Friday, December 5, 2008

Pumpkin...Not Pie!

First of all, the picture sucks. I'm sorry. I took it under my kitchen light, which never looks as good as natural light. The coloring is usually a little too orange-y if I'm using the 'indoors' setting or too washed out and sickly if I use the 'tungsten'. Oh well, I'm negotiating with my parents for an SLR camera for Christmas. So far the best answer I've gotten is "We'll get it for you as a wedding present" O_o

About the actual goods though, this is one of Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten's unfailing recipes. I've been eyeing her pumpkin banana mousse tart for a while now, and finally found the time and occasion to make it. I brought it to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner (yes, this post is about 2 weeks late) in lieu of a traditional pumpkin pie.

This tart is much lighter and less cloying than a pumpkin pie. After a heavy meal especially, a slice of this will satisfy the sweet tooth but wouldn't make you keel over in a food coma and sugar crash. The crust is a classic graham cracker crust scented with cinnamon, baked til crisp. The filling of pumpkin puree and spices is lightened with whipped cream and brightened with a bit of orange zest. The banana adds an extra little something. The whole creation is a wonderful contrast of textures and harmonious blending of flavors. An elegant variation on an old classic.

Pumpking Banana Mousse Tart
Modified from Barefoot Contessa

For the Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Filling:
1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 large egg yolks
1 package (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
1 ripe banana, finely mashed
1 tsp grated orange zest

1/2 cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar

For the Decoration:
Cold heavy cream
Sugar to sweeten
Splash of vanilla extract

To make the Crust:
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in melted and cooled butter until crumbs are moistened. Press into a 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, starting from the bottom and then up to the sides. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

To make the filling:
In a double boiler over simmer water, stir together pumpkin, half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined and hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir in some of the pumpkin mixture into the eggs to temper them. Add the yolks back into the pumpkin mixture and stir well. Cook the mixture until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from heat.

Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, orange zest, and mashed bananas to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Set aside and cool completely.

Whip 1/2 cup cold heavy cream with sugar until firm peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours to overnight.

For decoration, whip the chilled heavy cream with sugar and vanilla extract until firm peaks. Either pipe using a piping bag or simply spoon the whipped cream onto tart.

Serve chilled.

1 comment:

Starkly_Different said...

I thought this post was exceptionally well written. The tart looks yummy too.

This is interesting. My "word verification" word is "kadish" which is the last name of the writer of my crim textbook that I'm reviewing right now.