Food & Wine

Dessert recipe: as good as pumpkin pie

Updated: 03 Oct 2012
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This tart is not only fancy enough to grace the holiday table, but local buttercup squash was used to create this dessert from St. Clair College chef-instructor Eva Cross.
It was featured at a recent college dinner at Viewpointe Estate Winery. The recipe offers a rich caramel flavour and an alternative to pumpkin desserts.

Recipe makes 12 large tarts


2½ cups all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup chilled unsalted butter

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup ice water

1 tsp vanilla

Place flour and sugar in bowl of food processor and process for a few seconds to combine.

Add butter pieces to the flour mixture, and process until it resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.

In a small bowl, lightly mix the egg yolk and cold water.

With the machine running, slowly pour in the liquid and mix until dough sticks together (no longer than 30 seconds).

Press dough flat on a paper-lined sheet pan and chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes, until it has a waxy consistency.

Roll dough pieces out 1/8inch thick on a flour-dusted surface and line tart shells (4-inch fluted edged shallow forms).

Prick dough thoroughly with a fork and chill for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is best) before baking.

Bake shells to a light golden-brown, at 375 F, for about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.


3/4 cup plus 5 tsp granulated sugar

8 egg yolks

3 cups 18% cream

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon Pinch of clove

1 cup buttercup squash puree

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Wash squash and cut in half. Remove all seeds and stringy pulp.

Place squash cut side down on paper-lined sheet and bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes. Squash should be very soft.

Scoop out the squash, and push through a food mill or food processor to make it smooth.

Heat the 18% cream to the scalding point. Stir spices into the cream to let the flavours infuse.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar until very well combined. Add the hot cream to the egg mixture gradually, stirring constantly.

Mix in the squash puree, vanilla and salt.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place pre-baked shells on your very best even and level sheet pan.

Pour filling into the shells up to the top edge of the crust.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until set. When the pan is jiggled, the filling should no longer not move.

Let tarts cool to room temperature.
1½ cups sour cream

4 tbsp pure maple syrup (the darker, the better)

12 hard caramel candies, crushed

Stir maple syrup into sour cream until blended. Set aside crushed candies.

To serve: Place tart on an individual serving plate or large flat platter. Spoon some maple-sour cream topping onto the tart, and sprinkle the crunchy caramel bits.

Garnish tarts with fresh mint and edible chrysanthemum blooms.

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