Roasted butternut squash forms the base for this delicious savory dessert that’s topped with pomegranate simple syrup!
In early November I was out in Ashland, Oregon visiting my parents, who also love food and wine. Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which draws nearly 400,000 people to this rather small Southern Oregon town each summer. With a lot of visitors come a lot of restaurants, so for a town of 20,000 people there are a lot of fantastic spots to choose from.
The inspiration for this tart comes from a restaurant in town called Amuse. We went there for dinner on the last night of my trip and even though it is not one of “hotter” spots in town the food is always fantastic!
So when you looked at the category for this recipe were you thinking butternut squash for dessert?? Well, yes! It’s kind of like pumpkin but perhaps even a little more savory. I loved it when I had it that day in November which inspired me to come home and create something that I could share with all of you.
Earlier in the fall I’d also been approached by a company called Sonoma Syrup about trying out some of their infused simple syrups. One of the samples they sent me was a pomegranate simple syrup, which I thought would be the perfect balance of slightly sweet with this savory tart.
notes from the kitchen
- I get pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe’s. Since they are already out of the fruit it makes it much easier than removing them yourself. I’ve seen them at other stores as well, so check your local store to see if they have them this way.
- You can use frozen butternut squash for this recipe, however it may need to roast for a bit longer. If you don’t want to take the time to cube fresh squash many grocery stores also sell it already peeled and cubed. I often peel and cube one or two squash at the beginning of the week so I have it ready to roast anytime.
- For desserts I put a little bit of sugar in my pie crust, however if you are trying to cut down on sugar you can leave it out since there is also a bit of sugar in the tart filling.
- You can use 1/3 less fat or full-fat cream cheese in this recipe. I don’t recommend fat-free as the tart won’t have the same consistency.
things may want for this recipe
Sonoma Syrup Pomegranate Syrup – This slightly sweet syrup made the perfect topping for this savory dessert. It can also be used in drinks, on roasted veggies for even in a salad dressing.
Mini Tart Pan – This little tart dishes are great for individual servings of desserts or other tarts. I have four of them, which should be more than enough for most kitchens.
Food Processor – My food processor is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools. I use it at least one a week. If you have a Cuisinart Food processor and you haven’t already done so, be sure to check their website to see if it’s part of the recall for issues with the blades. They will send you a new blade free of charge if yours is part of the recall.
- 1 1/4 cup cubed butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 oz butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 oz cold water
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup pomegranate simple syrup
- 1/4 pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Add the squash and oil to a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet with sides and roast for 30 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the tart crust by placing the flour salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until a small, pea-like meal forms. With the motor running, slowly add the water. Continue to process just until a ball forms.
Turn the dough ball out onto a surface lightly coated with flour and roll to approximately 1/4" thick. Coat 2 mini tart pans with cooking spray. Cut dough in half (depending on how you rolled, you may have to take up the scraps and re-roll for the 2nd tart). Press the dough into each tart pan, being sure to come all the way up the sides. Piece the bottom with a fork a few times or use pie weights to keep the dough from puffing.
When the squash is done remove it from the oven and bake the tarts (dough only) for 15 minutes.
While the tart shells are cooking add the squash to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Pulse for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
Add the cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt. Process until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pre-baked tart shells from the oven and divide the butternut squash mixture between the two of them. Return them to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
When the tarts are done baking remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly. Carefully remove the tarts from the pans. Top with simple syrup and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
Product samples provided by Sonoma Syrup. Thoughts and opinions are my own.