Cardomom Pumpkin Tart

Here is a slightly Asian spin on an American favorite. It’s a recipe I came up with on the fly one Thanksgiving when I was cooking at Boyfriend’s sister’s apartment. I started with a recipe for pumpkin pie from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which called for nutmeg and a host of other spices, some of which our host didn’t have. So I had to improvise. She happened to have cardamom, which she liked to use in her apple pie. So I decided to use just use some cardamom and ginger, and it was a surprise hit. One guest said she usually didn’t like pumpkin pie, but liked this one. I like to use a deep dish tart pan with fluted edges, which works great with both flour and graham cracker crusts.

Ingredients (for a 9″ deep dish tart or pie):

1 recipe 9″ pie crust

1  15 oz. can  pumpkin puree

1 cup  dark brown sugar

1/2 – 1 tsp.  ground ginger (optional)

1/4 tsp.  ground cardamom

1/2 tsp.  table salt (or 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt)

2/3 cup  heavy cream

2/3 cup  whole milk

4  large eggs

Procedure:

1. Blind bake the crust:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and position the oven rack to the lower-middle position.  Prepare your crust and line the tart pan or pie pan.  Line the crust with parchment or aluminum foil and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden.

preparing the tart pan
preparing the tart pan

crust ready to be blind-baked, with beans for pie weights
crust ready to be blind-baked, with beans for pie weights

2.  Meanwhile prepare the filling.  Timing is important here, since the filling must be warm, and poured into the crust when it’s hot out of the oven.  In a medium saucepan, over medium heat stir together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, spices, and salt.  Stirring continuously, cook the pumpkin until it’s thick and shiny.

3.  Whisk in the cream and milk, and simmer a minute or two, stirring to prevent the mixture from scalding.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you beat the eggs.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they are well blended.  Temper the eggs by adding half the warm pumpkin mixture, whisking to combine.  Add the rest of the pumpkin and whisk until all the ingredients are blended together.

5.  When the crust is ready, remove the weights and liner, and immediately pour the filling into the hot crust.  Raise the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees and bake the tart for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the filling is puffed up, and the center just barely wiggles when you move the pan.  If you overcook the pie, the filling will crack.

fresh from the oven
fresh from the oven

6.  Cool completely before serving.

if needed, rest the tart pan on a large can to unmold
if needed, rest the tart pan on a large can to unmold

7.  Try serving the tart with fresh unsweetened whipped cream drizzled with honey (or try sweetening the whipped cream with a little honey instead of sugar).

This recipe is featured in the post Pies Please.

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