Right now, on the other hemisphere (well, actually only in the USA.. Canada’s thanksgiving has been and gone) bakers all over are getting the stuffed turkey into the oven, bringing the cranberry sauce to room temperature, prepping the potato gratin, roasting the vegetables, letting the pumpkin pie cool, and cutting the cornbread into perfect squares. Yeah, I’m going to admit, I wish I was amongst that. And because next year I will be (!!) I have started my research and decided to experiment already with some Thanksgiving staples.
Naturally, first on the list is pumpkin pie. I made one last year for a casual Thanksgiving I threw for a small group of friends, and funnily enough I wasn’t that much of a fan. Pumpkin pie is… weird! It probably makes a significant different that we can’t buy pumpkin puree in a can here -I only recently learnt that this was ‘a thing’! It explains why Americans post recipes for pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin brownie, pumpkin porridge… I would too if all it took was a can opener! Instead, I had to roast, puree and drain a real, local pumpkin, which tended to be a little watery and kind of stringy. Uh, send me some of this canned goodness please?! Needless to say, it wasn’t a total hit. I think both because it wasn’t perfect, but also because its all a little strange to us New Zealanders. However, I am determined to nail it before we jump over to the thankgiving-embracing Americas. Next week we are sharing a belated Thanksgiving dinner at our home group for which I will be pushing my sleeves up and reattempting this pumpkin pie. I have my eye on this perfect pie, this kumara pie, this healthy pumpkin pie, and this mixed kumara and pumpkin pie.
But this post is not about pumpkin pie, well not in that sense. Last Sunday we held a beautiful spring picnic at the Hamilton Rose Gardens during the Jazz festival. We enjoyed mini quiches, a Roast Pumpkin with Sage and Chevré galette, fresh sandwiches, pear and cinnamon friands, the first strawberries of the season, and gingerbread men, amongst the hugest array of rose bushes, to the joys of live jazz. It was delightful! Nothing beats good friends, good weather and darn good food.
I had been eyeing up this pumpkin galette on Savory Simple for a wee while, but was trying to source goat’s cheese (chervré) before I made it. Well, I found it! Nosh sells chevré, and probably Farro too. It’s amazing – kind of like feta but soft, creamy and sold in logs. Quite a different taste to cow’s cheese. I had a heap of fun making this – I just love working with pastry, and the galette allows free rein as it’s not as fussy as a tart.
Underneath the roast pumpkin is a layer of pear, onion and spices, cooked until soft and almost caramelised. Amongst the pumpkin are fresh sage leaves (which aren’t so fresh after being in the oven) picked straight from my huge sage bush (which is currently taking over the herb garden.. any suggestions for using up lots of sage??). The lumps of chevré go crisp on the outside and remain creamy inside – amazing!
Roast Pumpkin Galette with Sage and Chevré
Adapted from Savory Simple
Pâte Brisée (see recipe below)
(This tart only requires half a recipe of pâte brisée. It freezes well so is more worth the mess in the food processor to make the full batch. Yes, I hate cleaning the processor.. all 7 parts of it..)
1/2 NZ Crown Pumpkin
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 medium pear, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large bunch fresh sage
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, plus more for topping
1/3 cup pecans
50g chevré (Really, you hardly need any. Don’t let the ladies in the deli at Nosh talk you into purchasing a whole log or you’ll be eating it for days.. on everything!)
Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Toss the pumpkin in a light coating of olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
While the pumpkin is roasting, brown the butter, onion and pear in a skillet on medium high heat until everything is soft and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
Mix the cinnamon, a few chopped sage leaves, nutmeg and a pinch of salt together and then toss with the apple and shallots. Toast the pecans at 200 ˚C until you can smell them, allow to cool, and then coarsely chop.
Roll the dough onto a floured surface until very thin. Use a pizza cutter to make a circle with the dough that’s around 12 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the rolled dough to a baking sheet covered in parchment. The best way to do this is to gently roll the dough around the rolling pin, then unroll it on top of the baking sheet.
Spread the pear and onion mixture evenly across the dough, leaving approximately a 4cm border and sprinkle the pecans evenly on top. Spread the roasted pumpkin on top of the nuts and sprinkle over chunks of chevré. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a handful of sage leaves. Fold the excess dough on top of the ingredients in a circle, until you have a tightly formed tart. Chill for 15 minutes (this helps the dough set and cook evenly).
Bake at 200˚C for 45 minutes, or until the goat cheese is browning and the dough is firm. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.
This is a wonderful all-purpose pastry dough that can be used for quiches, savory and sweet tarts.
340g all purpose flour
1 t salt
200g cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup ice cold water
Add flour, butter and salt into a food processor
Pulse on and off until the mixture is crumbly.
Slowly add the water with the machine running just until the dough forms a ball.
Chill until needed.