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Butternut Crème Brulee Tart

Explore the sweet side of squash. Combine creamy butternut custard with sugar and spices for a fancy fall dessert.
Butternut Crème Brulee Tart
1 unbaked pie crust
8 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup cooked butternut squash puree*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg
3 tablespoons coarse sugar (may use granulated white)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with pie crust (2 rectangular pans or 6-8 small tart pans). Place parchment paper in tart shell with about 1-inch overhang on all sides. Fill shell with pie weights (or dry beans, rice). Bake 20-30 minutes or until crust is beginning to brown. Cool shell until slightly warm, remove pie weights. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.

Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; set aside.

Heat cream, brown sugar and 1/3-cup white sugar in saucepan over medium heat almost to a boil – bubbles will form around sides of pan. Slowly whisk hot cream into beaten yolks. Add butternut squash puree, vanilla, salt and spices. Pour custard mixture into prepared tart shell(s). Bake at 325 degrees for 20-40 minutes (depending on size of pan used) or until edges are puffed and center is set (center will have a slight jiggle). Remove from oven, cool then refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Preheat broiler to very hot (or use a kitchen torch). Evenly sprinkle coarse sugar over top of custard, place under broiler until sugar is melted and golden brown (1-2 minutes). Let cool before serving.

Capitalizing on the fall vegetable bounty this tart is far from ordinary. Although it has the crusty top and creamy center of crème brulee custard, it is created in a delicate crust and infused with the rich taste of butternut squash. Serves 8-12

* May substitute canned pumpkin puree. Butternut squash is a drier, fuller flavored winter squash and preferred for this recipe. To make your own puree: Cut butternut squash in half, remove seeds and rind. Cut into cubes, place in saucepan, almost cover squash with water. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat and gently boil for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain water and puree. Alternative cooking method is to roast squash in the oven until tender (oven method makes a drier puree).

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