When combined with other seasonal ingredients, such as maple syrup and nutmeg, acorn squash makes a delightful filling for these tartlets.
Acorn Squash Tartlets
- 1½ (14.1-ounce) packages refrigerated piecrust dough (3 sheets)
- 1 teaspoon whole milk
- 1 medium acorn squash
- ⅛ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, unroll dough sheets. Using a 2¾-inch cutter, cut 18 rounds from dough, reserving dough scraps. Transfer rounds to 18 (2½-inch) fluted tartlet pans, pressing into bottoms and up sides. Using the wide end of a chopstick, gently press dough into indentations in sides of pans. Using a fork, prick bottoms of dough. Place tartlet pans on a rimmed baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Bake tartlet shells until light golden brown, approximately 7 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut ½-inch leaf shapes from dough scraps. Pinch bottoms of leaves to create stems. Place leaves on prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Brush tops of leaves with milk.
- Bake leaves until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Using a sharp knife, cut acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds and membranes. Drizzle cut sides of squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until squash feels very soft when pressed or squeezed, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Scrape baked squash pulp from peel. Using a fork, mash squash pulp until puréed.
- In a medium bowl, stir together puréed squash, maple syrup, melted butter, brown sugar, cream, nutmeg, remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, egg, and vanilla extract until well combined and creamy.
- Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon squash mixture into each baked tartlet shell, being careful not to overfill. Using an offset spatula, smooth squash mixture.
- Bake until filling is set and a knife inserted in centers of tartlets comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes. Let cool completely. Serve immediately at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for a few hours until cold.
- Just before serving, place Sweetened Whipped Cream in a piping bag fitted with large open star tip (Wilton #1M). Pipe a rosette of Sweetened Whipped Cream onto each tartlet. Arrange 2 or 3 pastry leaves on each tartlet. Serve immediately.
Make-Ahead Tip: Tartlet shells and pastry leaves can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container. Acorn squash filling can be made up to a day in advance, stored in covered container, and refrigerated until ready to use.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
A homemade sweetened whipped cream is easy to make and can be used as a topping for many baked goods, from scones to tartlets.
- ¾ cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium deep bowl, beat together cold cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract with a mixer at high speed until thick and creamy. Use immediately.