Sunday, December 5, 2010

A tart (and my first CSN giveaway!)



First, the good stuff…a giveaway! CSN Stores is sponsoring a $35 gift certificate giveaway for one of my readers. If you haven’t checked out the CSN sites, you should. They have everything you can think of, from cookware to briefcases. With Christmas around the corner, I’m sure we could all make use of this gift card. (See the end of this post for the rules.)

Now, some moaning and groaning…it’s been a long week. We’re both still battling our marathon colds. Andy’s has morphed into bronchitis with a side trip to the emergency room for an extremely swollen face. I came home from work and went straight to bed almost every day last week. Hence, no new posts. I am amazed at all of you out there that with kids and jobs and colds who still manage to post great recipes with fantastic photos almost daily. I’ve had no energy for any of it.  

The only notable thing we’ve done is to get our Christmas tree up. The house is decorated, and so is the dog. Meet Febby:


He’s our longhaired miniature dachshund and you can’t see it, but his shirt says, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Yes, I am one of those people that put shirts on my dog. He has worn many ridiculous outfits, including the requisite hot dog costume. You can’t have a dachshund and not put him in a hot dog costume. As you can see, he also loves pillows and actually uses them like a person. But enough about silly dogs in clothes…

Today was the first time since Thanksgiving that I’ve actually felt like cooking. My uncle brought me a couple of homegrown acorn squash on Thanksgiving and they’ve been sitting on the counter ever since. Every time I saw them, I wondered what to do with them. Since I’ve never tasted acorn squash, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.


When I cut it open, (which was a bit of a wrestling match complete with three different knives), I expected it to taste the way it smelled: like pumpkin. But after roasting, I was pleased to find that it has a very nutty flavor, not at all like pumpkin and more like butternut squash. I decided on a savory tart with classic squash-loving flavors: brown butter and sage.


Acorn Squash, Brown Butter and Sage Tarts

Makes 4 mini tarts or 1 large tart

2 pie crusts (for 4 mini tarts) or 1 pie crust (for a large tart)
1 acorn squash
olive oil
3 tablespoons brown butter, divided use
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
3 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

sage and thyme roasted seeds, for garnish (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie dough into tart pans and press firmly in. Prick sides and bottoms with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Turn oven down to 375 degrees to roast the squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds, then coat the flesh side with a little olive oil and place flesh side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes until tender.

Remove squash from oven and when cool enough to handle, scoop flesh out with a spoon (yield should be 2 cups). Put squash, 2 tablespoons brown butter, mascarpone, parmesan, cream, eggs, sage, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until well-blended and smooth.

Spread the filling into baked pie shells, enough to be level with top of crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until filling is set. Remove tarts from oven, and when ready to serve, brush with remaining tablespoon of brown butter and garnish with roasted seeds.

(To roast the seeds, rinse and dry them, then toss with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, ground sage and dried thyme. Roast at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully…they burn quickly.)


For my first acorn squash dish, I’m very pleased with the way these little tarts turned out. Even Andy (who is not the world’s biggest squash fan), liked them a lot. The squash and the brown butter combine nicely for a very nutty flavor and a hint of sage comes through as you finish the bite.

One tiny problem: they were a little bit dry. I will say it again: I am not a baker (as you can tell from my use of pre-made pie crust.) So to those of you who understand the science of baking, what do I change or add to make the filling a little bit more moist without changing the flavor? Another egg, more cream, more butter? Help!

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Here are the rules of the giveaway:

Follow my blog and leave me a comment by 10 PM (PST) on 12/9/10. That’s easy, right? Only one rule. Oh, and you must be a US or Canada resident. (Okay…two rules.)
I’ll pick a number randomly on Friday, 12/10 and contact the winner. Good luck!

80 comments:

  1. Oh no!! Hope you feel better!!! Love the doggie shirt, so cute!

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  2. Thanks for adding me on Foodbuzz! The butterscotch martini a few posts down looks AWE. SOME.

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  3. Hope you're feeling better soon! I already follow you..

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  4. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog!
    Wow this looks delicious! Sage is one of my favorite herb especially during winter. Hope you feel better soon!

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  5. i love love acorn squash and the tart looks amazing, thanks for sharing. you can post a link to your tart on Andreea's blog, she was looking for some acorn recipes http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com/2010/12/acorn-squash-recipes-roundup.html
    hope you'll have a wonderful week

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  6. I follow you and love your photos - makes the stories come to life. Thank you.

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  7. What a great idea! I've never thought of making a savory squash tart. I'll definitely put this recipe on my list of things to make!

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  8. Those tarts look mighty yummy! Gorgeous photo of the sage, by the way!

