Glorified Pumpkin Tart... Already Posted On September 9th 2012 And Am Sure You Will Love It Again.

 Let's face it, we do not know pumpkin in Greece. I know North America has many recipes but I do not seem to find any that excite me personally. Since we are in pumpkin season, we have been looking everywhere for
pumpkin recipes and all came out to be for sweets. We wanted a savory recipe. So I put my mind to work for a change and came up with the following...

Pumpkin comes from the Zucchini family. Back in the 70's we used to make casseroles (Gratins) with zucchini, bacon, mushrooms and a béchamel sauce. Now I thought of replacing the casserole by a cumin short crust pastry lining a 28 cm removable base pie mold, cubed pumpkin instead of the zucchini, thinly sliced smoked country sausage instead of the bacon, fresh sliced mushrooms for the canned button mushrooms, and to top everything a spear mint infused béchamel sauce (white sauce).

You will therefore need, if you feel like making this tart:
Serves 8

For the tart filling:
-  900 gr cubed pumpkin meat uncooked.
-  180 gr sliced smoked country sausage.
-  4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced.
-  300 gr Agaricus Brown mushrooms sliced.

For the Shortcrust Pastry: (Pâte Brisée in French): 
-  200 gr. of all purpose flour.
-  ¼ tsp. salt.
-  100 gr. cold extra fine fresh butter.
-  1 egg beaten.
-  2 Tbsp. cold water.
-  ¼ cup cumin seeds.

For the béchamel: (white sauce):
-  A few leaves of spear-mint roughly cut.
-  25 gr. good quality butter.
-  25 gr. flour.
-  500 ml. milk 
-  1/3 cup parmesan cheese.
-  3-4 turns of your nutmeg mill or 2-3 pinches.
-  Salt and pepper to taste.


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

For the Shortcrust Pastry:
-  Using your blender mix the flour with the cold butter till you obtain little marbles like spheres.
-  Add the egg, the iced water and the cumin till you get a smooth dough. The cumin will be in-bedded into the crust.
-  Place on your floured working table and knead for a few minutes till you get tired.
-  Form a ball, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 45 minutes. The more it stays in the fridge the more time it has to rest and for the gluten to react.
-  After the 45 minutes are over, place a large piece of baking paper on your work table, and put the dough, still cold but workable on it.
-  Using your roller pin spread your dough to the desired width to exceed the overturned pie mold diameter by 3 cm. to make up for shrinkage during baking.

-  Place another large piece of oven proof paper on top of the dough, and flatten with your hand to adhere the top paper to the dough.  Pat to get the paper well adhered to the dough.

-  Take both papers and place into pie mold.
-  Center the crust well and press the bottom and sides to adhere well to mold.
-  You can now take off the top paper.
-  Cut the excess paper from the lower paper to arrange the crust on the rim of the mold.
Note: This is the best way to successfully and safely place your crust into the mold. Fool proof.   

The filling:
-  Stir fry the pumpkin on high heat till cooked. Do not roast the pumpkin lest it lets all the water out in which case it would have flooded our tart with liquid.
-  When the pumpkin is cooked, transfer to a bowl, and start frying your sausage also on high heat.

-  When that is done throw in your mushrooms and stir fry on high heat till "al dente".
-  Turn off heat and take the skillet away to cool.

The Béchamel:
-  Melt butter in a sauce pan.
-  Add flour, stir and cook for a minute or two on low heat (the Béchamel must not have the taste of raw flour).
-  Add the milk little by little still on low fire while stirring till all the milk is used up or the Béchamel reaches the desired thickness whichever comes first.
-  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.
-  Add the spear mint and let infuse for about 15 minutes.
-  Add parmesan.
-  Stir and mix.

Getting the tart ready for the oven.
-  Add the Béchamel to cover the surface.
-  Add three small pieces of butter on the surface.
-  Bake at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes.

-  Let cool at least 30 minutes before digging in.
-  Serve with a Greek salad.


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