Recipe: Pumpkin Tart with Gingerbread Crust

Somehow Thanksgiving is next week and that doesn't even seem possible to me. It feels like a week ago we were picking apples and wearing denim jackets and now I'm planning out what Thanksgiving desserts I'm going to make, buying Christmas gifts, and wearing my winter coat to work in the morning.

My Thanksgiving contribution is usually a pumpkin pie because #1 it's the best pie, and #2 I don't want any doubts about there not being pumpkin pie. So I bring one to be sure. Slightly bored of making the same thing, I tried out a new crust from The Four & Twenty Blackbird's Pie Book and baked this baby in a tart pan as oppose to a pie pan. I wanted a really thick crust and using a pan with shorter sides did just that.

Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Makes 1 tart, serves 8–10 people
Crust recipe via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Crust:
About 25 2-inch gingersnaps
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of butter, melted

Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk, slightly beatened
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

First, we make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, grind the gingersnaps to fine crumbs. Add the sugar, melted butter, and salt and pulse until just combined. Pour the crumbs into an ungreased 9-inch tart pan. Spread evenly over the bottom, working the crumbs from the center towards the sides. Press the crumbs up the side of the tart pan to create the sides. Your sides should be around 1/4 inch wide. Use the flat bottom of a glass to smooth out bumps and even everything out. Freeze until solid, about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake on the center oven rack for 12–14 minutes, until fragrant and slightly darkened. If the crust slumps or cracks while baking, gently push the crumbs back into place, while hot, with a clean, folded kitchen towel. Refrigerate the crust for 10 minutes prior to filling to set the crumbs in place.

Make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for 5 minutes. Scrap down the bowl completely, to try an avoid cream cheese lumps, and add the pumpkin. Beat until combined. Add sugar and salt; combine. Add egg+egg yolk, milk, and melted butter; combine. Finally, add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ginger and beat until incorporated. Remove crust from the refrigerator and pour filling into crust. Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Top with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

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