Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

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I couldn't share the basics of the sweet tart dough without sharing a delicious seasonal tart for the holiday table.  So in lieu of a Sunday dinner menu post, I am going to share the tart that we enjoyed last Sunday. And boy did we ever enjoy it.

The recipe called for a different crust baked in a spring-form pan.  It seemed rather cumbersome in my opinion, so I went with my gold standard.  The recipe also called for candied pumpkin seeds, but I fancy the flavor combo of pumpkin and walnut.  Pecans would be a nice alternative too.  The tart is pre-baked and then a thin layer of caramel is spread over the bottom of the crust.  The sweet pumpkin filling is poured and then baked until set.  Once cooled, the remaining caramel is spread evenly over the top creating three dreamy layers of sweet bliss.  Sprinkle the edges with the candied nuts and, well--move over pumpkin pie.  You are still really good, but there's a new dessert in town!

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart
serves 8-10

1 recipe Sweet Tart Dough, pre-baked 

For the Candied Walnuts
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Caramel
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons (1-ounce) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg
1 extra large egg yolk
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Candied Walnuts
Preheat the oven to  350º F.

In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, corn syrup, sugar, and salt.  Spread in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Cool on a rack until crisp, about 5 minutes, and break into small clusters.  (The nuts can be prepared up to 24 hours ahead; keep in an airtight container at room temperature.)

For the Caramel
In a heavy-bottom 2-quart saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts and begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the cream (some sugar will seize) and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick enough that the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible, about 7-9 minutes.  Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible again, about 1-2 minutes more.  Stir in the vanilla.  Transfer the caramel to a heat proof measuring cup.  Pour 1/3 cup of the caramel over the bottom of the cooled crust, spreading evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the caramel.  (Leave the remaining caramel at room temperature.)

For the Filling
Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and yolk, beating until well combined.  Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the half-and-half and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until well combined.  Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the filling has puffed slightly and its surface no longer appears wet, about 35-40 minutes.  Cool on a rack until the filling is completely cooled and firm, at least 1 hour.

If the remaining caramel is no longer pourable, warm it in the microwave in 20-second bursts, until pourable.  Drizzle the remaining caramel over the custard gently spreading evenly.  Arrange the candied walnuts around the edge of the tart and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve chilled.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking, Oct/Nov 2013


  1. I like that this tart isn't too thick - it looks totally perfect!

  2. The flavors layered into this pie sound absolutely phenomenal, and I love the addition of the boozy caramel sandwiching the pumpkin filling. I'll take a slice now please! :)

  3. This looks AMAZING! Thank you for posting this recipe!

  4. I see you added extra-large eggs instead of large eggs used in the original. Is that for a richer tart or just what you had on hand? I will make a special trip to the store!

    1. You can use large eggs, but I prefer extra large when baking and cooking. In my opinion, you get more for the dollar;)


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