Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Countdown -- Pumpkin and Date Filo Tart

Since pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients and Halloween was a great Blog Appetit family favorite when the BA boys were growing up, I have lots of tricks and treats to share for the holiday. I thought I would try to put up a daily post with recipes and information to help celebrate what has become a frightfully good time for all (despite it's original underpinnings in religion and more.)
Today's the kick off at H (for Halloween) minus 8

Pumpkin and Date Filo Tart
Serves 8

Not your typical pumpkin pie (and probably a lot fewer calories, too).

The tart reflects its Middle Eastern inspiration with its spicing and use of dates and nuts. It is rich and full tasting with a true pumpkin flavor.

2 cups cooked pumpkin puree
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup orange juice
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/3 cup pitted, roughly chopped Medjool dates (about 8 large chopped into about a ¼” dice)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
7 sheets of filo dough
¼ cup or more of vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First make the pumpkin filling. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree, the eggs, juice, sugars, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well. Add the dates and walnuts and stir until evenly dispersed through filling. Set aside.

Make the filo crust. Have ready a package of defrosted filo leaves. Set seven aside covered with a damp paper towel. Repackage and refreeze remainder of package. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan with vegetable oil. Take out one filo sheet (leaving others covered). Center in the cake pan and brush surface with oil. Take out another sheet, rotate it so the overhanging edges are offset with the first sheet. Brush with the oil. Repeat with four of the remaining sheets. Shred the seventh sheet and scatter across the bottom of the crust.
Fill the crust with the pumpkin mixture. Fold the overhanging edges of the filo back over themselves and tuck into the tart. They should cover the edge of the cake pan and create a bit of an edge. Brush exposed filo with oil.

Place in center rack in center of oven. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until exposed filo crust has turned golden brown. Cover exposed crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake tart for about 50 minutes more or until center is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove foil strips and let cool to room temperature before serving.
Want to make a pumpkin pie like your mom probably made, check out Cooking for Engineers post here for step-by-step instructions.
For something more adventurous, try this pumpkin pie with hazelnuts, freshly ground spices and coconut milk from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi also gives an easy "pat in the pan" graham crust option.

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