Jake Daniel Cohen / @jakedanielcohen
This cake is a traditional dessert native to Basque Country in the southwest of France and the northeast of Spain. It is made of an almond flour crust, filled with a layer of pastry cream. I first had it when I was studying wine in Bordeaux, and had the opportunity to explore Basque Country. I returned shortly after the wine harvest, in November, just in time to start planning for Thanksgiving. I decided to blend my love for pumpkin pie with this new culinary discovery I made, creating this dessert I now make every year.
Makes one 9-inch tart
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, divided
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cup sugar, divided
3 whole eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 beaten egg, for egg wash
To make the crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. The dough should be tacky and slightly wet. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Place one between two 10-inch squares of greased parchment and roll into a 9-inch circle. Repeat with other portion. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
For the pumpkin pastry cream:
Combine the cream, brown sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until sugars have dissolved and the mixture begins to steam, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pumpkin purée, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper it, then pour the egg mixture to the saucepan with the rest of the cream. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan.
Remove the top layer of parchment from one round of dough and invert it onto the tart pan; press to fit with no overhang. Add the pasty cream and spread in an even layer. Remove the top layer of parchment from the second round of dough and invert over the filling. Press to seal the two layers of dough together, trimming any excess dough from the top layer.
Score the top in a crosshatch pattern. Brush the surface with the beaten egg (you won’t need to use all the egg) then bake until golden-brown, 45-50 minutes. Cool completely before serving.