The other day, one of my kids was hankering for pumpkin pie…yes, in the middle of July. Since this is the best time to try new holiday recipes (way ahead of time), I obliged his craving. After a quick search, I decided to make a Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart. This dessert is like a cross between pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie. It’s easy to make, creamy, nicely spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and baked in a cookie crumb crust. The whole family loved it and they’re already requesting that it appear at our Thanksgiving feast.
I’m not a fan of crystallized ginger so I didn’t use any in the tart filling or as a garnish. If you like it, use it. If not, the tart is still great without it. For the filling, be sure and buy plain ol’ pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie mix (the pre-sweetened, pre-spiced stuff).
I used graham crackers for the crust because that’s what I had on hand. The tart would also be really good with a Nilla Wafer crust. Also, I thought the crust’s texture was best on the day the tart was made. It still tasted great on Day 2 and Day 3, but the crust is much softer.
I garnished each piece of pumpkin tart with a pretty swirl of freshly whipped cream from my handy whipped cream dispenser. Enjoy!
Note: Since I already had the food processor out for the cookie crumb crust, I decided to use it for making the filling, too, instead of using a mixer and having more stuff to clean up. However you decide to mix the filling, make sure it’s smooth before pouring it into the cooled crust.
Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart
-recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge / Fine Cooking Magazine
Yields one 9-1/2-inch tart.
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin purée (not seasoned pumpkin pie filling)
1-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger; more for garnish
1 Press-In Cookie Crust baked and cooled (recipe below)
Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on medium speed until smooth and lump-free, about 3 min. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and continue beating until well blended, about 1 min. Add the egg yolk, egg, and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Sprinkle the chopped crystallized ginger over the batter and stir it in with a rubber spatula.
Use the spatula to scrape the filling into the crust and spread it evenly. Bake the tart until the filling just barely jiggles when the tart pan is nudged, 25 to 30 min. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate the tart in the pan until chilled and firm, about 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and crystallized ginger, if you like.
Press-In Cookie Crust
by Abigail Johnson Dodge
Yields one crust for one 9-1/2-inch tart.
1 cup finely ground cookies (ground in a food processor); choose from one of the following: about 8 whole graham crackers, or 35 vanilla wafers
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Have ready an ungreased 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs and sugar with a fork until well blended. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and mix with the fork or your fingers until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Put the crumbs in the tart pan and use your hands to spread the crumbs so that they coat the bottom of the pan and start to climb the sides. Use your fingers to pinch and press some of the crumbs around the inside edge of the pan to cover the sides evenly and create a wall a scant 1/4 inch thick. Redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and press firmly to make a compact layer. (I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat base for this task.)
Bake the crust until it smells nutty and fragrant (crusts made with lighter-colored cookies will brown slightly), about 10 min. Set the baked crust on a rack and let cool. The crust can be made up to one day ahead of filling, and stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic.
Tip: I prefer Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams and Nilla Vanilla Wafers for these crusts. If you don’t have a food processor, put the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Tags: Christmas, cinnamon, cookie crumb crust, crystalized ginger, graham cracker crust, ground ginger, holiday desserts, holidays, pie, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin puree, pumpkin tart, tart, Thanksgiving