Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie is like Christmas without cookies. I look forward to eating it every year but am always disappointed by what I make. I didn’t grow up eating pumpkin pie, so I distinctly remember the first time I had it. I fell in love with the creamy texture and buttery, shortbread crust. The pumpkin flavors were strong enough with just the right amount of sweetness.
I’ve found recipes that come close to those flavors, but this one is completely different. It’s deep and smoky with hints of caramel while the pumpkin tastes are subtle. It wasn’t quite what I imagined it to be, maybe I’m just a classic pumpkin pie person, but this didn’t make a great impression on me. However, if you’re looking for something different and if you like caramel, then this might be something for you.
I love tartlets but I admit they’re probably not efficient for Thanksgiving. With a million other things to worry about, pressing tart dough into little molds is not ideal. However, if you have a lot of help or a few extra hands, I bet these mini treats would be a hit!
Caramel Pumpkin Pie Tart
Adapted from Baking From My House to Yours
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk, broken
1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons rum, cognac, or apple cider OR 2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup canned, unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
In a food processor, pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt together. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles course sand. Slowly add the broken egg yolk. Pulse until the dough crumbles together. On a lightly floured surface, quickly knead dough until it comes together. Press dough into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, or several tartlet molds. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make filling, place ½ cup sugar into a skillet. Heat over medium high heat. Swirl to make sure the sugar browns evenly. The sugar will turn into a dark brown and then start to foam and smoke. Once the foam turns into larger bubbles add the cream and mix well. When it is well incorporated, add the butter and rum and combine. Transfer the caramel into a bowl and cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, whisk the pumpkin puree until smooth. Add ½ cup sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin pie spice, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk in the caramel and pour into the tart pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes if baking a large pan or 30 minutes if baking tartlets. When shaken, the filling should not move and when a knife is inserted, it should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature and chilled.
*I had some filling leftover, so I baked them in mini cupcake molds. I also added some almond streusel topping to add some crunch. Make the streusel by mixing 1 tablespoon almonds, chopped with 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cold butter. I think it would also taste good if the streusel topping was added to the tart!