For those folks needing a fair number of pumpkin recipes to satisfy this all-American fall craving, Johanne Kelleen and George Germon have this killer crostata. We first tasted its glory at a cooking event at The Butcher Shop in Boston's South End at which this Providence, Rhode Island dynamic duo topped off the evening with this not-too-sweet, intriguing spin on the Thanksgiving, no-feast-would-be-complete-without-it pumpkin pie. This crostata is an Italian pie of sorts with a crispy, golden, rustic, fold-over crust that is far less finicky to make than American pie dough. The filling is the real deal — natural roasted sugar pumpkin available only during the autumn harvest. The toppings are show stealers. Each person has the opportunity to pour the perfect amount of whipped cream, caramel, and crème anglaise to satisfy every sweet tooth. We made only two changes to the recipe. The first is toasted and salted pepitas because we felt the crostata needed a hint of green to make it even more appealing as it waited to be gobbled up. Secondly, we added sea salt to the caramel sauce for no other reason than we simply love salty caramel.
cuisine cuisine
cuisine American
difficulty Moderate
season Fall & Winter
serves 8 to 12

Ingredients for the Filling

4 pounds sugar pumpkin (one small) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup pepitas Sea salt flakes, for finishing

Ingredients for the Crème Anglaise

2 cups heavy cream 4 egg yolks 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Caramel Sauce

2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Ingredients for the Pastry

1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes and put in the freezer for 15 minutes 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 cup ice water

Directions for the Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place cut sides down on a quarter sheet baking tray.
  3. Roast the squash until the flesh is soft (about 20 to 30 minutes). Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool. 
  4. Scoop the flesh from the pumpkin shells and reserve.
  5. Melt the butter in a 10" or 12" cast iron skillet. Add the sugar and stir constantly over low heat until the sugar caramelizes and becomes a rich chestnut brown color.
  6. Add the roasted pumpkin flesh to the skillet and stir to incorporate the caramel and coat the pumpkin. At first, you may think something has gone terribly wrong as the caramel seizes and solidifies. No worries! It will begin to melt again as the pumpkin warms up in the skillet. When the pumpkin is well combined, transfer it to a medium bowl. Refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour, or until it is completely chilled.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  8. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 14" circle and then transfer it to a parchment-lined half sheet baking pan. Top with the chilled pumpkin, leaving a 2" border around the perimeter.
  9. Raise the dough border up and over the filling and gently fold the dough so that small 2" sections are folded over around the entire crostata.
  10. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and bake the tart for 20 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Remove the crostata from the oven and sprinkle with pepitas and a few sea salt flakes.
  11. Whip the cream until it is stiff.
  12. Pass the whipped cream, the crème anglaise, and the pitcher of warm caramel sauce.

Directions for the Crème Anglaise

  1. Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan and scald it.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. In a slow steady stream, add the hot cream and whisk constantly.
  3. Cook the crème anglaise over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Please note, this mixture should never come to a boil.
  4. Immediately, pour the custard through a fine strainer and into a small mixing bowl set in a bowl of ice.
  5. Stir the custard over ice for several minutes to cool. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to pass with the crostata.

Directions for the Caramel Sauce

  1. Pour the cream into a 1-quart saucepan and scald it. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and keep warm.
  2. Heat the sugar in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
  3. The sugar will begin to melt into a clear liquid and eventually darken to a rich mahogany color. 
  4. Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the cream whisking constantly. Add the sea salt flakes and distribute evenly. The sauce will thicken as it cools and will solidify if refrigerated. Reheat gently to pouring consistency just before serving. 

Directions for the Pastry

  1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  2. Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Add the butter, tossing quickly with fingers to make sure the butter is coated in flour (avoid the processor blade :).
  4. Pulse 15 times and then with the motor running, slowly pour the ice water through the processor tube.
  5. Place the dough on a piece of aluminum foil and refrigerate for a least 1 hour and up to 2 days (may be frozen for two weeks).