Kabocha Squash Tart

Kabocha Squash Tart

I do believe pumpkin pie is my favorite pie. There is not too many pies where I would want to go back for a second piece. Don’t get me wrong, apple, you are fantastic. Cherry, you are really great too. But pumpkin, I want 3 slices of you. I want to eat you with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Have for that mid-afternoon pick me up. And with a glass of wine after dinner.

Jake’s parents grow Kabocha Squash and so over the last few years I have been experimenting with different ways of cooking up this alternate squash. Delicious as a soup, really good roasted and served over farro with a chimichurri sauce, and most importantly, perfect as a tart or pie.

This weekend I was doing some cooking, with low ingredients on hand as I had just returned from a photoshoot week. I had flour, some butter, a little cream, and this squash. Preheated my oven to 400 degrees, sliced up the squash, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and roasted until creamy, about 60 minutes. Once cooled I removed the seeds, put all of the flesh into my food processor and began to puree. Now I knew I didn’t need all of this squash for the tart so I reserved some for later. Next I added in some egg, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Made a quick and easy tart crust, saving one in the freezer for another time. In the oven she went. Now I can’t say for sure that Kabocha is a better filling then pumpkin. But I can say, that it was rich with flavor, creamy, and just the perfect way to use up this squash that has been decorating my table for the last few weeks.

For dinner that night, I boiled up some Rigatoni, and warmed up the squash puree, adding in some stock, and a little pasta water. Mixed it all together, topped it with some parmesan and there was dinner.

Kabocha Squash Tart
makes 1 tart

Basic Tart Dough Recipe
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes, cold
1/2 cup ice water plus 2 tbsp

Add flour, sugar and salt into food processor and quickly pulse, then add the butter and continue to quickly pulse until large pieces form. Slowly drizzle the ice water while you are pulsing.

On a lightly floured surface, dump the dough and crumbs and begin to gently and quickly pull the dough together. Divide the dough into two, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. *Put the second disc in the freezer for another time.

Kabocha Squash Filling
2 large eggs and 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups roasted squash puree
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the middle and lowest positions. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan, then trim the edges flush with the rim. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Line the chilled tart shell with heavy-duty foil and fill with enough pie weights to come three-quarters up, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the oven's lowest rack until the edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights, then bake until the bottom just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

In the mean time, with a food processor, combine eggs, vanilla, sugars, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the squash and run until smooth. Slowly pour in the cream while the machine is running. Combine until no more streaks of cream appear.

Pour the filling into the warm crust, smoothing the top. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle rack until the edges start to puff and crack and the center sets, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut kabocha squash into 4 chunks and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 45-60 minutes until flesh is soft. I like to use a cake tester to check root vegetables and squash for doneness.