Liz from the beautiful blog Zested was one of my first ‘regulars’ here on Feasting on Art and she replied to my open call for still life suggest. Cotán’s Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber was given the recipe treatment and lucky for me, Liz saved a doozy of a suggestion for our collaboration! I frequent her site for not only tantalizing flavour combinations – Frozen Citrus Cream with Candied Thyme & White Chocolate Grapes with Orange Curd – but diligently composed and lit photographs. My mouth waters every time I look at her caramelized tomato tart and I cannot even begin to wax poetic about her Mexican Hot Chocolate! Thank you for such an exciting collaboration Liz!

Be sure to visit Liz’s blog for the recipe for Scarlet Poached Pears and Ginger Pumpkin Bread.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Pumpkin and Beets window, c.1899-1900
leaded favrile glass, 114 x 142.9 cm, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Louis Comfort Tiffany was originally trained as a painter before pursuing the art of glassmaking in the late nineteenth century. He is linked with the Art Nouveau movement which embodies floral motifs with flowing and stylized curves (1). Tiffany preferred to work with glass that contained mineral impurities and often composed his decorative arts with a variety of colours and textures of opalescent glass. The natural jewel-like hues of pumpkin and beetroot are a fitting subject for an art work focused on saturated colour and light. Tiffany’s painterly background is evident with tonal variation used to denote the shape and the form of the organic shapes of the vegetables and the foliage.

As a staple dessert at any Thanksgiving Day celebration, Pumpkin Pie is firmly rooted in autumnal tradition. The New York Times recounts the pie’s history,

First introduced to Tudor England by the French, the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as a pie filler. However, while pumpkin pie sailed with the Pilgrims back to the birthplace of its main ingredient — where it survived in more or less its original form — it all but disappeared in its country of origin.(2)

Traditionally spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, my addition of chipotle chili gives the pie a savory bend and an additional dimension of smoky heat. Although pumpkin pie is generally more palatable for Americans, all of the Australians I tested this recipe on gobbled it up in an instant (and yes I chose the verb gobble to reference the other Thanksgiving staple – turkey!)

{Pumpkin Chipotle Tartelette with Beetroot Jam & Chevre}

Paired with soft and sharp cheese, the tartlets are perfect with a crisp white wine as an appetizer.

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds fresh pumpkin
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle chili
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
frozen shortcrust pastry
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons beet jam
2 tablespoons chevre

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. De-seed the pumpkin and remove the skin. Cut the pumpkin into cubes (about half the size of your thumb). Place on baking tray, greased with a 1/2 tablespoon of cold butter and drizzle with the maple syrup. Toss with your hands to evenly coat the pumpkin and bake in a oven for about 40 minutes until soft.

Puree the baked pumpkin in a large bowl with a hand blender until smooth. Add the butter, brown sugar, chipotle, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Meanwhile use the remaining 1/2 tablespoon cold butter to grease the tartlet
trays (or muffin tins). Use a small cup to cut the shortcrust pastry into circles. Carefully press each circle into the tartlet trays or muffin tins.

Once the pumpkin puree has cooled add the two eggs and buttermilk and mix well. Fill the pastry bases and slide into the 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes. Carefully watch the tartlets to keep them from burning.

To serve top the tartlets with a small spoon of beet jam and chevre, dividing the cheese and jam among the tarts evenly.

{Beetroot Jam}

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 beets, grated
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dried chili
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter and the oil in a large pot and cook the red onion for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Once the onion is soft, add the beet, thyme, and dried chili and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. With 20 minutes remaining in the cooking time, add the brown sugar and vinegar and continue to stir to keep the jam from burning. If the jam becomes too thick then add a bit of water to loosen it. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

This is the second recipe in a four part series for a smoky & spicy Thanksgiving. If you enjoyed this recipe please vote for it at the Bon Appetit Blog Envy Bake-Off (it is on the 4th page of entries in the pie category.)