At this time of year, the markets and local shops have pumpkins piled high, adding their colours to the autumn spectrum. Pumpkin features in quite a few Provençal recipes, none perhaps nicer than this Christmas dessert – worth enjoying on other occasions too.
- unsweetened shortcrust pastry dough (see Olive Oil, Garlic & Parsley – the book for a method), using 50–60 g fat for 180 g flour
- fat to grease the tart mould
- 250 g pumpkin, rind and seeds removed
- 100–150 g shelled almonds
- 90 g (vanilla) castor sugar
- 3–4 sml pieces of orange zest
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.
Roll out the dough, line a greased, 22 cm, tart mould, and bake blind (i.e., the dough pricked with a fork and covered in greaseproof paper weighted down with dried or ceramic beans) for 7 min.
Remove the beans and greaseproof paper. Return the shell to the oven, having pricked the base again with a fork, for a further 2–3 min, then set aside. Turn the oven down to gas mark 4/180°C.
Blanch and peel the almonds by immersing them for 1–2 min in boiling water, taking them out with a slotted spoon, and slipping off the skins when you can handle them.
Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and cook gently in a covered pan, with 2 tbsp water, until soft enough to be crushed with a spatula (5–8 min). Mash with a fork, return to a low heat, uncovered, and stirring often, reduce to a thick purée (approx 5 min, some liquid will always remain).
At the same time, grill the almonds until lightly coloured. Put them through a food-processor, along with the sugar and orange peel, whizzing until you have a medium-fine crumble. Turn out into a mixing bowl and stir in the pumpkin, using a draining spoon to transfer it from the saucepan.
Fill the waiting tart shell and return to the middle of the oven for 20 min.
Serve hot with a sweet white wine such as Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or de Rasteau. Any left over can be eaten cold.