It’s what I’m calling a “pumpkin ricotta phyllo tart,” but it should be called “the miraculous outcome of mixing and baking a hodgepodge of ingredients.”
A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in Shanghai online grocer Epermarket‘s “Halloween Battle.” Along with a few other food bloggers, I was sent a box of mystery ingredients, and asked to create one cohesive dish. A huge fan of the TV show, “Chopped,” I happily agreed.
Giddy with excitement, I opened the the box to find a small pumpkin, purple sweet potatoes, a tub of ricotta cheese, Bougon Buche Fraiche cheese, salted butter, free range eggs, organic mint, phyllo dough, green pistachios, brazil nuts and a bag of Carambar caramel candy. That’s right, 11 ingredients and one dish. The once overly confident couch potato was all of a sudden not so confident.
But, my competitive nature kicked in, and I somehow managed to mix all of the ingredients in a way that worked. I’m telling you, I’m still shocked and confused about how it all worked out. But it did, and it tasted amazing. Here’s the recipe:
Pumpkin Ricotta Phyllo Tart
Makes 12 servings. Prep/cook time: A lot. Two separate nights, really.
1 small pumpkin
1-2 purple sweet potatoes (if do not have, you can just use pumpkin) 1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Bougon Buche Fraiche cheese (or cream cheese)
A little less than 1/2 cup white sugar
2 TBSP orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 stick of salted butter
9 sheets of phyllo dough
1 handful of pistachios
Small bag of caramel candy
Approx. 5 TBSP milk
Small handful of mint
1. Roast the pumpkin and potatoes. Since I always have trouble cutting through raw pumpkins, I threw the whole thing in the oven. Place it on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius, or until fork-tender. The potatoes will take around the same time, but check before the 30 minutes. Make sure to poke holes in the potatoes. *Note: you can omit the potatoes and just make it with pumpkin, if you prefer.*
2. After the pumpkin and potatoes have cooled, remove the seeds of the pumpkin and the skin of the potatoes and pumpkin. Measure 3/4 cup of equal parts pumpkin/potato puree and place into a food processor or blender.
3. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Add the ricotta cheese, Buche Fraiche cheese, sugar, eggs, orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg to the pumpkin/potato puree and blend until smooth.
4. Fill two muffin trays with the mixture (makes 12). They should be half-full.
5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until firm. A toothpick should come out almost clean.
6. When cool, remove the custard from the muffin tray and place in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight. Also remove the phyllo dough from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost.7. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, heat the butter in a pan, take out one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly brush the top of the phyllo. Fold in half. Then brush the top with butter and fold in half. Place one cold custard in the center and fold up the sides to form a purse. Use kitchen string to secure.
8. Repeat the process for each of the custards and place them on a cookie tray. Bake in the oven until the tops of phyllo are slightly brown, approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.
9. Let the phyllo purses cool and heat several caramel candies in a pan, on low heat. Add equal parts milk and continue to stir until it forms a sauce. Add the pistachio nuts.
10. Garnish with the caramel and nuts.
I know, it’s a labor-intensive recipe, but if you break it up into two days, it’s not so bad. I actually had fun making these little treats, but loved eating them even more! They’re particularly good they next day, served cold without the caramel–think light, yet crunchy pumpkin pie. Yum!
Thank you, Epermarket for choosing me as one of your bloggers. Too bad you didn’t get to taste the final product!