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  9. I'll play! A gift certificate sounds mighty nice. And those tarts don't look too shabby either =)

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  10. Glad you're getting better, and sorry to hear about the emergency room trip =( I guess I'm not much of a baker either b/c looking at your ingredients I can't seem to figure that they would inspire a dry filling. The only thing is that the quantities are very small all around. Sometimes I like to give tart fillings moistness by adding a vegetable that retains a lot of water. You could try to add some spinach b/c it's virtually tasteless but packs some water especially if you pan fry it first with garlic and butter.

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  11. A perfect started to any meal this looks awesome!

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  12. ummmm those tarts looks so amazing! Acorn squash is so delicious and healthy :)

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  13. Acorn Squash is one of my Fall favorites. Being in the Midwest, we have them all during the fall.
    I usually just cut them in half, and bake them with brown sugar and butter, Yum. Your tarts look good, though.

    Here's a tip to cutting them.Put the whole squash in the microwave for 4-5 min, just to soften it, and then it cuts very easily:)

    Hope that you're feeling better!

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  14. I need to put a tart pan on my Christmas list!! I love tarts and quiche but would love to make them in the appropriate pan :) Looks delish!

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  15. I've never bought acorn squash because I didn't know what to do with them. Now I will--I'll eat just about anything in tart form!

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  16. The photos of the tarts look so delicious! The pumpkin seeds on top make me giddy. I've only had acorn squash stuffed with cinnamon apples and I am happy to have another idea for a later date. Here's to hoping you both start to feel back to tip top shape in no time!

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  17. Febby is adorable!!! The tarts look delicious! I love acorn squash!

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  18. ok, where do I start with this?
    The tart looks beautiful. Another bookmarked.
    I dress up my dogs (yorkshire terriers)
    They use pillows like people
    I don't have a cold nor kids (do have a job) and still didn't have time to post this week.

    :-)

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  19. Beautiful Tart! I love the creamy yellow of acorn squash. Not being a fan of pumpkin, I'm always looking for interesting tasty winter squash. Looks de-Lish!

    Toby

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  20. These look great, I've been wanting to do a ravioli like this but the tarts look much easier.

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  21. Karen - looks really yummy! Love all the components! Put them in a tart and I'm in Heaven!

    -V

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  22. Hi Karen, the tarts look so yummy. I love acorn squash and sage goes so well with it.

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  23. This is a delicious recipe and all, but I have to say, I am completely freaking out over your dog. Did you know I have two Dachshunds?!? They are the BEST DOGS EVER! My male, Arthur, is kind of chubby and has a t-shirt that says "Santa's Little Helper." I will have to post it sometime! Love your little Febby! :)

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  24. I wondered when Febby would make an appearance on your blog :) The tarts look delicious - I love that squash/sage combination.

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  25. These tarts look so beautiful and elegant!

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  26. This Tart does not look dry at all!! It looks absolutely beautiful.. I am sure it tastes delicious as well...P.S. It’s good to see you back!! Your Febby is so cute with that outfit:)

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  27. I don't know what would make the tart filling dry except maybe the proportion of milk to eggs -?? They look beautiful and I bet tasted great. I love acorn squash but have only baked it and added butter and brown sugar.

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  28. I just became your newest follower. I'm definitely glad I found your giveaway and that tart looks delicious. By the way, I'm also holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2010/12/orglamix-organic-mineral-makeup-review.html

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  29. I'm a gfc follower.

    hewella1 at gmail dot com

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  30. Lovely! Thanks for the chance.

    I follow on gfc

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  31. The tarts look great!
    And your dog looks very cute... I don't dress up my dog (would be kinda hard with a 75 lbs Golden) but I let him use the pillows as he pleases :)

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  32. This is one of my all time favorite flavor combos for squash. It's awesome that you combined them in a tart. Good stuff!

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  33. Acorn squash is one of my favorites. I never would have thought of making a tart with it!

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  34. The tart looms great, but...ummm... What is brown butter and where do I get it? Sorry if this is a stupid question.... Thanks!

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  35. Karen, thanks for the reply about the brown butter on my blog. That link was very helpful.

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  36. Hope you and your family are getting better now. Me too have no engery to update post and do blog visiting, so tire everyday after work. The tart looks delicious, can I have a slice :)

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  37. Get well soon! Yeah, it's the time of the year where everyone gets sick... Love your pictures! My almost-4-year-old said "preeeetty" when he saw the tart!

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  38. Thanks for the chance! I follow via gfc as DG. This looks delicious btw :)

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

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  39. the tarts look delicious, karen! and your dog's cute too (we have two ourselves)

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  40. Love the colorful tart out there. Looks perfect.

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  41. Oh my, you've had quite a run of illness there. Hope you are truly on the mend now. I love the idea of sage in this tart, I bet it complements the other flavours perfectly.

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  42. First...the tart looks and sounds wonderful!
    Second..I love the picture of the dogs!
    Third...I am a follower! Great giveaway...thanks for hosting!

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  43. This looks great! And Daschunds are supposed to wear people clothes, aren't they??

