Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Bourbon Tart

Look at that crust. Isn't it beautiful? It looks exactly the way a tart crust should look which is pretty amazing considering I made it from scratch. I have to admit though, I did cheat a bit, and despite the fact that it is perfect to look at, it doesn't quite taste as good as I hoped it would, but the texture is almost perfect.

It all started with Sunday night's dinner. Chris and I roasted a whole chicken and had that Sunday while watching the Rams whoop some Cowyboy ass (awesome!). After the chicken cooled Chris picked the meat off the bones while I chopped vegetables, and we turned the chicken into a big pot of chicken, leek, and squash soup. And that soup turned into Tuesday night chicken pot pies.

The Pastry Queen has a great recipe for pot pie crust that is super simple -- butter, flour, cream cheese and salt and pepper made in the food processor. The butter gives it flavor, but the cream cheese gives it a little tang of flavor and a super crumbly, flaky crust -- and all without worrying about overworking the dough or adding too much water, or letting everything get too warm. This crust just doesn't care. Flour and butter into the processor to make crumbs, cream cheese, salt and pepper and pulse until it forms a dough. Roll it out and bake it up. It doesn't get any easier.

Chris and I aren't big eaters though so we knew we wouldn't want to use all that crust in pot pies so I omitted the pepper from the crust in order to use the leftovers in something sweet. I figured I would make mini tarts or even Pecan Tassies, but it turned out that I had enough crust left for an entire tart. Sweet.

Since the Pastry Queen has rarely let me down, and we still had homemade pumpkin puree to use up, her Pumpkin Bourbon Tart won the day. When I repeat this venture again I will probably change a few things. This crust is good, but a little boring so I might try to up the butter a bit and decrease the cream cheese -- just a smidge or two to improve the flavor. I will also par-bake the crust for a few minutes to get the bottom a little more done than we achieved with this tart. It tastes good, but it isn't quite done all the way through. I know that I could probably achieve a tart crust with better flavor just by making it the traditional way, but the traditional way and I don't get along and this is easy. I mean, really easy.

As for the filling, as long as you like pumpkin and bourbon (as I clearly do: here, here, and here) then you will like this just fine. We had it while it was still a touch warm from the oven and the bourbon flavor was kind of strong. I assumed it calmed down a bit once it cooled fully, but it went to work with Chris so I will have to solicit opinions from the ones who got a piece.

For the crust:

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
10 ounces chilled cream cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper (omit to use with something sweet)
1 large egg for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball.

Roll the dough out to fit the pan you are using -- in this tart I used a 10-inch tart pan. Fit the crust into the pan and trim the excess (cut it even with the top of the pan.) Stab the bottom a few times with a fork for venting, and then par-bake. Since I didn't do this part I'm not quite sure how long, but I would start with 5 minutes and check it frequently until the bottom was lightly browned, being careful not to overbrown the edges.

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup bourbon

To make the filling: Put the pumpkin puree in a large bowl and whisk the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sugars and whisk until they disappear. Add the spices and flour and whisk those in. Finally, add the whipping cream and bourbon and whisk until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake fro 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set in the middle and doesn't jiggle anymore. Let the tart cool in the pan for at least an hour before serving.

1 comment:

burkie said...

i didn't get a taste straight outta the oven (shame, that) so i can't tell you if the bourboness diminished or not upon cooling, but i can tell you that what i ate was very strongly bourbon-y. since i agree with you that pun'n + bourbon is a great combo, i loved it. really. the spice had a nice bite, too. now, i understand that certain miras (who shall go unnamed) are self-identified bourbon wimps who, despite being punk'nholics, couldn't handle it. more for me :)
oh, and the crust was quite good.