The theme for this month's YWPWT is Pumpkin Pie with a Twist. I decided to go with a combination pumpkin-pecan tart, since these are two of my favorite Thanksgiving pies. This is an autumn version of the Bakewell tart we made for Daring Bakers in June, and it's every bit as delicious. The bottom crust is an easy sweet shortcrust made with brown sugar for that extra hit of fall flavor. On top of that is a perfectly smooth, perfectly spiced pumpkin pie layer. The pumpkin layer was actually a bit liquid-y for this recipe since it was a little tricky to layer the pecan frangipane on top, but it ultimately all came together in the end.
Finally, the pumpkin is topped with a sweet pecan frangipane (termed pecangipane by my housemates!). I liked this component because it has all the flavor of a pecan pie without being overly sweet or having big pieces of pecans to get stuck in your teeth. All the flavors combine really well and result in a delicious dessert that's perfect for autumn. I think the tart is best warm (either out of the oven or heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds), with a big scoop of pumpkin ice cream on the side!
Pumpkin-Pecan Bakewell Tart
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cups pumpkin puree
1 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (packed)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Cointreau or another orange liqueur
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
4.5 ounces pecans
4.5 ounces confectioners sugar, divided
4.5 ounces softened butter
1 ounce all purpose flour
1. Prepare the crust: Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir just until blended; let stand 5 minutes. Press dough onto bottom and sides of a 9- to 91/2-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Partially bake the crust until lightly browned, pressing down with back of spoon if bubbles form, about 10 minutes. Cool crust in pan on rack.
3. Prepare the pumpkin filling: Beat all the ingredients together until well combined. Rap the bowl on the counter to break any bubbles.
Prepare the pecan frangipane: Grind the pecans along with 1 ounce of confectioners sugar in a food processor. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and remaining 3.5 ounces of confectioners sugar until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Mixture will look curdled.) With the mixer running, carefully spoon in the nut-sugar mixture, followed by the flour. Mix well.
Assemble the tart: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully pour the pumpkin filling over the cooled crust, filling it about halfway full. Remaining filling can be baked in custard cups if desired. Dot the pumpkin filling with the pecan frangipane, carefully spreading it to the edges. This will be a bit tricky since the pumpkin filling is on the wet side, so just do your best! Bake 40 minutes, until the frangipane is browned and puffed up. A tester should come out clean.