Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pumpkin Apple Tart (It's Pi(e) Day!)

Happy Pi(e) Day, everyone! Now, I have never been a fan of math, but pastry? I can get behind that!

Because this year marks a truly epic Pi phenomenon (today is 3.1415!), I wanted to share an epically delicious tart with you that both the adults and kids I served it to adored. Coincidentally, the recipe also looks long enough to have it's own 3-hour movie - but luckily each component can be made in advance without an issue, and any leftovers of the finished pie can be frozen too. I actually made a double batch of the filling in preparation for a Home Ec pastry lesson, which almost didn't make it to this tart because my kids were in love with it!

Pumpkin Apple Tart

Now, I know neither apples nor pumpkin are overly "in season" right now - so you have two options if the idea of this combination of a buckwheat sablé-style crust, sweet and spicy custard filling and just tender roasted apple with a sprinkle of raw sugar turns your crank:

1. Wait until September / October and try again
2. Buy a bag of local "storage" apples and either a buttercup or kabocha squash and get baking!

In fact, you will likely get better results with one of the two "alternate" squashes I mentioned than with a run-of-the-mill pie pumpkin - neither is as watery and both (to me) taste a bit sweeter and well rounded. When I make apple-pumpkin butter in the Fall after apple picking (same recipe as below, minus the starches and eggs), I usually pick up one of those instead!

Now, since the whole recipe takes a bit of time to complete, it's great that you can also effectively make both components at once. After the filling goes into the oven, make, chill and roll out the crust, fitting it into the tart pan and re-refrigerating - up to 3 days, if wrapped! Then, while the filling cools, crank that already-hot oven up and blind bake the base, which gives you time to clean up, make the custard and slice the apple. After that, it's all assembly, baby... and waiting one last hour and a half for it to bake and cool enough so you don't scald your mouth.

A lot of work? Yes. But if you have anyone to impress (even if it's just yourself), it's a winner.

Pumpkin Apple Tart
Makes one 10" tart, 12 slices

Filling:
1 lb cooking apples, cored and chopped (I used a mix of MacIntosh and Red Prince)
1 ½ lbs fresh pumpkin (see above), peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
⅔ cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2 egg yolks

Pastry:
3 tbsp cream cheese
3 tbsp non-hydrogenated shortening
3 tbsp brown sugar
¾ cup flour
⅓ cup buckwheat flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt
Pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
1-2 tbsp milk

Apple Topping:
1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp raw sugar

Filling:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toss apples, pumpkin and lemon juice in a large casserole dish, cover and bake for 2-2 ½ hours, until very soft.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then add apples, pumpkin and any liquid to a food processor and puree completely, making sure peels are finely ground. Alternatively, use a food mill to remove the peels and seeds.
  4. Scrape back into the casserole dish, re-cover and bake another 1 ½ hours, stirring halfway through.
  5. Remove the lid and bake a further 30-40 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes, until very thick.
  6. Cool to room temperature (or cover and chill until needed – up to 1 week).
  7. When ready to use, add cinnamon, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch and egg yolk, mixing well with a spatula. Set aside.

Pastry:
  1. Cream the cream cheese, shortening, and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and beat at medium speed until well blended.
  3. Beat in flours, flax seed, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon until well blended, adding milk as necessary to for a stiff but cohesive dough.
  4. Shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  6. Between sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough into an approximately 15” round.
  7. Flip into a greased 10” tart pan with a removable bottom set on a baking sheet, pressing into the sides. Trim the edges.
  8. Dock dough with a fork, then line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the weights and foil and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the base of the shell is golden.
  10. Transfer to a rack and cool 30 minutes. Leave oven on.

Assembly and Baking:
  1. Spread the apple-pumpkin mixture into the tart shell.
  2. Starting at the outside, overlap the apple slices in concentric circles over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle with the raw sugar.
  3. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and golden and the custard is set in the centre.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 194.3
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 34.8 mg
Sodium: 15.6 mg
Total Carbs: 36.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
Protein: 3.0 g