This autumn pumpkin tart is a sleek take on pumpkin pie and perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and your holiday table. So after I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t a big fan of pumpkin in general, yes I went and made something with pumpkin. Isabelle is very into Halloween this year, so with all the trick-or-treating plans and pumpkin hunting at the pumpkin patch, I figured I should get in the mood baking-wise as well. It ended up being a fun exercise in doing pumpkin pie my way – as a tart, of course!
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This pumpkin tart is adapted from one of my go-to cookbooks, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. It’s got everything you’d want in your pumpkin pie filling, from brown sugar to rum to a generous sprinkling of spices, and the sour cream gives it that extra bit of smoothness and richness. The crust is really my favorite part: a classic buttery-tender pâte sablée enriched with hazelnuts to make it extra nutty and fragrant. No rolling required for this dough, so it’s even less stressful than making a pie; you simply press the dough in the tin, chill, and bake for a crust ready to be filled. I like the richer tart crusts for fall and winter, but if you don’t have hazelnuts or don’t want to include them, you can substitute the half cup of all-purpose flour back into the recipe.
As a tart fan, I like the ratio of filling to tart crust, but if you are a die-hard pumpkin pie lover this filling will also work in a pie crust. The amount of filling made actually is a bit more than is needed for the tart, so it should work well for a pie crust. Or, save the filling and make a mini tartlet if you also have some tart dough left over!
There’s apparently a bit of debate over whether pumpkin pie is best at room temperature or chilled. I will confess I haven’t had enough pumpkin pie to make a definitive decision, but for this tart at least, I was very taken with it when it had cooled down to room temperature, with perhaps just a smidge of warmth left. The texture of the filling is so silky and mousse-like, and you can taste all the brown sugar and spices coming through. Not shown but perhaps not-optional: a healthy dollop of whipped cream on the side. Between the toasting nuts and baking spices, it finally smelled like autumn in our house this weekend!
- ½ cup (70 g) skinned hazelnuts
- ½ cup (55 g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons (128 g) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup (240 g) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup (178 g) heavy cream
- ⅛ cup (38 g) sour cream
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch cloves
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1½ teaspoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine hazelnuts and confectioners' sugar in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground and combined with the sugar.
- Add in the flour and salt and process to fully combine.
- Add in butter and process in quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs - it should not be fully combined into a ball.
- Add in the egg yolk and process in quick pulses just until the dough starts to form larger clumps. Again don't let it fully combine into a solid ball of dough. If the dough holds together when you press some small pieces together, it's done.
- Butter a 9" round tart tin with removable bottom.
- Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart tin. You may have some dough left over.
- Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and press it down over the crust.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until crust is dry and lightly browned. If the crust has puffed up, press it down with a spoon or dough tamper.
- Let crust cool on cooling rack while you assemble the filling.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper and place the tart shell on it.
- Combine all the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until combined and very smooth.
- Rap the processor bowl against a work surface to get rid of any bubbles, and pour filling into the tart shell. You will have some filling left over - save these for mini tarts!
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the center is set - it should jiggle only slightly if you tap the pan.
- Remove from oven and let cool on rack to room temperature.