I'm working up a good obsession for Tarte Tatin. Something about that caramelized flavor with fruit and a delicious flaky crust makes me go weak in the knees. For the season, I thought I'd try it with pumpkin, and I thought the pumpkin and caramel worked well together. I've kept it classic here to keep the pumpkin flavor as the star of the show, but you could add a splash or bourbon, lemon zest, or even traditional pumpkin pie spices. I used Amanda's grating technique to add the butter to the flour. So fun! The Tarte can be made a day or two ahead and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Warm the Tarte on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at a 300 degree oven just before serving. —[email protected]
First, cook and prep the pumpkin: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the top of the pumpkin with a serrated knife. Wrap the pumpkin in foil and bake until it begins to soften, about 40 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and carefully unrap the foil. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, cut it in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Peel off the skin with a potato peeler. At first, this will seem nearly impossible because the skin is quite hard. Persevere. Once you get going, you will conquer that little pumpkin and the peel will be off in a couple of minutes. Slice the pumpkin into half inch sections from top to bottom. The flesh will be easy to cut but still quite firm.
While the pumpkin is cooking, make the dough. whisk the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Using a stick of frozen butter, unwrap one end and grate it on the largest holes of a box grater. The butter will curl off into small shavings. Keep unwrapping the butter and grating until you have grated the entire stick. Add the butter to the flour mixture, crack the egg on top, and lightly scramble it. Mix everything together with your hands, breaking up any large pieces of butter. Push the dough into the shape of a ball and smash the ball onto the counter. All of the flour may not incorporate at this point, or the ball may crumble apart, but stick with it. Smear the ball across the counter to evenly incorporate the butter. As you do this, work in any flour that didn't incorporate initially. Just do this for as long as it takes to get the dough to stick together; don't overwork it.
Form the dough back into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to cook the tart, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Unwrap the dough and roll it out into a circle that is an inch or two larger than the diameter of your pan.
Heat the butter in an 8 or 9-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, stir the sugar and salt into the butter and spread them evenly across the pan.
Add the pumpkin slices one next to the other around the pan. Once you have finished the first layer, fit as many additional slices as you can in a second layer, filling in the gaps between the pumpkin pieces from the first layer. Squeeze in as many as you can because they will reduce slightly in size as they cook. Cut a few sections to fit into the middle of the tart.
Lift the dough with a spatula or a rolling pin and carefully drape it over the pan. Taking care not to burn your fingers, tuck the edge of the dough along the side of the pan. If you have measured accurately, the dough should just fit with a bit extra to slip down into the sides. If you do what I usually do and roll it a bit too big, just squeeze it into the pan. Don't worry if the dough is a bit lumpy because this will be the underside of the tart when you are done. Place the pan in the oven and let it cook until the crust is lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the tart cool for 15 minutes or more. Place a large serving plate over the top of the pan. With oven mitts or pot holders, pick up the pan with the plate on top and quickly flip the pan over so that the tart inverts onto the plate. I recommend that you do this over a surface that is easy to clean (or the sink) because more than once a bit of caramel has oozed out of the side as I flip the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, ideally with vanilla ice cream.