I Loooooove Thanksgiving dinner with a capitol “L”. I love all the preparation of lists, grocery shopping and cooking with my mom in anticipation of the gluttonous once-a-year meal it yields. I love my mom’s sausage stuffing the most (and yes, it’s stuffing because she does stuff it into the bird). Here’s Thanksgiving tidbit #2 that you didn’t know about me: I do not care for pumpkin pie. Every year for Thanksgiving my mom would make several pumpkin pies for the whole family and one lone chocolate pudding pie for me (extra whip please). I just didn’t really like the flavor of pumpkin as a kid and to be honest, I’m still not that crazy about pumpkin as an adult.
Cue Lindsey of Love & Olive Oil’s post last year of her gorgeous bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart. The stunning leave design visually blew my mind. It also got me thinking… is it possible to meld pumpkin with chocolate and turn it into something awesome? The answer is: YES. If you want to set an extraordinarily beautiful and rich dessert on the Thanksgiving Day table, make this tart. I used pretzels in my crust instead of pecans and found the salty kick of the pretzels perfectly complimented the dark chocolate flavor.
If you want to receive amazed oooohs and aaaaahs then take 10 extra minutes to cut leaves. At first it was a pain in the ass to cut out all the leaves but it quickly became somewhat theraputic to zone out and revert back to childhood skills of cutting out shapes with scissors. (Maybe adult coloring books aren’t so weird after all?)
To make the crust blitz the wafer cookies and pretzels in a food processor. Once they are finely ground, add the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse a few more times. After everything is combined, stream in the butter and pulse until the ingredients can be pinched together with your fingers and not fall apart. I had to use a little bit more butter than what Lindsey’s recipe calls for, no doubt because pretzels do not have the same moisture content of nuts.
You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom and Williams Sonoma has the appropriate 9 1/2″ size for $11. Firmly press the tart crust crumbs into the walls and bottom of the tart pan. You can do this using a tamper or the bottom of a regular old pint glass. Bake the crust at 325 for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is firm. Set the tart (still in it’s pan) aside and allow it to cool completely before pouring in the filling.
Reduce oven heat to 250 and begin to make the filling. Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan on the stove until the edges are just beginning to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat, dump in the chocolate, and start whisking until it becomes smooth. Feel free to use your favorite chocolate; I used Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet dark chocolate chips in my tart. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs with the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture 1/4 of a cup at a time, until all the chocolate is whisked into the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell.
Place the tart onto a baking sheet and bake at 250 for 30-35 minutes, or until center is set and the filling barely jiggles. The tart needed the full 35 minutes in my oven. Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside on a wire rack to cool. You can make the tart the day before (YAY!) and refrigerate it overnight. If you opt to do this, I would wait until the next day, remove the tart from the fridge, and let it come to room temperature before you create your stenciled leaf masterpiece. I found a maple leaf pattern online that I printed onto paper then cut out with scissors. Strategically place your cutouts on top of your tart, then sift cocoa powder over top of the tart. To be sure I didn’t smear the powder, I took Linds’ advice and used tweezers to remove the leaves. Using tweezers to remove the leaves with my forever shaky hands totally felt like that old game, “Operation”. With my MIL watching over my shoulder, I nervously wiped the sweat from my brow, and managed to get all the leaves off without screwing up my design too badly. The end result was a visually stunning success! 🙂
Chocolate Pumpkin Tart (slightly modified from Love & Olive Oil)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 8-10 for crust, 30-35 minutes for filling
Serves: 8-10 people
- 8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
- 1/2 cup butter snap pretzels
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup pumpkin purée
- 9 ounces bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder for sifting overtop once tart is cooked
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Buzz the wafer cookies and pretzels together in a food processor. Once they are finely ground, add the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. After everything is combined, stream in the butter until the ingredients can be pinched together with your fingers without falling apart.
- Firmly press the tart crust crumbs into the walls and bottom of a removable bottom tart pan and bake the crust at 325 for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is slightly browned and firm to the touch.
- Set the tart shell (still in it’s pan) aside to cool on a wire rack. The tart shell should be completely cooled before pouring in the filling.
- Reduce oven heat to 250. Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan on the stove until the edges just begin to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat, add in the chocolate chips, and whisk until smooth.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs with the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture 1/4 of a cup at a time, until all the chocolate is mixed into the egg mixture. Continue to whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla extract. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell.
- Place tart onto a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and bake at 250 for 30-35 minutes, or until center is set and the filling barely jiggles. Set the tart onto a wire rack to cool.
- Strategically place cutout paper designs on top of the cooled tart, then sift plain cocoa powder over top of the tart. Use tweezers to carefully remove paper cutouts. Serve at room temperature.