Thursday, October 30, 2008

RFJ: Winter Squash Tart

with glazed pecans, maple cream, and sage-caramel

Oh my god, I'm foodie jousting! I know, I can't believe it either. Seems like it's been ages since I joined in on the monthly battle brought to you by Jenn at the Leftover Queen Forum. Last month Susan won with her creamy gorgonzola, fennel, and pear tart. She probably deserves a separate award for both her blog and post titles. They sound like they should be spoken in a titillated breathy moan. I think it comes down the the use of the word "creamy"...

I thought I'd keep it tart-ie with Susan's chosen ingredients of acorn squash, sage. and orange.
Which are awesome ingredients.


I made an orange scented-pecan crust, a sweet filling of pureed acorn and delicato squash, spices, brown sugar, and a little egg- Your standard issue pumpkin pie filling but with different squash.
The sage was infused into cream for the star of this dessert: sage-caramel. I gotta say, this one really tickled my g-spot. The earthiness of the sage cuts right through the sweet caramel. A little sea salt is stirred in as well to balance everything out. It was absolutely perfect when paired with the spicy, yet not overly sweet tart.

I finished the dessert with pecans that have been glazed with brown sugar, butter, and a little salt, and a chantilly of maple syrup, whipping cream, and sour cream. Oh yeah- and a spot of bourbon.....never forget the Bourbon.....
I brought the whole shebang to work so my colleagues can get fat too.

I've witnessed enough eye fluttering after watching them devour these to decide that it should probably be put on my menu. It's the super amazing funky phresh sage-caramel that makes it. I think I might take a bath in it.
...maybe make out with it a little?.....
Sage Caramel: pretty much the best thing ever.

You know what I just realized? The next time I post a blog, we will have elected a new president. Fucking better be Obama or I'm going cry for a very long time.


Winter squash tart with glazed pecans, maple cream, and sage-caramel

orange-pecan crust:
1 1/4 cup pastry flour
4 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
pinch sea salt

1/3 cup toasted pecans
1 tsp orange zest
1 T + 1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp flour

1 small egg
1 T cold cream
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

whisk the egg, vanilla and cream together in a small measuring pitcher and set aside. In the food processor, pulse up the nuts, zest, 1 tsp flour, and brown sugar until nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt. Process until nut mixture is evenly combined with flour. Add the butter and pulse until butter is the size of small peas. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the egg mixture and mix on low with the paddle attachment until dough just forms. Dump out onto the counter and gently work dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours. Roll out onto a lightly dusted surface. Makes either 6- 4" tarts or 1- 9" tart.
Freeze tart shell until baking time.

4 sage leaves, torn slightly
1 cup whipping cream

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice

1 T butter
pinch of sea salt

combine the sage and cream in a small pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, bring to a boil again, then strain into a measuring pitcher. Cover to keep hot. In a separate, larger pot, combine the lemon juice, water and sugar. Cook, brushing down the sides with a brush that has been dipped in water until copper colored. Remove from heat. Slowly and carefully whisk in the hot sage scented cream. Whisk until smooth, then stir in the butter and salt.

Winter Squash Puree:
oven cam!
1 acorn squash
2 delicato squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into cubes
Slice acorn squash into rings, removing the seedy center and place on a foil lined pan. Prep the delicato squash and place in a hotel pan. Cover with foil. Place both pans in a 400 degree oven. Acorn squash will be done after about 30 minutes. Delicato will take up to 2 hours. Spoon out the center of the acorn squash into the food processor. add the cooked pumpkin and puree until completely smooth. Let cool. There are plenty of leftovers for soup after making this tart.

6 pecan tart shells

1 cup winter squash puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove
3 T whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 Tb maple syrup
1 tsp bourbon (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
Blind bake the tart shells for 25 minutes at 350. Remove pie weights and continue baking until pale golden (shells should be almost fully baked). Lower oven temp to 325.

Whisk together everything but the squash and eggs.
Place the squash puree in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the the spice mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in the eggs. Transfer mixture to a pitcher, then carefully pour into tart shells. bake for about 20minutes, or until set, but wobbly in the centers and slightly puffy on the edges.

Cool. Garnish with the sage caramel and a dollop of whipped cream (I flavored mine with maple syrup and bourbon), and glazed pecans.


Emiline said...


You are a genius! I love the squash, caramel, pecan, sage combo. Absolutely perfect for autumn. You nailed it.

I've been wanting to do a butternut dessert. Souffle?

