Alrighty then, I’m at it again with another pumpkin dessert. Me, the peep who keeps going on about how ambivalent she feels about pumpkin . . . But here’s the thing: when you host Thanksgiving (and tho I am not doing so this year, I do so most years) and you are into baking and sweets-making (me, again) you kinda/sorta have to bake up a pumpkin pie, or at the very least something resembling a pumpkin pie. Prior to writing my second cookbook, The Vintage Baker, the dessert I made to mimic a traditional pie of the pumpkin variety was a pumpkin mousse tart (or a pumpkin chiffon tart) with a gingersnap crust and lots of billowy whipped cream.
I chose to develop such a light and fluffy and — if I do say so myself — divine pumpkin treat to serve instead of pie because I often find the pumpkin custard filling of a traditional pie just too thick. I wanted something more like pumpkin pudding or mousse filling my crust, not slightly gelatinous (sorry) custard. And I decided to place said light and airy filling in a gingersnap crumb crust because — yum — but also because cookie crumb crusts are easy peasy and I love easy-peasy. But then I wrote The Vintage Baker and because I was forced to include a pumpkin pie-ish recipe in the book (more on that below) I suddenly find myself with a choice of two delicious pumpkin desserts for Thanksgiving — the above mentioned pumpkin mousse tart OR, wait for it, a pumpkin tart with a chocolate cookie crust. You see, I had no choice but to include a recipe for something pumpkin pie-ish in my book because the book is full of some of the most common “vintage” recipes that I stumbled upon over and over again when researching (via my collection of vintage recipe booklets). And to say I stumbled upon pumpkin pie recipes in my collection is an understatement.
But here’s the thing, even tho I felt I had to include one — in light of what the research revealed — I did not feel the recipe had to be one for straight up pumpkin pie, and so I developed a tart with a chocolate cookie crust because I love cookie crusts (as I mentioned above), and because I adore the combo of chocolate and pumpkin. And so this is a very long way of saying that now little-old-pumpkin-hating me has two pumpkin pie-ish recipes up her sleeve to pull out on Thanksgiving; and if I love them both, you are guaranteed to feel similarly.
Photo by: Alice Gao
The recipe is in my book, and if you do not yet own a copy, might I suggest you purchase one. But if that is not in the cards for you in the immediate future and you need to make this tart now (and I feel you on that, by the way), the recipe can be found on Salon.