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  44. I am following you and I think your babies and your dog are very cute!
    Thanks so much for the easy to enter giveaway!
    jacksoncrisman@yahoo.com

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  45. I'm a new follower.. That tart looks delicious!!
    dgoodridge84@yahoo.com

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  46. Thanks for adding me on FoodBuzz. What a yummy looking tarts- so rich and decadent, but I kind realy liked the Pasty recipe (for one reason only, cause it's more my family's taste buds friendly)^_^

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  47. I have to try this recipe! Sweet and savory and totally tempting in this cold weather! It's on my short list of new recipes to try :)

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  48. Febby is so cute! He looks so snuggly. Hope that you guys start to feel better soon. These tarts are beautiful--and from home grown acorn squash! Lovely.

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  49. I sure hope you feel better soon! Your tarts are lovely- I love winter squash. :)

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  50. What a sweet little dog! I bet he is a joy to be around. Oh and I bet the tart is yummy, too!
    Kathleen

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  51. I love Febby! I have two short haired doxies myself. They love playing dress up. That is one pretty tart you made!

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  52. I follow with google friends.


    tahearn at roadrunner dot com

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  53. Great looking tart! Would love to try it! Love squash at my house!

    Your pup is so cute, love the dress up :) Good sport! Hope you both feel better!

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  54. How cute is Febby! Gorgeous tart. Love the flavors! I am now following your blog:)

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  55. funny dog- made me smile!
    shenais
    divertida at fastmail dot fm

    i gfc follow you too.

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  56. I am one of those people too. I put shirts on my dapple dachshund, Chelsea, and my poodle, Annie. Those tarts look delicious. I was thinking to myself I wonder if you could roast up squash seeds like pumpkin seeds. Apparently you can and they will look fantastic.

    I am following your blog.Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

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  57. Your tart looks delicious! I have never used acorn squash before, but it looks great, thanks! Love the dog shirt, I can't get mine to wear anything without eating it!

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  58. Hehe! Love your dog! I'm one of those crazy people that puts shirts on our dogs too, so don't worry (although Andy feels sorry for the poor guys and takes them off right away!) Hope you feel better soon!

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  59. These are so cute! I love squash -- and I have no suggestions for baking, except, maybe more butter? YUM.! And I am entering your giveaway - how exciting (I follow you!) :)

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  60. Cool Looking Blog. Thanks for the giveaway. I like the Utensils in your BackGround!
    - Daddy Rich
    daddyrichispoor@gmail.com

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  61. So sorry about your hubby's emergency trip, and your ongoing cold. I understand what you mean about not having energy when you're sick like that.
    Febby is adorable, looks so comfy-cozy, hangin' out with his cute sweater.
    Love your mini acorn squash, and the fresh sage must really give it such a good flavor.
    Karen-I've been a follower of your blog now, since day 1, practically. Love to keep up with your latest post, stories, and recipes!
    Wishing all of you, the best!

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  62. those tarts are adorable! i'm a follower :)

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  63. Febby is such a cutie! Your tarts look amazing. The seeds on top are a nice touch! I'm going to give this a whirl this weekend.

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  64. Sorry you have not been feeling well...hope it is passing quickly.
    These tarts are gorgeous and I can't keep my eyes of of them :) Love your photos too, and the one of the sage is really stunning!

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  65. P.S. Sorry, and congrats on your first giveaway :)

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  66. Your dog is ADORABLE. So cute! This recipe sounds like a great thing to enjoy on these cold nights. Acorn squash is a fave of mine.

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  67. How DID I MISS this post?! You guys are ahead of us with the decorating stuff! People sick here too!

    Not sure what's cuter here, your tart or your dog! :)

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  68. I barely made it in! But this would be a great giveaway to win.
    fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

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  69. Those look tasty!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

    eemoody77 at gmail dot com

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  70. I'm a follower, and I'm from Canada, and I'm leaving this comment!

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  71. I follow you on GFC! Those tarts look yummy :)

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  72. I'm a new follower on GFC! Thanks for the chance and the recipe :)
    adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

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  73. Ahhh I'm sorry to hear all of you are so sick! That stinks.

    These tarts are my kind of deal for sure. All of that winter squash goodness!

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  74. I don't have tart pans but if I did, I'd be trying this recipe first! YUM!

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  75. Dear Karen
    How are you? I was away
    I like this tart..but cant make it here.
    Have a nice weekend

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  76. lovely giveaway and tarts look fabulous
    do check out my site for a contest giveaway and event giveaway
    regards
    http://torviewtoronto.blogspot.com

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  77. mmm, i love the combination of sage and butternut squash. what a lovely idea to make it into a tart! delicious!:)

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  78. This looks way too good! I can only agree with everyone else...the combination of sage/pumpkin sounds fabulous

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  79. I love the addition of the roasted seeds on top, but mor than that I love that picture of your precious dachshund!
    Stop by my blog. There is a prize waiting for you. Come and pick it up!

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