Fall is the time when I miss home the most. Having grown up in New Jersey, having spent my college years in Boston and post-college days in New York City, I truly miss the fall season in the northeast and all that comes with it: Indian summer, intense foliage color changes, apple cider donuts and of course Thanksgiving. Not to say the fall in Switzerland is not beautiful, but the cold weather seems to arrive much earlier and there can be many days filled with fog and rain, just like today… So I decided to make this tart to bring a little sunshine to this gray Sunday using my favorite squash that until this year, I could not find anywhere in Switzerland. I was overjoyed to find Kabocha squash this past week at the Juckerfarm in Jona-Rapperswil, which is a beautiful place to also find numerous varieties of pumpkins, squash, apples and pears. I even found Nashi pears!
As it is Kürbiszeit (“pumpkin time” in German), almost everyone I know in Switzerland is making pumpkin soup, but I wanted to make something else that was just as savory and full of pumpkin flavor. This tart recipe was inspired from conversations I have had in the past few days with colleagues and friends about their favorite pumpkin/squash recipes. It was super easy to make since I used pre-made puff pastry and works perfectly for a Sunday brunch and paired with a salad, it makes for a great weeknight dinner. Let the Kürbiszeit continue!
INGREDIENTS: (serves 4-6)
1 lb. Kabocha Squash (225 g or 1/4 of a medium sized Kabocha squash)
1 L water for steaming
4 medium yellow onions
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (1.5 ml)
1 cup ricotta (250 g)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 puff pastry sheet (270 g, octagon/circular shape if available)
butter to grease tart dish
5-6 fresh sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 395F (200C).
- Wash the Kabocha squash, cut into quarters and scoop the seeds out. Use one quarter (or a part equivalent to 1 lb.) and place onto a steamer basket in a large pot with 1 L of water. Place the lid onto the pot and steam for approx. 20 minutes or until fork tender and then set aside to cool.
- While the squash is steaming, thinly slice 4 medium yellow onions.
- Heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on high in a large frying pan and add in the sliced onions. Continue to cook the onions on medium-high heat and stir regularly. Season the onions with 1/2 tsp salt and cook the onions until a medium-brown (approx. 10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- Season the ricotta with salt and pepper and mix well.
- Slice the cooked Kabocha squash into thin slices (the skin is tender so I kept it on).
- Grease the tart dish with butter and place the puff pastry into the dish and press firmly into the frame while folding in the edges.
- Place the sliced Kabocha squash onto the puff pastry and distribute evenly. Season the squash with salt, pepper and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the seasoned ricotta cheese and distribute evenly onto the squash.
- Add the caramelized onions and distribute evenly.
- Garnish with a few sage leaves and brush the crust with egg wash.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.
- Remove from oven and allow the tart to cool for 5-10 minutes. It’s best to serve warm.