When the blessing: “May it be that the evil of our verdicts be ripped,” is said on Rosh Hashanah in my family we bless the kodoo or Persian pumpkin jam because pumpkin is also known as kará, meaning “torn” in Hebrew. (Many of the Sephardi and Mizrahi foods for the holiday stem from a play on words.) The kodoo only makes an appearance on our table once a year. Perhaps this is why its flavor is always a pleasant surprise. The festive jam is bigger than the sum of its simple parts. Here, l I used the kodoo as the filling for a festive tart. While this tart looks unimpressive on the outside, once cut open, the depth of its layers, richness, and festivity are revealed.
It’s best to prepare the kudoo the day before baking the tart.
- For the kodoo:
- 1 lb / 500 grams pumpkin, coarsely grated using a grater or a food processor
- 1 cup / 200 grams sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- For the crust:
- 1 cup + 4 tablespoons / 180 grams all-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 110 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
- 6 tablespoons / 50 grams powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- For the nut cream:
- ¾ cups / 180 grams butter at room temperature
- ½ cup + 1 flat tablespoon / 110 grams sugar
- 4 eggs
- 5.5 ounces / 150 grams almonds, ground
- 3.5 ounces / 100 grams walnuts, ground
- 1.7 ounces / 50 grams peeled pistachios, ground
- 1.7 ounces / 50 grams salted cashews / peanuts, grounded
- Prepare the kodoo: Combine the grated pumpkin and sugar in a non-stick or cast iron pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a low heat and cook for 2½ hours, stirring the pot every 20 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the pumpkin is glossy. Add the lemon juice, mix lightly, and remove from the heat. Let cool. (If you prepare the kodoo in advance, store it tightly sealed in the refrigerator.)
- Prepare the crust: Place the flour, butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Using short, gentle pulses, process to a coarse meal. Add the yolk and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse just until the dough begins to clump together. If necessary, add more water. Avoid over-processing the dough or it will lose its crispness once baked. Form the dough into a ball, flatten slightly to a disc, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Grease the tart pan with butter. Roll out the dough to a circle or square ¼-inch / 5-mm thick and carefully place it in the greased pan, pressing it lightly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use excess pieces of dough to fix any holes. If using a larger pan, only line the bottom of the pan, omitting the sides.
- Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C degrees. Remove the pan from the freezer and prick the base all over with a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for 3 more minutes, until the dough is lightly golden and set. Remove and cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the nut cream: Beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, continuously whisking to a smooth creamy mixture. Gently fold the ground nuts. If the cream is too runny, gradually fold in more ground nuts. (If this is ready before the dough is finished baking, store it in the refrigerator).
- Spread an even layer of the kodoo over the tart crust and pour the nut cream on top. Bake until the surface of the tart is golden and is springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Cool.
- To serve: Cut the tart into slices or squares or slivers, and serve with tea.