makes one 14” x 4½” x 1” rectangular tart
Gingersnap/Hazelnut Crumb crust-
6 oz. gingersnap cookie crumbs, preferably from homemade cookies
½ cup finely ground hazelnuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, ground hazelnuts, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides of a 14” x 4½” x 1” rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes to chill the crust. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 8 minutes, just until set. Place on a rack to cool while you prepare the filling. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Butternut Squash filling-
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups fresh butternut squash puree or one 15-ounce can squash puree
½ cup heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten with a fork
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and spices. In a large mixing bowl, place the squash puree with the sugar/spice mixture. Whisk to combine. Add the heavy cream and then the eggs, mixing to blend. Retrieve the baking sheet with the tart shell. Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell. (If you have a little extra, bake it in small ramekins or glass pyrex cups.) Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, just until the edges begin to puff and the center is just the slightest bit jiggly. (Ramekins and pyrex cups will need a little less time.) The tart will continue to set up as it cools. Prepare the meringue topping.
3 egg whites
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl from a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar together over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl from over the simmering water. Set the bowl on a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes, then add the vanilla. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a leaf tip. Pipe the meringue over the tart and then brown the meringue with a kitchen torch. Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated.