Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Tart with Crystalized Ginger

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, no presents to wrap, just a delicious meal in the middle of a weekday afternoon.  You may think it strange for a British woman to be suggesting possible Thanksgiving desserts.  After all it’s not a Holiday celebrated in the UK, but I like to think of myself as a modern day Pilgrim.  I may have boarded a 747 at Heathrow instead of the Mayflower but essentially we were all after the same thing, making a new life in the New World.
When it comes to pumpkin pie however, I would like to suggest a variation on the theme. After a heavy meal a pie with lots of pastry can almost push one over the culinary edge.  Here’s a lighter option, a delicious pumpkin tart with a gently spiced graham cracker crust and a melt-in-your mouth creamy topping.  No pastry to contend with and full of the wonderful flavors of Thanksgiving.
This dessert can be made in advance, so it helps in the vain, yet unrelenting battle to stay one step ahead of the clock.  Make the crust up to two days in advance and when you find a window of about 30 minutes, whisk up the filling.  Pour it into the tart shell and spirit it away to the fridge to chill.  The topping can be spread, or piped, over the top when convenient. Sprinkle over a touch of orange zest and a few glistening pieces of crystallized ginger.

Pumpkin Tart with Crystallized Ginger.
The crust:
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons melted butter

The filling:
¾ cup light brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
1, 15oz can pumpkin puree
2  tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
Juice of half an orange
Zest of an orange

The topping.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream

To make the crust.
Heat the oven to 350F
Melt the butter and set aside.
Place the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and spices into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and stir until fully mixed together.
Press the mixture into an 11 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly golden.
Set aside to cool thoroughly.
To make the filling:
Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until the mixture is thick.  When you lift up the whisk the mixture it should leave thick ribbon behind it.
Meanwhile combine the pumpkin, cream, spices, orange juice, zest and cornstarch.  Pour into a medium sized saucepan and heat over a gentle flame until scalding point.
 Remove and very slowly and carefully pour the mixture into the egg/sugar mixture with the whisk on medium speed.
When incorporated pour the mixture back into the saucepan and put back on a low heat. 
Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.  This takes patience! Just when you’re quite convinced it will never thicken the magic will happen and the cornstarch will do its job.  You will be left with a beautiful, smooth pudding like consistency. 
Pour into the cooled tart shell and place in the refrigerator to set, about 4 hours (overnight is perfect).

To make the topping
Whip the cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract to stiff peaks. Stir in the sour cream.
Either pipe or spread the topping onto the tart and add the orange zest and crystallized ginger as desired.
The tart will keep beautifully in the fridge for 2 days.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful, Mary! I love the idea of crystallized ginger in the tart. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. what a great change this would be, I'm copying this one down for sure,

  3. I love seeing pumpkin pie recipes from all over. They can be so different and unique. I love the idea of the crystalized ginger. Creative and so delicious sounding. I wish I had a piece right now.

  4. This looks so perfect and lovely! I absolutely love idea of desserts that can be made in advance. Hope you have a great time on Thanksgiving.

  5. And no presents to buy:) I have yet to taste a pumpkin dessert. I am guessing pumpkin desserts are not popular in the UK.

  6. I just picked up some crystallized ginger yesterday. Never used it before, but have often seen it being used. Are you psychic? Thanksgiving is a great holiday for all kinds of pilgrims!

  7. wow that looks pictur perfect! I love the ginger in the tart!

  8. that's a beautiful tart, mary and pretty frosting. Sure everyone had enjoyed eating the tart very much. Oh, i didnt know that thanksgiving is not being celebrated in the UK, i'm enjoying seeing wonderful thanksgiving recipes all over the blogs lately..have a wonderful thanksgiving!

  9. Ginger with graham crackers.!! Yummy combination. Looks like a flavorful yet simple dessert

  10. That is just gorgeous! It looks like something you'd buy in a bakery! I'm very glad you came here as a modern-day pilgrim and hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  11. Mary, I love pumpkin tart and this look absolutely beauty!!look really nice! gloria

  12. Amy start with Karahi chicken that I have on my blog. All my american friends love that curry. :o)

  13. Oh, so delicious-looking, Mary! And I love that you're a modern-day Pilgrim--perfect!

    Hope your day is beautiful!


  14. This tart is perfect for Thanksgiving. We don't really celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but it's always nice to see the delicious food that our friends cook for this celebration.

  15. This pumpkin tart looks really good! I love graham cracker crust. Very creative with the orange juice and ginger.

  16. This sounds quite yummy! I've been through heathrow airport... I would say that definitely qualifies as a pilgrimage!Love your blog!

  17. Beautiful tart! But I'm sure it wouldn't keep in my refrigerator for two days. It would be gone way before then! :)

  18. Mary, this is a beautiful looking tart and you're so right about the crust - I would take this one any day over the traditional high fat pastry crust!

  19. I love the addition of the crystalized ginger here Mary! It looks so good and it goes so well with pumpkin. :)

  20. This sounds great, Mary. I have a friend that would absolutely love the flavor combination here. Great dessert!

  21. Love pumpkin and ginger together - this tart looks lovely!

  22. Could not find a food processor with a whisk Attachment!Used a mixer instead.The 11 inch tart pan could be a smaller size as the mixture only filled to about a 1/2 inch.Interesting taste however and the topping was perfect.

  23. That pie looks delicious, I've got a massive pumpkin here that I need to so something with & I think a pie is the way to go! :)


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