Happy blog anniversary to me! It’s been a terrific two years of discovery in the kitchen. Many thanks to all of you for your support and for sharing the journey with me. I’m going to post every day this week as part of the celebration, and look for some visual changes to the site in the next month to mark the start of a new year. I’d also like to bring back the “request line,” so if there’s something you’d like me to make and post (including baking recipes that might need some high-altitude adjustments) leave the information in a comment on the site or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Thinking about this time last year, my life was pretty chaotic. We had just moved back to Denver from Dallas, we were in a new living space, we were adjusting to the demands of my husband’s new practice, we were reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. It was all pretty overwhelming. Consequently, there were quite a few recipes I wanted to try last October (especially from the then-current issue of Everyday Food) that I just didn’t get around to making. Halloween Whoopie Pies was one of the recipes (so yummy!), and Chocolate-Pumpkin Tart (today’s recipe) was another. The Chocolate-Pumpkin Tart was the inspiration for my last post (How to Make Pumpkin Puree), and I’m happy to report that the tart was well worth the effort on the puree. Here’s how I made it.
In my Cuisinart Mini-Prep food processor, I pulsed 20 chocolate wafers with 2 tablespoons of sugar until the cookies were finely ground. I added 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter and pulsed until the crumbs were moistened. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, I pressed the crumbs into the bottom (but not the sides) of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. I placed the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and baked it at 350F until it was set (12 minutes).
Meanwhile, I melted 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a homemade double boiler. When the crust came out of the oven, I poured the chocolate over it and carefully spread it to the edges with a spatula. I transferred the baking sheet (with the tart pan) to the freezer for 5 minutes to set the crust and the chocolate.
While the crust was in the freezer, I whisked together 1 1/2 cups of homemade pumpkin puree (1 1/2 cups of canned is fine too), 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of packed light-brown sugar, 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin-pie spice, and 1/4 teaspoon of table salt to make the filling. When the crust was ready, I used a pastry brush to brush the sides of the pan with melted butter (to prevent sticking) and then poured the filling into the crust. I baked the tart on the rimmed baking sheet at 350F until it was set (45 minutes). I cooled the tart at room temperature for 1 hour, refrigerated it for 1 hour, and then unmolded it to serve. (Use a knife to loosen the tart if yours sticks a bit; mine did in one tiny spot only.)
I’ve seen the homemade pumpkin puree “light,” folks. It’s amazing! I mean, I’ve always enjoyed dishes made with canned pumpkin (including this fantastic pasta and countless Thanksgiving pumpkin pies), but the real stuff makes canned pumpkin seem downright gelatinous. The homemade puree is incredibly smooth and creamy, and that really translates in this dessert. I was actually worried that I hadn’t cooked my tart quite enough because I left a mark in the center of the tart when I touched it (why did I do that???), but the tart was just that creamy. It cut perfectly and came out clean when it was time to serve it.
The flavor of the tart was just fantastic, too. It definitely tastes like pumpkin pie (only better than what I’m used to), and the amount of chocolate in the dish is just right. I really love the chocolate-on-chocolate layering of the crust. (I’m guessing Dr. O loved it, too, since he had FOUR SERVINGS of the tart over the course of last night.)
The crust was a little bit on the crumbly side, but that improved overnight as the moisture from the filling sunk in. I liked it both ways, but you might want to add another 1/2 tablespoon or tablespoon of butter when processing the crust if you want yours to be more dense.
The colors of the dessert are perfect for Halloween, but this would be a welcome contribution to any Thanksgiving table, I imagine. I know I can’t wait to make it again.
TIPS: I use Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers for recipes that require chocolate wafers. I’ve always been able to find them in the cookie aisles of “normal” grocery stores (in Denver and Dallas, at least). If you can’t find them or other plain chocolate wafers, I think Oreo cookies with the filling scraped off would work just fine.
Recipe link: Chocolate-Pumpkin Tart