OK, I admit it! I’ve given up cleaning on Saturday mornings and instead I’m glued to the cooking and baking programs on public TV. Perhaps a sign of age?
I even have a notebook devoted to the recipes and techniques – and an index for the recipes on the first few pages. Yes, I’m a nerd. But a happy one!
The other one who is happy in her kitchen is Martha Stewart. She is doing a series called “Martha Bakes” and I find it riveting! Well, not as exciting as Downton Abbey, but still…I love it when she joyfully says, “Thank you chickens for these wonderful eggs.” Now that’s a grateful foody!
I’ve been baking since I was 10, but I’m self taught. And I’ve never been terribly fussy, as long as things taste great when they’re done. Now that I’m watching Martha, I’m picking up lots of fun tips on how to do things “just right” so that things will look great AND taste great. Of course, I don’t have Martha’s patience, but I still love to try.
Today’s recipe for Pumpkin Tart with a Shortbread Crust is one that will be perfect for the Holidays. I have posted several shortbread cookie recipes – or bar recipes that use a shortbread for the bottom layer. But this tart could easily stand in for pumpkin pie and probably elbow it aside. Often the crusts for pumpkin pie just don’t have enough body for the heavy filling. But shortbread is a worthy partner.
I love how she bakes in over-sized loose fitting blouses and speaks to us as if she knows us. Years ago I watched her create fussy bows or wrap packages in ways that took hours and I knew life was too short for me to bother with that. But baking is so practical. Sure it’s nice to get a gift with a fancy bow – for 10 seconds until the bow hits the floor. But a perfectly baked shortbread cookie or tart – that is a gift to savor and enjoy.
Martha has a fluted edge tart pan with a removable bottom. I do not. So I used my round quiche pan with the removable bottom. If you don’t have either, use a deep pie pan.
Shortbread Crust Ingredients
6 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large egg yolks (or 1 egg and 1 yolk)
1 tsp salt (her recipe called for 1 1/2 tsp, but I thought the batter was too salty.)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Directions for crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Cream the butter with the sugar, eggs and salt until well blended.
Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
Generously grease your pan with butter or shortening.
Press the batter into the pan and push it up onto the sides. (I used a very deep pan and wished I had pressed it up even higher.)
Put a piece of plastic wrap over the crust and smooth it out using the back of a measuring cup or glass. It should be about 1/4″ thick.
Remove plastic and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until starting to get brown. (Or, if you want to be like Martha, chill the dough for 30 min and then bake.)
While the crust is baking, mix up the pumpkin filling.
Pumpkin Tart Filling Ingredients
1 15-oz can solid pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp all spice
Whisk these together or beat with your mixer until just blended.
When the crust is done – reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees. (Leave the door of the oven open for a minute to help it reduce.)
Pour the pumpkin over the hot crust.
Bake at 325 degrees for 55 – 60 minutes.
Let it stand for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a platter or plate.
Serve with whipped cream.