Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Tassies

   Promise, promise, promise that this is absolutely the last pumpkin recipe for the season!  Tassies are basically just mini pies.  We make pecan tassies (recipe  tomorrow....) every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They are really yummy and surprisingly easy to make!  For the Angel Tree Hafla, I decided to mix it up a bit and in addition to (our) traditional pecan tassies, I made pumpkin tassies.  I figured anyone can follow the basic pumpkin pie recipe on the back of a can of Libby's pumpkin (which is an amazing recipe, by the way:  classic, simple, delicious.)  Something needed to be different about this pumpkin filling.  Browsing through my extensive spice collection, which is literally stashed in 3 different places around the house, I dug up some cardamom.  This filling also makes a great regular sized pumpkin pie, just double the filling recipe.
   Cardamom is in the family of "sweet" spices like cinnamon, clove, and ginger.  It is native to India, so obviously, used a lot in Indian cooking.  Also, many Moroccan, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian dishes feature the spice.  It has a very floral perfume (and is actually used as a component in a lot of perfumes:  Prada's signature scent, anyone?)  They flavor is lemony with hints of peppercorn.  It pairs well with seafood and mild poultry, but is often combined with numerous other spices in savory preparations.  Desserts more commonly feature the spice on its own.
Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Tassies
1 C butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 C flour
1 C pumpkin puree (1/2 can)
3/4 C evaporated milk (1/2 can)
1 egg
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

   Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add flour.  Gently mix until dough comes together.  You do not want to over work it because it will get tough.  Knead a couple times (in the bowl) to make sure dough is smooth and even.  Refrigerate for 30 min-1 hr.
   Combine all filling ingredients.
   Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place in ungreased mini muffin pan (or tassie pan, if you have one laying around.....) Use the knobby thing below to press dough into the pan.  Flour between each use.  (I don't know exactly what it is, we only use it for tassies!  It may have been created for this specific purpose.)  Or use floured fingers to press dough into bottom and up the sides.  Fill 3/4 with filling.
   Bake 350 deg F for ~30 minutes, until dough is lightly golden around the edges.  (If you are using a darker pan, check after 25 min.)
   Makes ~4 dozen

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