Unsweetened Pumpkin Tart – “Citrouillat”

It was in the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook that I first encountered a very old recipe for a savory, unsweetened pumpkin pie. While this tart contains a bit of butter it’s far less rich than Ms. Toklas’s with a cup of heavy cream and rich crust.
Last night we cooked a magnificent 8# Queensland squash and of course there was a good amount left to enjoy. Any of your favorite winter squash or pumpkins may be used for this pie. When your squash is precooked just scoop out 3 1/2 cups and add small chunks to the onions and herbs. When pressed for time use a conventional pie crust or or even a dozen sheets of filo as I plan to do today. This recipe is listed on our http://www.nicholsgardennursery website.

When using filo sheets, remember they only need the lightest buttering with a combination of melted butter and olive oil. A 1″ pastry brush gives you good control. Since I’m using a circular pan I’ll offset each piece a few inches so the entire pan is covered. Then the top sheets will be handled the same way and rolled up at the edge. A photo will follow but I’m off to the kitchen.
Serves 6 – 8

Pastry
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons butter, melted or olive oil 1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add yeast to lukewarm water with 1/4 cup flour. Stir and let sit in a mixing bowl until bubbly, about ten minutes. Mix 2 tablespoons butter and egg into yeast mixture. Gently add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. It should have the consistency of a soft dough. Do not knead because you do not want to develop the gluten. Form into two balls one slightly smaller than the other. Roll out the larger piece and place in an oiled 10” springform pan or ceramic tart dish. Brush with some of remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover loosely with a damp kitchen towel. Set dough for top crust aside until you are ready to fill the tart.

Pumpkin Filling

2 pounds pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and diced or 3 1/2 cups 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons instant rice or 1/4 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese

Sprinkle pumpkin or squash with salt and cook in a steamer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain steamed pumpkin in a colander while onion is cooking. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet set on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is tender and translucent about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, thyme, sage, and pepper. Adjust heat to medium high and staute, stirring occasionally until pumpkin dice barely begin to break apart. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir in rice and cheese and place filling in shell. Lightly roll out the top crust and cover, pinching the edges well together, brush with remaining butter. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes on the medium rack until golden brown. Let sit on a cooling rack for ten minutes before serving. Serve warm or cooled as a picnic dish.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe…I think I’m going to give it a go today. Interesting pastry with the smallish quantity of fat and the use of yeast – kind of like a pizza dough crust. I am certainly intrigued!

  2. Where is that magnificent bay growing–obviously someplace with mild enough winters for it to thrive. i am jealous! My current 6 year old bay is only 20″ high, but that is due to an unexpected frost that came over a week before our usual first frost date here in the northern Shenandoah Valley. It was frozen down to about 8″ but I kept it and it came back. I have an unusual method for growing my bay– no chemicals, no insecticide. I take them out to my sunny south facing front porch (zone 6b) on nice days all winter and back in at night if the temp will be below about 40 degrees. The fresh, cold air seems to be good for them as I’ve not had any problems with insects, esp. scale, since I’ve been doing this. However, one does have to keep an eye on the thermometer as I learned from the current bay. My previous bay was about 3′ tall when I succumbed to the pleas of a fellow dealer at a show and sold it to her. However, she did not take my advice and was soon plagued with scale.

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