Autumn is in full force, and the squash season has arrived. Autumn is my favorite time of the year; leaves are changing and showing their beautiful colors and the first chill is in the air. There are so many varieties of amazing colorful squashes out there from Butternut squash to Delicato, to Spaghetti Squash, just to name a few. My Red Kuri Squash Tart is easy to prepare, tastes and looks great on any dinner table. I have cooked the recipe with butternut squash before, so yes; you can substitute Red Kuri squash with other types of winter squash.
Squash can be classified as summer or fall-winter squash. There are 12 different common types of winter squash available. They all are known to have a mild nutty flavor and the meat is dense and very aromatic. Winter squash is best to consume in a ripe stage. The ripe stage means the skin is hard, smooth to bumpy, and the stem is dry. Fall-winter squash is usually harvested in summer.
Red Kuri Squash:
This squash is one of my favorites. The Red Kuri is also known as an orange Hokkaido pumpkin. It has a teardrop shape and orange skin that is edible once cooked. Its flesh has a smooth texture, orange color, and chestnut flavor. The word “Kuri” is actually Japanese for chestnut.
The recipe for the Red Kuri Squash Tart is a basic, easy-to-make pastry dough that is suitable for many
different tarts. Do not overwork the dough, overworking the dough develops too much gluten and the dough will be tough. l prepare my dough a day in advance, then wrap and place in the refrigerator ready to go.
Prepping my dough a day in advance, makes my baking day so much more organized. If you prefer, you can add nuts, cranberries, etc to the tart. But, as they say, less is more and the star of the Red Kuri Squash tart is the crust and the light filling.
Preparing the dough with a food processor:
Place the chilled butter, grated parmesan cheese, and flour into the food processor and pulse until the
mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cold water. Pulse just until the mixture comes together. Squeeze a bit of the mixture in your hand to see if it holds together. The dough should hold together without crumbling.
Making the dough by hand:
Most of the time, I make my dough by hand. Place the chilled butter, grated parmesan cheese, and flour into a bowl. Using a pastry blender, “cut in” everything until it comes together to a breadcrumb consistency. “Cutting in” means incorporating the butter into the flour in such a way that little lumps of the raw butter remain whole within the flour mixture. I love my King Arthur pastry blender, it makes “cutting in” butter so much easier and is great for multiple applications: pastry blending, mashing potatoes, and other veggies.
Why blind bake the crust:
The filling usually has a shorter baking time than the crust.
So if you don’t blind-bake your crust, it will be soggy because of the wet filling. When blind baking or sometimes called pre-baking, the crust is lined with parchment paper and then filled with uncooked beans or rice and then baked. Another reason you would blind bake a crust, for example, is when making a fruit tart.
Great Autumn flavor with a slight hint of nutmeg.
The saltiness of the parmesan crust goes well with the natural chestnut flavor of the squash.
My Red Kuri Squash tart is one of my favorite tarts to make
and is pretty simple to prepare.
My Red Kuri Squash tastes and looks great.
Great appetizer or serve with a choice of salad for a light lunch.
To make the dough, I like to use my pastry blender.
However, if you prefer to use your food processor, the food processor method is much quicker and easier.
Red Kuri Squash Tart with Parmesan and Fontina
- 9 ounce all-purpose flour
- 4 ounce butter cold
- 5 tbsp water chilled
- 1 ounce Parmesan grated
- 22 ounce Red Kuri Squash
- 2 each Egg medium-sized
- 4 ounce half and half
- 1 ounce cornstarch
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 1/2 cups water from the steamed Red Kuri Squash
- 4 ounce fontina cheese shredded
Make the dough
- Measure flour in a large bowl, add parmesan cheese and cold cubed butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour. Continue cutting the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, the butter pieces will be about the size of peas. Add the ice-chilled water and mix the dough. Wrap dough and place in cooler.9 ounce all-purpose flour, 4 ounce butter, 5 tbsp water, 1 ounce Parmesan
Roll the Dough
- To roll, lightly flour dough on the table. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13” in diameter, then trim to make a 12” circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Use a 9 1/2” fluted tart pan, with a removable bottom. Spray tart pan with a nonstick spray. Lay dough loosely into the tart pan, letting it relax a bit. Gently press dough into the pan. Roll a rolling pin over the edges of the tart pan to get a clean cut. Place the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Blind bake the Crust:
- Line the pan with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until the sides are set, approximately 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper and dried beans, and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust feels fairly firm to the touch and just starts to brown. Once baked, remove from the oven and completely cool.
Make the filling,
- Cut the squash (with the skin) into equal 2-inch pieces. Steam until soft and then cool to room temperature. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of water from the steamer and set aside. Add the steamed squash and eggs to a food processor and puree. Combine the 1 1/2 cups of reserved water from the steamer, corn starch, half and half to a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook sauce for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of sea salt. Add the sauce to the pureed squash, add the shredded Fontina cheese and blend until all ingredients are mixed well. Set aside.22 ounce Red Kuri Squash, 2 each Egg, 4 ounce half and half, 1 ounce cornstarch, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch nutmeg, 1 1/2 cups water from the steamed Red Kuri Squash, 4 ounce fontina cheese
Fill and bake the tart:
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the squash filling evenly into the tart shell. Transfer to the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.
Plate the tart
- Remove tart from fluted tart pan and cut into 8 slices. Serve with glazed Red Kuri Squash or a mixed green salad on the side.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate