumpkin, I went ahead and made this tart today. I first tasted pumpkin pie at a Thanksgiving dinner 8 years ago and perhaps the amount of spice was too much then that I didn't find it attractive to my palate. But over the years, I learned to eat more types of squash and  vegetables, cooked in the conventional way in the pan or steamed and I started to like the pumpkin and its slight nutty taste, which cooks tender on the stove and has a hint of natural sweetness in itself. The Japanese pumpkin Kabocha is one good pumpkin and so far I haven't eaten any more flavorful and sweet pumpkin nor squash like it.

For this tart, I added low fat cream cheese to the pumpkin filling and it definitely added flavor and taste to the tart. I just made up the spice part with equal parts of nutmeg and cinnamon and used heavy cream for the liquid part. I don't think milk will give a smooth filling and the heavy cream is the preferred fat in this tart. I used canned pumpkin to save me time and elbow grease of steaming and mashing it. I used the same Tart recipe as my French Apple Tart, but used only half of the tart dough as this is a small tart measuring only 6 inches. For a cute version, mini muffin pans can be used and as this tart is quite rich, a small bite or slice is easier to eat. And I am surprised that my kids asked for second helpings despite their father wants nothing to do with it! And I find this Pumpkin Tart version of mine is just nice, with a cup of hot tea on a cool autumn afternoon.

Recipe

Ingredients

Tart Case
300g All Purpose Flour
180g Cold but malleable butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg

Filling
230g Low fat cream cheese
1 large egg
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp Heavy Cream
250g Mashed and Pureed Pumpkin ( Libby brand)
125g Light brown sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
50ml Heavy cream

Method
Tart Case
1)Sift the flour with the sugar and salt.

2)Cut the butter into small pieces and drop into the flour. Using hands, rub the butter into the flour to coat. Do not overmix, when there is no more obvious separate chunk of butter, the dough is ready. Mixture will be a mess. Or use food processor but do not over process.
3)Beat the egg and pour into the dough and mix to incorporate. Do Not overmix. Form into a disk and wrap up and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
4)Grease a 6 inch removable base tart pan. Take out and roll out the dough to line the tart pan and line with parchment paper and baking beans. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven. Proceed to do the filling.
Filling
1)Beat the cream cheese till light and creamy. Add in the egg and beat to combine.
2)Stir in the heavy cream and fold in the flour. Leave aside.
3)In another bowl, stir the mashed & pureed pumpkin with the light brown sugar till well mixed. Stir in the nutmeg and cinnamon together with the heavy cream till well combined.
4)Spoon the cheese mixture into the pumpkin mixture and fold to combine.
5)Pour this mixture into the partly baked tart shell and bake for 30 to 35 mins.
6)Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 mins, remove from tart pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.




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