Pumpkin Praline Tartelettes With Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Friday, October 12, 2007
Today, it actually felt like Fall for the first time. There was a little chill in the air this morning as we left for work, and we actually had to wear a little cardigan this evening while watching the sunset. The kind of weather that makes me very, very happy... I have been impatiently awaiting a good reason to make fall favorites such as pumpkins, cranberries, pomegranates and so forth. It is rather unusual to pop by the neighbors' house on a hot humid day with pumpkin praline pies and have they exclaimed "yeah, we had been craving those!". I tend to bring more fruit filled desserts or frozen ones. However, when I walked up the stairs to the twins' house with a small box of these tartelettes, I knew everybody had fall on their mind and a little place for them. C. opened the box while we were chatting on the steps and before we knew it there was cofffe brewing and the other neighbors chatting things up with us while the kids were already devising their Halloween parade....oh yeah, this year it is a parade!!
I know you have had or/and made countless amounts of pumpkin pies before so why would I was poetic about these? Well, there are the first I make this season and that is something so be tlaked about after month of scorching ht summer days and temperature refusing to drop below 80 degrees at night. It just feels nice to say the words "pumpkin pie". The tartlets were further enhanced by homemade butter pecan ice cream showcasing the first pecans our tree gave us and the delightful Moravian cookies we brought back from Winston - Salem this past weekend. Thanks again Abby for all your suggestions: Sweet Potaotes and their sister restaurant, The Cotton Mill were both great destinations for dinners the Reynolda house and Old Salem were incredible and we threw in the battlefield in Greensboro for good measure!
Back to the tartelettes....all my favorites in a couple of bites: an almond shorbread crust, rich pumpkin and praline filling and a little touch of ice cream because...well...just because homemade ice cream rocks! For the praline, I used this paste I was given by another pastry chef in town, a sales rep. dropped two of and she wanted me to give her my opinion. Being as busy as the next person, I like the convenience of already made pastry "aids" like nut pastes and fruit purees and this particular one did not disappoint. You can also make hazelnut praline (caramelized hazelnuts) and grind it fine and use as such in the following recipe, but you can find good and affordable pastes on the internet nowadays that will your time more efficient in the kitchen. The dough is my go-to nut and butter dough inspired by Dorie Greenspan. Feel free to change the nuts in it, walnuts work as good as (even better in my taste) almonds. It needs to be rolled between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and kept as cold as possible, even when handling. Use your fingertips to pat and patch it if it tears. The filling is inspired by the same Richard Leach I love and admire so much, except that I do not have time this week to follow through with his beautifully designed plated desserts. It was my first try at butter pecan ice cream and it has now become a new favorite. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the custard for a couple of hours, beat it with an electric mixer and refreeze again, repeating the operation 2-3 times, until you get a proper ice cream consistency. Feel free to use your favorite cookies for the ice cream sandwiches (the Moravian cookies I used had a ginger flavor).
Pumpkin Praline Tartelettes with Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Makes 8 4 inch tartelettes
Almond Short Dough:
In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup walnuts and 1 stick of butter, pulse until it resembles coarse meal, add 1 egg yolk and pulse until combined into a ball. Flatten the into a disk in between sheets of plastic wrap, refrigerate and roll it out to cut rounds big enough to fit into 8 mini tart pans. The dough gets soft very fast so you can flour your fingertips to push it up and down the sides and bottom of the pan.
Bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Let cool before filling them.
Pumpkin Praline Filling:
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (I used canned)
¼ cup praline paste
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup milk
Pinch of salt
¾ cup heavy cream
In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until combines. Combine the pumpkin and praline paste and cinnamon and add to the egg mixture. Slowly whisk in the milk and the cream. Divide evenly among the tart shells and bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until the custard just starts to set. Let cool to room temperature.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream:
Makes 1 quart
2 cups pecans (1/2 lb), chopped ( I like mine coarse)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans in a shallow baking pan in middle of oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Add butter and salt to hot pecans and toss until butter is melted, then cool pecans completely.
Whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar and cornstarch, then whisk in the eggs until combined. Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add to egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly, and transfer custard back to the saucepan.
Cook custard over medium low heat heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon (do not let boil).
Immediately pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla, then cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. Stir together ice cream and pecans in a bowl, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Use your favorite cookies to make small sandwiches and serve along side the pumpkin tartelettes (which I decorated with chopped pecan brittle for their photo shoot)