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November 20, 2005

Delectable Dishes, New and Old

20051121_pumpkintart.jpgI think the real key to a memorable Thanksgiving lies in the successful combining of old favorites and new interesting dishes. Tonight's Pre-Thanksgiving Feast (or "Friend Thanksgiving" as our hosts, Dora and Diane, called it) was a perfect example of this. We had wonderful traditional dishes - the turkey, formerly known as Malcolm, and the mashed potatoes and the gravy and apple pie - and also managed to pull together some more unusual side dishes that captured the essence of Thanksgiving while adding something new to the table. Diane brilliantly added a pile of perfectly round, glistening baked apples to the table that had such a Thanksgiving feel to them that I was surprised more people haven't thought of making them, and I brought a Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart that I found in the November 2003 issue of Living, which managed to keep the traditional pumpkin dessert taste even though the bittersweet chocolate crust kept it from tasting as sweetly cloying as some pumpkin pies.

20051121_bakedapples.jpgTo make the apples, Diane simply stuffed them with dried cranberries, brown sugar, and butter and baked them in muffin tins with a little water beneath each apple to steam them. The Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart recipe isn't on the Living website for some reason, but it's too good not to share, so here it is:
(ps - I just use a regular hand mixer)

Chocolate Crust
(makes 1 ten-inch tart shell)

1 cup flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
4 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Add butter; mix on low speed until butter is the size of small peas, about 5 minutes. Add egg; mix until ingredients come together to form a dough.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to just thicker than 1/8 inch. Brush off excess flour; transfer dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pan; trim excess flush with edge. Lightly prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Bake shell until firm, about 15 minutes. Immediately spinkle chocolate over bottom of shell; smooth with spatula.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Chocolate Crust (recipe above)
2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, creme fraiche, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve set over a clean bowl; discard solids. Pour filling into prepared crust.

2. Bake until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

3. Set a heatproof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate in bowl, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Dip a spoon in melted chocolate, then drizzle chocolate over tart, forming decorative stripes. Refrigerate until well set, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Posted by georgia to Kitchen and Cooking , Reviews on November 20, 2005 10:34 PM | permalink | Email this post

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that is a gorgeous and decadent tart you have there! its a perfect way to use up my leftover pumpkin. thanks for sharing the recipe! :-)

Posted by: tanvi at November 28, 2005 10:14 PM

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