I definitely did not understand the pumpkin pie hype growing up. Everyone always talked about how it was their favorite part of autumn, but when I had it, it tasted kind of like super spiced, but also kind of soggy. I was not a fan. But what I found is that there is a way to make pumpkin pie delicious, and that is focusing on that creamy, custardy texture. I just found that the spices used in traditional pumpkin pie can be really overwhelming, so I went with a lighter version. Instead of your traditional spices, I’m using Thai tea powder instead, which will highlight the orange color, and give a fragrance, creaminess, and warming effect without completely drowning out the natural sweetness in a pumpkin with spice. I also used kabocha squash for my version, just because I love the color of cooked kabocha, and I find it have a softer texture than a pumpkin. The next time you want to make a pumpkin, try this version instead. I promise you, if you were like me and thought traditional pumpkin pie was like a quarter way to the cinnamon challenge, you will think differently after having this version.
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1.25 oz Thai tea powder, sugar and milk included
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold water
In a bowl, mix together your salt, flour, butter, and Thai tea powder until it forms a crumbly mixture. Pour your water into that and mix until combined. Refrigerate your dough for at least 10 minutes. Roll the dough out on floured surface to 1/16th-inch thickness. Cut out a 6-inch round. Line a tart tin or a 6-inch ring mold with butter and flour. Place the round into the bottom, prick with a fork, and then re-roll the remaining dough back to 1/16th inch thickness in the shape of a long band. Press the band into the sides of the tin and trim the edges. Bake the shells at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, or if making minis, 20 minutes. About two-thirds the way into the baking process, remove the shells and press them down so that they will stay flat.
For the filling:
12 oz steamed kabocha, seeds and peel removed
2 tablespoons melted butter
2.5 oz Thai tea powder, sugar and milk included
a pinch of salt
4 oz sweetened condensed milk
In a bowl, whip together all of your ingredients except for the egg and condensed milk first. Once the mixture is creamy, add in the egg first, and whisk until combined. Then follow up with the condensed milk. Fill the tart shells and bake again for another 45 minutes at 375 degrees F. If making minis, bake for 25 minutes instead. The center of the pie should just jiggle while still fresh out of the oven when it is baked properly. Allow the tarts to cool completely before unmolding and serving.