The 10 Days of Pumpkin

Day One:

Cinderella Pumpkin Tart with Toffee Glass Slippers

If pomegranate means missing home (dating back to the Greek myth of Persephone), then pumpkin means coming home. 

Just ask The Cake Therapist. . .

Sizzled on the grill, warmed with spice, sweetened with maple syrup or honey, or accented with citrus, pumpkin stars in dishes I like to make in the fall. I think a craving for pumpkin is a craving for the comforts of home, and it usually starts for me as the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler.

In October, pumpkins are plentiful at farmer's markets and grocery store parking lots. So now is the time to scoop up your favorite variety and keep it in a cool, dry place to use later on. If you try to find a fresh pumpkin right before Thanksgiving, you might not find one. 

To keep things fresh and interesting--in your baking and in your life--try a new pumpkin variety this year. I suggest looking for the Cinderella pumpkin also known by its French heirloom name Rouge Vif d'Etampes. As you can see, it looks just like the body of Cinderella's coach that her fairy godmother brought to life.

I admired mine for a few days as it sat on the kitchen table. And then I was ready to get to work.

I cut it into wedges and removed the seeds, the placed the wedges on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil to roast in the oven.

After they were tender enough to be pierced with a paring knife,

I scooped the tender pumpkin flesh into the food processor, discarding the rinds, and made a smooth puree.

With a tap of my magic wand, the puree went into freezer bags, 2 cups at a time, to be ready for pies, tarts, cakes and anything else pumpkin.

With fresh puree and the tart pastry made ahead, making Cinderella Pumpkin Tart with Toffee Glass Slippers is a breeze. So, you make-aheaders, get busy!

Cinderella Pumpkin Tart with Toffee Glass Slippers

Cinderella Pumpkin Tart with Toffee Glass Slippers
Adapted from Bake Happy by Judith Fertig (Running Press, 2015)
Everybody loves a Cinderella story. This tale of the persecuted heroine, transformed—can’t we relate?—has popped up in 345 variants around the world, according to folklorists who count those things.  The one we’re most familiar with is the 1697 Charles Perrault tale with a fairy godmother, mice and birds who help out, and a pumpkin that turns into a carriage. The pumpkin of choice is a French heirloom, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, also known as the Cinderella pumpkin. Not only does this vivid orange, squatty pumpkin make a good fairytale carriage, but it also makes an elegant tart with a couture color. To me, this tart compares to traditional pumpkin pie as a glass slipper compares to a garden clog. Look for this pumpkin before Halloween, then keep it in a cool, dry place until you need it, or make the pumpkin puree right away.  You will have more pumpkin puree than you need for one tart, but you can always freeze it for up to 3 months, and use it in Marbled Pumpkin Brownies (stay tuned for an upcoming Pumpkin Day) or other dishes calling for pumpkin puree. If you can’t find Cinderella pumpkin, simply wave your kitchen wand and turn a small sugar or pie pumpkin or a butternut squash into what you need. A scattering of clear toffee shards on the finished tart adds that final “dressmaker detail.”
Makes 1 (8-inch) tart
Cinderella Pumpkin Tart Filling:
1 Cinderella pumpkin
1/2 cup (125 ml) clover or other amber honey
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cinderella Pastry:
11/2 cups (225 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (80 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon (125g) unsalted butter, chilled
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 recipe prepared Toffee Glass Slippers (below) or clear brittle candy
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
For the filling, cut the pumpkin into 8 pieces and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Place each piece on the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, scrape the pumpkin pulp into a food processor; discard the rinds. Puree the pumpkin pulp until smooth. Set aside 2 cups (250 g) for this recipe; cover and refrigerate the rest for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Wash and dry the food processor bowl.
For the Cinderella Pastry, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and butter in the food processor and pulse to blend until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water until the dough comes together in a ball.  Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disc. Wrap and freeze one disc for later use.  Place the remaining dough disc in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Place the second sheet of parchment paper over the dough and roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the pastry circle to an 8-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom, remove the parchment paper,  and line the pan with the pastry, pressing it up the sides . Trim the edges by rolling a rolling pin over the rim of the tart pan, letting the excess pastry fall off, and prick the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line the tart pan with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake the tart shell “blind” for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Place the tart shells on a large baking sheet and keep the oven on.
For the Cinderella Pumpkin Tart Filling, place the pureed pumpkin in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the honey into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the honey has reduced and is a darker color. Add the honey to the pumpkin in the mixing bowl, along with the eggs, cream, spices, and lemon juice until well blended. Pour into the tart shell.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until just set. Let the tart cool on the baking sheet. To serve, remove the sides of the tart pan and place on a serving plate. Top with whipped cream and shards of Toffee Glass Slippers or clear brittle candy.

Toffee Glass Slippers
Shiny, hard caramel can be broken into shards to dress up all kinds of desserts. If you like, customize this brittle with fresh chopped rosemary, dried lavender buds, dried rose petals, finely chopped nuts, toasted green pumpkin seeds, or cocoa nibs sprinkled over the warm candy.
Makes about 2 cups (500 ml) candy brittle pieces
Canola oil for the pan
3/4 cup (170 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly brush with oil. Clamp a candy thermometer to the side of a medium saucepan.
Stir the sugar and water together in the saucepan set over medium-high heat. Let the mixture cook, without stirring, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until it turns a dark amber,  at around 300°F on the candy thermometer. Carefully pour the candy on the prepared pan, spreading evenly, then sprinkle with salt.  Let cool completely, then break into shards and use right away or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Get in the kitchen  and BAKE HAPPY!


Catherine St Pierre said...

I love the little gems about flavor meanings in the Cake Therapist and this one about pumpkin on your blog. As someone who organized a book club for a while, I found myself wondering if you've considered creating a table with many of those descriptions of flavors and meanings for readers? Or a fun quiz/promo material where readers could find out what flavor will explain them to themselves today? We always enjoy extra interactive materials with book club. Thanks!

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