Growing up, there were two uses for pumpkins: pie and jack o’lanterns. I never heard of pumpkin in soups or curries or quick breads, and can you imagine, the little pumpkin-pie-lover that I am, to be opened to those possibilities? Of course, I still love carving pumpkins for Hallowe’en:
We’ve had a surfeit of pumpkins and other winter squashes coming in with our CSA box–Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, Butternut Squash, Delicata Squash–perhaps not great for carving, but absolutely delicious when roasted and pureed into soups, and in this case, a savory tart. It’s rich stuff, with butter and sour cream and sweetened ever-so-slightly with caramelized onions and the natural sugars that develop with roasting squash. I’ll admit something to you–because I was baking this on Hallowe’en evening, and along with getting ready for the Big Night, I cheated and used a Pillsbury Pie Crust. I KNOW, I KNOW, I can make pate brisee and it would have been so much better, but I was in a time crunch you guys! Anyway, it was a huge hit with Choo, who shares my love of all that is pumpkin.
I used a blend of a few different squashes–I had roasted a pan full of pumpkin, butternut squash, and delicata to help clear some counter space earlier in the week. Roasting winter squashes is incredibly easy:
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Cut squashes into large pieces, scrape out seeds and stringy pulp. You can peel them, but it’s really not necessary–the flesh can be easily scraped out after roasting.
- Toss in just enough olive oil to coat pieces lightly, and if using squash for savory dishes, add a head’s worth of garlic cloves.
- Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until flesh is browned and tender.
If you have extra puree, then it’s fine to store in the freezer in an airtight container.
Even though I served it for dinner, this tart would make an excellent Autumn brunch dish–it would go perfectly with a mixed greens salad with fall notes (pomegranate seeds, candied walnuts, chevre, etc.).
Savory Winter Squash & Caramelized Onion Tart
- 1/2 batch of Pate Brisee (or one refrigerated pie crust if you’re a cheater like me)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large Maui Sweet onion, sliced
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 cups roasted squash puree, any combination of pumpkin, butternut squash or delicata
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 10-12 fresh sage leaves (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Roll out pate brisee and line a 9″ tart pan. Cover and refrigerate lined tart pan for 20 minutes.
- Blind bake tart crust for 10-12 minutes. Blind baking is done by lining dough with a layer parchment paper and filling crust with pie weights such as dried beans, rice, ceramic beads. Set aside to cool slightly and turn oven down to 350°
- Melt butter in a skillet on medium-low heat and add onions. Gently cook until soft and add thyme. Slowly cook onions on low heat until caramelized, about 20-30 minutes. Remove thyme branches and set aside.
- In a food processor, add squash puree, roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions (and any melted butter remaining in the pan) and pulse until smooth.
- Add sour cream, eggs, cream, salt and pepper to food processor and pulse until incorporated fully, scraping sides down with a rubber spatula at least once.
- Pour into prepared tart shell and decorate with sage leaves if desired. Bake for 30-35 minutes until center is set and top is browned.