Shrimp & Toasted Pumpkinseed Tart

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Preparation info

  • Makes one 10- or 11 inch 25- or 28 cm ) tart, about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This recipe is based on the famous Mexican sauce pipian verde, made from toasted pumpkinseeds, chiles, and sour cream. I learned about it from my friend chef Roberto Santibañez, former culinary director of the Rosa Mexicano restaurant group. Pipianes (the plural) are a fascinating category of Mexican sauces, used frequently in Mexico, but not as well known in the United States, as mole sauces. This one uses fairly hot serrano chiles to flavor it. If you seed them as in this recipe, you’ll get flavor and very mild heat. If you want the filling more spicy, leave half the chiles whole after removing their stems.


Cornmeal Pastry Dough

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • ¾ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 large egg


  • ¾ pound (350 grams) medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and each cut into 4 to 5 pieces, shells reserved
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hulled raw pumpkinseeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 2 to 4 fresh serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with removable bottom


  1. For the dough, place the dry ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse to mix in finely. Add the egg and pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball, about ten 1-second pulses. Form the dough into a disk and flour the dough and the work surface.
  2. Roll the dough out to fit the pan, following the instructions for Rich Pie Dough. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.
  3. Set the shrimp aside in the refrigerator. Combine the shrimp shells, water, and salt in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Strain away and discard the shells. Reserve the liquid.
  4. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Lightly toast the pumpkinseeds in a sauté pan until they are just slightly golden. Do not let them turn brown. Pour the pumpkinseeds into the blender jar and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the same pan. When it is melted and foamy, add the shrimp. Toss or stir once, then sprinkle the cumin all over the shrimp. Sauté the shrimp until they firm up and turn pink, no more than 1 minute. Scrape the shrimp onto a plate or bowl.
  6. Add the reduced shrimp liquid, oregano, cloves, cilantro, chiles, and onion to the pumpkinseeds in the blender jar. Purée until smooth.
  7. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and stir in the pumpkinseed mixture. Cook, stirring, until heated through, then whisk in the sour cream. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shrimp. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir the shrimp mixture into the beaten eggs. Pour the filling into the tart shell.
  8. Bake the tart until the dough is baked through and the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.


If you don’t serve the tart straight out of the oven, serve it within an hour or two of baking. It’s perfect served as wedges with drinks before dinner. Or add a salad and a fruit dessert for a light meal.


Keep at room temperature for no more than one or two hours. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


You may also use a crust made from No-Roll Flaky Dough in place of the cornmeal crust provided here.