Yield: one 9-inch tart
“Back to Baking”, pp. 122
Fall is truly my favorite season. The beautiful trees changing colour as the weeks go by, the breezy but still warm air, the walks and the crunchy leaves, the hot chocolates, sweaters and long coats. But also, I feel like baking in autumn is just that much better, for some reason. A warm tray of cookies or a hot pie coming out of the oven just taste and smell better when it is a bit more chilly, I think. In any case, someone at work mentioned that they liked pumpkin, which I do not, and I was reminded of the pumpkin tart recipe that I have flipped through and ignored several times in the cookbook throughout the years. Since I never really liked pumpkin it was not a recipe that I was interested in doing. However, as it is my challenge to complete all the recipes in this great book, I thought that now would be a great opportunity to get it out of the way and at least one person at my workplace would enjoy it.
Oh how misguided I was. This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake chocolate tart sounds… unusual, to say the least. Pumpkin, cheesecake and chocolate?! Seems a bit much. Anna Olson says as much in her cookbook. Nonetheless, I followed the recipe as prescribed and everything went as smooth as the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. One aspect that was undeniable is how pretty this tart looks, especially with the exposed pumpkin edge underneath the chocolate ganache. The tricky thing with tarts, pies or cakes is that you cannot try it before you bring it to its final destination, as it would be very apparent that it was tried beforehand and would ruin the look of the dessert. So I just had to trust the recipe and my skills and hope that it would taste okay. I had some doubts, of course, because of the pumpkin, but I brought it anyways. I kid you not, 3/4 of the tart had disappeared within 10 minutes.
- 1 recipe Chocolate-Crust Tart Shell, baked and cooled
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup plain pumpkin purée
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
Ingredients for ganache topping:
- 2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
I have never in my life made a dessert that was devoured so rapidly and that received so much praise. People were going out of their way specifically to come tell me how delicious it was. It appears that I severely underestimated how much people like pumpkin-flavoured desserts. People were taking pictures and saving a piece for later, it was very surprising to me. Of course, I had to taste it myself just to see, and by golly were they right. Somehow, everything fits together exactly as it should in this tart. The autumnal flavour of the pumpkin, the fragrant spices of fall, the richness of the cream cheese and the sweetness of the chocolate. What a perfect mariage of flavours and textures! Turns out I do, in fact, like pumpkin. This dessert was truly one of a kind, scrumptious and not too guilty at the same time. It made a pumpkin convert out of me, after all! This is now my official fall dessert that I will bring to all and any party or gathering that occurs during this season.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using electric beaters or a food processor, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until the brown sugar dissolves.
- Stir in the pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Mix well to combine.
- Add the whole egg and egg yolks, and stir until homogenous.
- Pour this mixture into the cooked, cooled chocolate crust, and bake the tart on a baking tray for 20 minutes until, like a cheesecake, it is set around the outside with just a bit of a jiggle in the centre. Cool the tart to room temperature.
- For the ganache, melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a metal or glass bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring with a spatula until smooth. Pour this gently on the centre of the pumpkin cheesecake, and carefully spread it toward the outside, leaving 1 inch of the pumpkin visible at the edge. Chill the tart for at least 2 hours in the pan before removing the outer ring of the pan and slicing the tart to serve.