Foodycat said...


Vote well, vote often.

Laurie said...

This tart looks and sounds simply divine! What a creative and delicious use of the ingredients.

Good luck in the Joust!

Go Obama!

Brooke said...

You S.O.B. You are freakin brilliant. I want, I need, I love. Will you save me one for when I come see you on Monday? Stoked for that, by the way. Don't forget the caramel!

matt wright said...

This looks so unbelievably good, and seasonal! yay.

The sage caramel sounds completely awesome I have to say. Sage is one of my favorite herbs at the moment, which is why my sage bush is looking completely dead (I wish it grew in the winter!)

Great job as usual, awesome step by step guide for us baking idiots too. I might actually try to make this.

Peabody said...

Swoon. This looks fantastic.

Grace said...

what a terrific creation! i'm always in awe of people who concoct clever things like this. sadly, i have no imagination. i do, however, have a hollow leg, so i can eat as much as i want. :)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

What a great entry on the joust Brittany!!! Good Luck!

kellypea said...

Wow. These are amazing. I can't help noticing the edge on your uncooked tarts and I'm wanting to know how you construct them. It looks like there are two pieces! The flavors are wonderful, the end result perfect.

Brittany said...

Em- thanks chica. I am now drooling at the thought of a butternut souffle.
"Butternut" is probably my favorite name for a food.

foodycat- amen sister

laurie- Thanks!

Brooke- you wish! The tarts didn't last 30 minutes amongst the hungry cooks. I still have the caramel though. Am wittling away at it by eating a spoonful everytime I open the fridge.

Matt- I know! I felt very
fallish and pilgramy while making them. Sage rules. This was my first time using it in a dessert setting.

Peabody, Judy, & Grace- thankyou!

Kellypea- I use a large circle of dough, then fold it over itself to form a thick edge. Then I go over it with my fingers to tidy it up. Using 2 pieces of dough always makes them fall apart once baked and cut into.

cook eat FRET said...

sage caramel
this is truly brilliant

i would love this
sage caramel

you should win an award

next time could you lightly sage the dough? it'd look pretty and taste awesome - i just know it.

The Spiteful Chef said...

At the risk of sounding like a big fat copy cat, SAGE CARAMEL? I think KY should make that as a lube flavor.

I am also praying for Obama to win. I actually kept my CO citizenship long past what was legal so that I could vote in Colorado where it matters, as opposed to Texas, where it would be a joke.

peter said...

And fried sage leaves candied with a little sugar, too, right Claudia?

I meant to do this joust because I had a genius idea but then I forgot to do it. Damn. Genius, I tell you.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious! I made a pine nut-sage brittle for my entry and I agree, the combination of sage and caramel is an absolute winner! Good luck!

Brittany said...

Claudia- I did end up putting this on the manu. I will be trying your suggestion tomorrow.
Because it is brilliant. An orange-sage scented pecan dough makes me hard.

Spiteful- hubby and I have been having tantric sex with it all week

Peter- yes! YES!

croquecamillle- I remember! that looked amazing!

cookiecrumb said...

Fucking better be.
(OMG, awesome recipe.)

FoodJunkie said...

Great one! Good luck with the Joust

kittie said...

Lovely entry for the joust - I totally ran out of time this month!

Good luck!

Brittany said...

cookiecrumb- AND IT IS!!! yaaaaaaay!

foodjunkie and kitty- thanks!

Heather said...

Oh damn, baby girl! I make sage custard too! For my sweet/savory bruleed sweet potato thang. Great minds think alike (better minds make a tart, though, but dang).

Heather said...

Durrr..wait. I though it was in the cream, but it was the caramel. I am speechless. And busted.

I may hafta switch teams, and come live with you. Your hubz cool wit dat?

Anonymous said...

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Brooke said...

Dude. That looks absolutely delicious and all (pissed that you didn't feed me one last weekend), but for reals. It's been 2 weeks. We crave more. Get off your ass.

Ann said...

Food josting! Creamy! Moaning! Oh, the innuendo!

For me, a tart wins hands-down every's too darling NOT too, you know?

Ashley said...

This looks great! I want to make it as a 9" pie, could you tell me how would the baking directions be different? Thanks for posting an amazing looking recipe!

Dawn said...

Matt Wright told me about your blog during the week when you had this tart featured on the front page. I made two 9" tarts yesterday and this was the hit of our Thanksgiving dinner - the winner among three different desserts. You're right that the sage caramel that totally makes it.

Thanks Norm!