So I gave in to my husband’s cries of wanting a pumpkin pie. Well, sort of. I went with my friend Mariah’s idea of using white pumpkin to replace the all so popular sugar pumpkin, or pie pumpkin. She said a family friend makes two pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving, one of them made from a white pumpkin. From the two, Mariah said the white has always been her favorite. I found this white pumpkin thing intriguing, and then found myself doing the unthinkable, making my ultimate gag-reflex food. Pumpkin. Pie.
As it turns out, I ended up liking it! It is possible that my spell of adverse reactions to pumpkin pie may have been lifted. Possibly. Or at least for these little white pumpkin tartlets. Did I mention the crust is made out of shortbread? I LOVE shortbread. I think that also coaxed me into biting into one of these little morsels. Not to mention the thin layer of white pumpkin filling, which I have determined is the culprit to my hatred of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin filling is too thick and there is too much of it. That’s what makes these tartlets all the better, just enough filling to satisfy your pumpkin pie cravings. Nice and mild, but uniquely pumpkin.
I had a reader make a comment a while back about being a pumpkin pie hater, like me, until she started experimenting with other squashes, like butternut squash. I think with her comment and Mariah’s insight, I had enough courage to try this one out. I’m glad I did. It is a great holiday dessert, especially when topped with freshly whipped cream and pecans.Pick a nice heavy white pumpkin out (but you’ll only need two cups worth). Cut it open and remove all of the seeds and stringy guts with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon and a little butter and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. OR… do the faster method, and boil them for 25-30 minutes. You choose. Press shortbread dough into 12 mini tart pans. It’s okay if they’re rough around the edges, it gives these tartlets character! Pour pie mixture into each tart pan Bake for 30 minutes, let them cool and enjoy!
2 cups white pumpkin puree (or regular pumpkin puree), homemade or from a can.
1 cup organic evaporated milk
3 egg yolks and one white
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the Shortbread Crust:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or if you prefer, all-purpose flour can be substituted
2 cups organic evaporated cane juice sugar
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, mix sugar, butter and egg yolks together. Add flour and salt. Mix until crumbly. Spoon into 12 mini tart pans and press dough in and around the edges for a nice side crust. Freeze for 10 minutes until firm.
Meanwhile for the filling, Scrape pumpkin meat off skin with a spoon (should come off easy, if not, boil or bake another five minutes) and toss it into a blender adding a half cup of evaporated milk. Blend pumpkin until smooth. Add last half cup of evaporated milk to pumpkin puree and blend again until smooth. Pour puree through a strainer. In a separate mixing bowl, mix cream cheese until smooth, add sugar. Beat in eggs until smooth. Next add in pumpkin mixture. Finally add spices and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined using a medium speed (about 5 minutes).
Remove 12 tart pans from the freezer and line them on a cookie sheet. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup of pumpkin filling into each mini tart pan (you may have some filling left over). Baked for 30 minutes. Cool and enjoy.