I try not to mess with my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
We make the same things every year. Slow-roasted Turkey with grandpa’s famous stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet baked yams, my mom’s green bean casserole, and my corn soufflé. If I tried to change anything my family would fire me, if they could.
The only thing I’m able to change is dessert. I like pumpkin pie, but it’s fun to change things up.
Last year, right before Thanksgiving, I was traveling through Switzerland with a friend and we stopped at a roadside rest for gas (Roadside rests are nothing like the ones we have in America. They’re like little gourmet restaurants that serve espressos, wine, fancy desserts, and cheese). It was dreamy. Outside there was an older gentleman roasting chestnuts over an open fire—I’m very serious. Inside, I saw people sitting at tiny tables eating something that was a brilliant orange color. It was like a picture out of a travel magazine.
It’s hard to describe the brilliant orange color, but it was “really” orange. In broken French, I asked what it was, and the store owner led me to a pumpkin sitting on a cart and told me the dessert was tarte à la citrouille.
My dream pumpkin was a lime green-greyish color on the outside. The store owner promised me it was bright orange inside. The only disappointing part of the whole experience was not being able to bring a pumpkin home on the airplane.
In the U.S. the Blue Hokkaido and the “Cinderella” pumpkin also known as Rouge Vif d Etampes are comparable to the pumpkins I saw in Switzerland.
Lucky for me (and now you), the shop owner her shared her recipe with me. If you are not able to find pumpkins with bright colored flesh you can use buttercup squash or canned pumpkin.
- 1 frozen butter pastry puff sheet, thawed
- 1 small pumpkin with bright orange flesh, sliced into 4 sections with the seeds and pulp removed and discarded or one 15-oz. can of 100% pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or Crystal Ball Farms cream line ½ and ½ (do not shake and pour off the cream that naturally settles on the top
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350℉
Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil and place the pumpkin pieces, flesh side up. Cover with more tinfoil and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is soft. Cool and scoop out the flesh and mash or pulse with a food processor, until smooth; about 1 minute and set aside.
Roll out the pastry puff on a clean, lightly floured surface. Transfer dough to a round 9-inch tart pan with fluted sides or a 9×13 pan. Lightly press the dough into the bottom of the pan and along the sides. Trim to fit and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
Measure out 2 cups of the cooked pumpkin and reserve the remaining pumpkin for another use.
In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin. Add the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Add the sugar and salt. Whisk in the heavy cream, bourbon and vanilla.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the frozen unbaked tart crust. Increase oven temperature to 400℉. Bake until the top is just set; about 30-35minutes. Let the tart cool before serving. Serve at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Refrigerate any unused portion.