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 Pumpkin Tarts Means Fall Food Starts! 
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Post Pumpkin Tarts Means Fall Food Starts!
Pumpkin Tarts Means Fall Food Starts!
by: Chef Todd Mohr

Pumpkin tarts are always the first thing I make when I have access to the fresh ingredients of Fall. I know it’s time to start enjoying Fall foods when the colorful assortment of squash come to my local farmers market.

However, I see the wrinkled brow of concern and confusion on shoppers faces. Fall foods seem to scare people. They think, “Exactly how would I cook the large, heavy, ugly and tough squash that come from the farms this time of year?” And I know if they can’t cook it, they won’t buy it. That’s why I start with something as warm as Grandma’s smile, Pumpkin Tarts. They’re not scary.

You don’t need a recipe for Pumpkin Tarts if you have command of a few basic cooking methods. Because a pumpkin tart will be baked in the oven, it will naturally lose moisture. Baking in the oven is a dry convective cooking process. Heat is transferred indirectly through hot air to the food. No matter what you bake or roast, a dry convective method will draw moisture from your pumpkin tarts.

To combat this, it’s best to first cook your pumpkin, or any other squash you choose to do this with, in a moist method. Moist cooking methods apply heat to food indirectly, but through liquid. This helps ingredients retain moisture if they’re to be baked later.

Remember the difference between Boil, Simmer, and Poach when creating your pumpkin tarts. It’s a mistaken belief that everything cooked in a moist fashion should be boiling rapidly. This high-heat, violent process will break-up ingredients and over-cook them.

A full “Boil” is 212F (100C) and above. It has large bubbles, violent motion to the liquid and cooks rapidly. “Simmer” is 185F – 210F (85C – 98C) and is identified by small bubbles around the perimeter of the pan with a soft motion of the liquid. This is a more desirable way to cook most items. “Poach” shows no bubbles, has hardly any motion to the liquid and maintains a 160F- 185F (71C – 85C) degree range.

So I simmer the pumpkin and my pumpkin tarts will benefit from the soft, moist method I’ve cooked them in because that will yield the smoothest puree for me to add an egg and brown sugar to create the tart filling. Egg proteins will stiffen and bind the pureed pumpkin, giving it the characteristic pumpkin tart appearance.

Don’t be afraid of fresh fall foods! You can discover these nutritious and flavorful ingredients by examining the basic cooking methods that will allow you to create your own recipes based on YOUR desires. There are so many great squash dishes that you can explore, I just always like to start with simple pumpkin tarts. It makes me feel good, not scared.

About The Author
Chef Todd Mohr has freed thousands of people from the frustration of written recipes with his online cooking classes. The Chef’s DVD series “Burn Your Recipes” empowers people to cook with basic methods and the ingredients they desire.
The author invites you to visit:

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Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:48 pm
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