Pumpkin Tartlets with Sage & Thyme
MAKES 8 TARTS OR 32 CANAPÉS
Polenta pastry: • 175g plain flour • 25g polenta • pinch of fine sea salt • 100g unsalted butter • 2 large egg yolks • 1-2 tbsp cold water • 1 medium egg white
Filling: • about 1.5kg pumpkin • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally • handful of rosemary sprigs • olive oil, to drizzle • 200ml double cream • 10-12 sage leaves • few thyme sprigs • sea salt and black pepper • 2 large eggs, beaten • 100g caster sugar
TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN PUREE
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and remove the seeds. Score the flesh, season with salt and pepper, then rub with the cut garlic halves. Lay rosemary sprigs and a garlic half in each pumpkin half. Drizzle with a little olive oil and place on baking trays. 2. Roast the pumpkin halves for about 1 hour until tender. It is ready when you can slip a knife into the thickest part. Take out the rosemary and garlic; reserve the garlic. While still hot, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and purée in a blender.
TO MAKE THE TARTLETS
3. To make the pastry, put the flour, polenta and salt into a food processor. Cut the butter into cubes, add to the processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and 1 tbsp water and pulse until it clumps together. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. 4. For the filling, put the cream into a small saucepan and add the snipped sage, thyme sprigs and a pinch of salt. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse and cool. 5. Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured surface and use it to line eight 10cm tartlet tins, trim off the excess pastry. Brush the insides with egg white, then place on a baking tray and chill for an hour. 6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Line the tartlet cases with greaseproof paper and baking beans or dried beans and ‘bake blind’ for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the setting to 170°C/gas 3. 7. Strain the herb-infused cream through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the herbs. Stir in the pumpkin purée and beaten eggs. Season well to taste. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases, then sprinkle a little grated parmesan and a few thyme leaves on top. Bake for about 20–25 minutes until lightly golden and set. 8. Let the tartlets cool in the tins before unmoulding. Carefully slice each tartlet into quarters and arrange on a platter to serve.