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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mini cream cheese pumpkin tart

Last tart standing

I have a bugbear. For 3 days, the question of whether to call this a tart or a pie preoccupied me a good portion of my time.

According to reliable sources, a  tart has a firm crumbly pastry-dough bottom only crust, can be either savory or sweet and is baked on a tart pan with a removable base. Unlike the pie that is served off its pie tray, the tart is served unmolded in its full glory, showing off the crust and filling.

So it seems like I have created a tart with sides. Perhaps I  should christian it a 'piart'.

Pie or tart, this project is  a herculean task, judging from the amount of things I have to wash, for 12 pumpkin tarts. But all was forgotten when I sink my teeth into the first tart. I promptly regret buying a tray with only 12 cupcake holes  (is that what you call it ?) and my mantra 'moderation is key' is thrown out of the kitchen window. Tut tut. After giving away  a couple of tarts  to my daughter's music teacher  , I  looked with concern the 'meager' amount left for the 3 of us. Oh bother, looks like there will be some encore baking tonight ..

Pumpkin is one of those diabetic friendly foods, a godsend for those with sugar intolerance but born with a sweet tooth. With the amount of snacks that I have been feeding friends and family, it is time to 'scale' back the sugar and use substitute sugar, such as pumpkin. As such, I only needed 1 tablespoon of dulce le leche for 12 tarts.

How do I evaluate the outcome ? The tarts / piarts come with  a nice crusty crunch with each nibble, the filling is creamy with a  hint of dulce le leche and a vague custard like fragrance without stealing the limelight from the pumpkin. I have to abandon humility here and say - yes! This is it !

If you want to raise the health factor  a notch, use wholemeal wheat flour instead of plain flour.

Set aside 2 hours for this  baking therapy. Makes 12 mini tarts.

Tart case :
170g butter , softened
80 g cream cheese, room temperature
1.5 cup plain flour, sifted
1 T very cold water ( optional )

Pumpkin filling :
2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 T dulce le leche or condensed milk
1 egg, room temperature

Topping :
1 T brown sugar
1 T plain flour,sifted
2 T butter, softened
Encore bake using chocolate chips

Method to make pumpkin case :
Whisk butter and cream cheese until well combined.
Add plain flour in stages and whisk until a clump holds when the dough is pinched. If not, add 1 T of very cold water, whisk well until dough clumps when pinched.
( I pulsed the contents in a food processor although whisking the butter and cream cheese first would yield a smoother tart case )
Gather the dough in a plastic bag and leave to chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling :
Microwave a quartered pumpkin for 12 minutes, covered,  or until the pumpkin yields totally when skewered.
Cool pumpkin and use a spoon to scoop out 2 cups of pumpkin flesh into a mixing bowl.
Add dulce le leche and whisk until homogenous.
Ensure the pumpkin puree is cool before adding egg. Whisk again.
Set aside and chill until ready to use.

To make the topping :
Mix topping ingredients with a whisk and set aside. The mixture  will appear grainy.

The final assembly :
Use the butter wrapper and oil a cupcake tin thoroughly including the surface. Dust with thin layer of flour and shake off excess. This is important because you do not want your tart to stick to your tray.
Retrieve dough and on a floured work top, roll out to form a sheet, about 1/2 cm thick.
Use a cup as a dough cutter and cut out a round disc from the dough. The dough should be sufficient to be placed into the cupcake holding area with a little edge protruding. This will aid removal of the tart later.
Put in the freezer for another 30 minutes. This prevents shrinkage when baking.
If you have excess dough, freeze in a bag. For a new project, thaw the excess dough thoroughly before use.

30 minutes later ……..
preheat oven to 180C
Retrieve cupcake tray from the freezer.
Spoon  1 tablespoon of pumpkin filling onto the frozen uncooked tart case.
Top each pumpkin tart with 1 teaspoon of topping.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Let the tarts and cupcake tray cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the tarts from the cupcake holding space, using a little sharp knife to lift up each tart.
Cool further on a rack.

If there should be leftovers , put them under the grill before serving.
Mini cream cheese pumpkin tart

This post will be submitted to  Aspiring Bakers #6: SayCheese! (April 2011) hosted by Jean of Noms I Must.

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