Sliding into Autumn...now we're cooking.

It’s November 4th….which means if you have a sweet tooth like me, then you have already polished off all traces of Halloween candy in fun sized packages. I never have understood the power people possess, who are able to make it last until Christmas or even longer. Strange. But now, with All Hallow’s Eve under our belt, the holiday season is officially kicking off. Bloomingdale’s has had their glittery Christmas trees on display for a couple of weeks now and Union Square will be decked out in no time, no doubt.

With all of this holiday fuss underway, I am sitting in a Boulange, channeling Thanksgiving with a slice of pumpkin crème fraîche tart, appreciating the little autumn chill that crept in this morning after a string of sunny San Francisco days of Indian summer. Although we are French, we absolutely feel thankful each year that we are here in San Francisco and relish making a few traditional items for the holiday table, with our personal embellishments, of course. They are all available for the tasting now, and if you are like me, life seems to spiral into busier and busier days as the holidays approach. My secret? Order early.

Pumpkin and Crème Fraîche Tart
(makes one 9 inch tart)

1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) solid pack pumpkin puree
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 extra large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 chilled, unbaked deep 9-inch tart shell
¼ cup crème fraîche for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Add the eggs, then whisk in the heavy cream until well combined. Pour the filling into the chilled tart shell. Dollop on the crème fraîche and , using a knife, swirl into an attractive design on top of the pumpkin filling.
2. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. The tart is best at room temperature the day it is baked, but it can be kept, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.