As I am going through the many pictures on my computer I come across a picture of the dessert I made for thanksgiving dinner back in October and for some reason never blogged about. Better late than never.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart
For my first Canadian Thanksgiving Sean and I went over to his dad’s house for dinner. Since I wasn’t the one in charge of making all the food I thought I would contribute by making a cold green bean salad with a roasted onion balsamic vinaigrette and dessert.
For dessert I knew I wanted to do something with pumpkin and to take another stab at pastry so I settled on adapting my lemon curd tart to a fall recipe with classic flavours. I quickly decided that I would make the same cream cheese base and mix in homemade pumpkin puree and then sprinkle some pecans on top which would be a play on a pecan pie without all the fat.
Making the pumpkin puree was a pretty easy process but not always necessary when you can just buy canned pumpkin puree. My thought on the whole thing is that making it yourself is a fun part of the process so if you have the time you might as well do it. The method I used was cutting up the pumpkin after discarding the seeds and stringy bit and removing the skin. I then steamed the pumpkin until it was soft and transferred it to my food processor to create the puree.
It was at this point I realized that pumpkin doesn’t have much of a flavour so out came the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Once adding these spices I was left with the taste I have always associated with pumpkin. It was ready to be added to the cream cheese mixture.
Once it was all mixed together I was ready to add it to the shell sprinkle with pecans and put away in the fridge to set.
Pastry is something that has eluded me for quite a while. Last thanksgiving I made a great apple cranberry pie with a homemade shell that turned out pretty good, unfortunately that must have been a fluke. I have failed to make a sucessful flaky crust since then. Every time I try I psych myself out and end up cheating by just pressing the crust into the pan instead of rolling it out. This is another one of those times.
The first attempt at this crust was pretty good, except that the bottom was thick with the sides crumbly. I decided to abandon the crust and try out more of a shortbread crust my mom had given me. Unfortunately the bottom of that crust was too thin and it ended up cracking. So this left me with 2 options: try a third crust or go back to the first one and make it work. Since we were going over to dinner later than night I went with crust number 1.
In the end a very yummy dessert was enjoyed by everyone at dinner and little did they know the crust dilemmas I had through out the day. I am convinced that I will conquer the pastry crust one day, even if it means dozens of failed attempts between now and then.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart
2 oz. cream cheese
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 C heavy cream or whipping cream
1/4 C pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg
With a whisk attachment, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium high speed until fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in the spiced pumpkin puree. Place in tart shell and top with pecans.