Pumpkin craze, here we go. Everywhere I shop, there is something pumpkin related. Even worse than that, is the pumpkin spice obsession, which is basically just a mix of spices – that don’t even taste like pumpkin at all! For a funny review about pumpkin spice, read this article. During my visit in Indiana last year, where I haven’t set foot in for the past twelve years, I have encountered pumpkins in every house, supermarket, store window, neighbors garden. Even more than squirrels, which seems odd because I spot about fifty of them a day.
But, I chose to use squash instead! Aha! It seems to be a tendency to use canned pumpkin puré, which I don’t get, because – look at all the PUMPKINS AND SQUASHES PEOPLE! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
Ok, I can sympathize with all you lazy cooks, but once in a while, at least once a year, put some elbow grease into it and do the real deal. Dare to be different. Risk to be real. Dish the can and go all natural.
So, I went to Walmart (what an adventure), and found a bunch of squashes that looked ever so peculiar, interesting, and felt so intrigued that I bought a few to test and cook. This is a rare opportunity for me, as I don’t find so much diversity in Portugal (we are not pumpkin spice obsessed – yet).
Looked up some recipes at the local library to find out exactly what kind of squash I bought in the first place. And so this is what I made.
For the crust recipe, check my Pear, Roquefort and Walnut Tart. It never fails.
Pumpkins and squashes are very versatile ingredients and combine extremely well with warm spices. With this recipe you are bound to have a bit of roast pulp leftover, which can be frozen for a future tart, blended into a soup or used as a simple spread to substitute butter on toast – with an extra dash of honey and toasted almonds for a super healthy breakfast.
500 grams roast pumpkin pulp
100 grams whole cream
150 grams brown sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch lemon zest
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Greek yoghurt and honey for topping
Procedure: Roast at least 1.5kg of pumpkin in quarters with a dash of olive oil, honey, and balsamic glaze with the peel on as it is much easier to remove the pulp out after roasted. Depending on the pumpkin or squash you choose, water content will vary, so to be sure your tart doesn’t end up liquid and soggy, make sure to squeeze the excess liquid with a cheese cloth or a strainer and kitchen towel. Purée the pulp with remaining ingredients in a blender. Pour the pumpkin mix into the pre-baked tart base and bake at 190ºC for 10 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 165ºC. Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set. An easy trick is to slightly shake the pan and if the filling stays put then it’s ready. Do not cook longer than this as it will cause the filling to crack because of the over-coagulation of present proteins.
Serve with a spoonful of fresh Greek yoghurt and honey.