Thanksgiving came and went but there is really no time to rest! Christmas is around the corner and everyone is feeling merry. At least I hope everyone is. Although I really like Thanksgiving, Christmas to me has something magical about it.
Be it the wonderful lit up windows in the snow covered houses, or the spicy fragrance that fill the streets of the Christmas market or simply the gleaming eyes of enchanted children, enamored by the "ho! ho! ho!" of Santa Claus, or even listening to Wham!'s "Last Christmas" for the trillionth time on the radio, Christmas time brings on a special cheer and spirit in me.
I really enjoy the entire December month. Because as soon as December 1st comes along, I know it's time to bake, cook and decorate. OK I do this all year round but during the weeks counting up to Christmas the entire house looks warm and cosy with dimmed candle lights, decorated with mistletoe and berries and the sweet scent of cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla lingers in the entire house.
It's also the time of month where friends will drop in for Advent tea or after a nice long winter walk we spontaneously invite friends to stay for supper. So it's always good to have cookies, cakes and quick snacks around the house.
Although I always add a lot of affection and care into my cooking and baking, somehow during the Christmas weeks I feel especially close to my kitchen. The dishes, cakes, desserts and cookies I create during this time carries more thought and care, peppered with a little more feeling and spiced with slightly more love. Maybe in my crazy mind I hope that the people I share my creations with might get infected with my merriness. Tis the season to be merry - after all.
So, I hope a tart like this will spread more warmth, joy and affection among everyone I share this with. Layered with the sweetness of pumpkin and topped off with a crumbling of salty feta cheese, which offers the perfect counterpoint to the pumpkin. Vegetarians would leave it as it is but for the bacon lovers among you, adding a handful of cubed crispy bacon pieces enhances the flavor, giving a new dimension to the tart.
It's perfect on it's own for a lovely supper with friends and a glass of wine, but it also makes an extraordinary side to your grand Christmas turkey or it would look elegantly at home on the New Year's buffet. This type of flexibility makes it the ideal dish for entertaining with friends and feasts, using produce fresh from the Farmer's Market.
Come join me for a Traditional Feast this month. Bring along your favorite dish to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanuka or Diwali.
Details can be found here.
Deadline: December 3rd.
Printable version here.
Makes 2 tarts for tart forms of 22 cm diameter each.
300 g + additional handful all-purpose flour
150 g soft butter
A pinch of salt
50 ml milk
1 kg Hokkaido pumpkin - cut in thin slices
300 g sour cream
100 g Crème fraiche
200 g feta cheese - cubed
Salt and pepper
Grated fresh nutmeg
Quickly combine flour, butter, pinch of salt and milk into a homogeneous dough. You can use your food processor or your kitchen machine for this. Form the dough into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter your tart or spring forms. On a floured surface roll out the dough and spread the dough out into the forms. Spread the pumpkin slices on to the dough.
In a bowl whisk together the crème fraiche, sour cream and eggs. Season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then pour the mixture over the pumpkin. Spread the feta cheese over the top and sprinkle with some dried thyme. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.
If the top starts to darken simply place a sheet of baking paper over the top of the tart.
Optional: Add about 200 g of bacon cubes with the feta cheese to the tart for a fantastic smoky flavor.
A fantastic harmony of flavors are combined to give a irresistible tart. We enjoyed this with chilled white wine and I think I was really able to spread the merry and joyous sentiment around our dinner table.
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