Something important happened this week. I am taking a stand, committing to a position.
Don’t worry, it’s not political. It’s about pumpkin.
For years I’ve been undecided, straddling the fence between loving and hating pumpkin desserts. I should like them- I adore squash and like not-too-sweet desserts, but pumpkin has never been my pie of choice, nor have I ever gotten excited about pumpkin bars or the crazy pumpkin drinks coffee shops are hawking this time of year. I probably would have happily stayed on the hate-side of the fence if it weren’t for my pumpkin-lovin’ bf whose taste buds occasionally influence what I bake.
It has taken me years to get to this place in my life, but this recent concoction makes me proud and confident in taking a stand and saying it.
People, I’m no hater. I love pumpkin!
This tart is like a mellowed out version of pumpkin pie and the lightest cheesecake you could ever imagine. It’s a little crunchy from the candied nuts and a twinge savory from the rosemary I snuck into the crust. In other words, it is everything I look for in a dessert. And did I mention that it was really easy to make? Watch, I’ll show you.
Crust gets made in the food processor. Grind nuts, add flour, rosemary. Cold butter drops in, gets pulsed. Yolks and a drizzle of cold water bring it all together. Wrap and chill, then roll it out and press it into a pan. I used a springform and didn’t trim the edges because I dig that rustic, perfectly-imperfect look. You could use a pie pan and crimp the edges if you’re more into the perfectly-perfect way of doing things.
Filling couldn’t be easier; just whip goat cheese with honey and brown sugar then add eggs, pumpkin, sour cream, a splash of brandy, and spices.
Pour your silky smooth pumpkin filling into the baked crust and pop it into the oven. We’ll candy some hazelnuts for the top while it bakes.
Melt butter with honey and let it bubble away until it gets thick and sticky. Toss in a handful of hazelnuts, some rosemary, and a healthy pinch of sea salt. Spread them out and let them cool into a sticky, addictive kind of brittle. It’s going to be hard, but try not to eat them all at this point so you’ll have something pretty to put on your tart.
Cool the pumpkin tart and the honey-coated nuts so it doesn’t become an ugly, runny dessert disaster. I know, I hate the waiting too, but you’ll thank me when you’re sitting down to your wonderful piece of make-a-pumpkin-dessert-believer-out-of-anyone pie.
For the Crust
- ¼ c. Hazelnuts
- 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- ½ tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
- Pinch of Salt
- ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 2-3 Tbsp. Iced Water
For the Filling
- 4 oz. Chèvre (goat cheese), room temperature
- ¼ c. Honey
- ¼ c. Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- ½ c. Sour Cream
- 1 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tsp. Brandy
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Black Pepper
For the Hazelnut Brittle
- 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tbsp. Honey
- ½ c. Hazelnuts
- ½ tsp. Fresh Rosemary, minced
- Generous Pinch of Flaky Sea Salt
- To make the crust, grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. Add flour, rosemary, sugar, and salt, pulse to combine. Drop in chilled butter and pulse in small bursts until the butter is pea-sized. Add egg yolks, pulse to combine. With the motor running, add cold water until the dough just comes together. Do not over-process. Pat dough into a thick disk, wrap well wit plastic film, and chill at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Roll chilled dough to fit a pie plate or springform pan. Fit into pan and trim edges as desired. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully and cover edges with foil if they are getting too dark. Allow to cool before adding filling.
- To make the pumpkin filling, beat chèvre, brown sugar, and honey with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, blend. Add remaining filling ingredients and beat for a couple minutes until the mixture is light and perfectly smooth. Pour into baked and cooled crust. Bake at 375° for 1 hour- 1 hour & 10 minutes, until center is set. Allow to cool before garnishing with the candied hazelnuts and serving.
- To make the hazelnut brittle, melt together butter and honey over medium heat. Allow it to bubble until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add hazelnuts, rosemary, and sea salt, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring often. Pour mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely before breaking into shards and garnishing the tart.
- Garnish cooled tart with pieces of hazelnut brittle. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, if desired.