Pumpkin Tart

I am a planner.  Perhaps I’ve mentioned that before? I like to know where I’m going and how I’m getting there before I embark on a journey…whether it be out in the world or in my kitchen.  So I hate it when I have a plan all nicely laid out and someone comes along and tells me that I should do something different.  Change, especially last minute change,  and I don’t see eye to eye.  So it is grudgingly that I let it into my world.

Now that we’ve established that I’m the kind of person that would rather eat glass than do something like change my menu at the last minute, I’m going to put on my hypocrite hat and say that while I’m sure you have a lovely dessert planned for Thanksgiving this week, you need to forget about that.  Because you absolutely need to make this pumpkin tart. I know that might sound like nails on a chalkboard to you (it would to me), but I would not suggest such a thing if it weren’t imperative that you become acquainted with this tart.

I’m not going to pretend that this tart is any less of a calorie bomb than its cousin, pumpkin pie.  It’s got butter, sugar, chocolate, creme fraiche, and egg; there’s nothing light about it.  The chocolate spice crust is a perfect complement to the custard filling that is silky and rich but avoids being heavy or overly sweet.

So why should you make a change this late in the game?  Because in addition to being a welcome change from pumpkin pie and being an outstanding dessert on its own merits, pumpkin tart is unexpected.  You can get a pumpkin pie anywhere.  Walk into any grocery store or kwikimart and you’ll  be bombarded with mass produced, industrial, pumpkin pies for sale.  As tasty as they are, they’re a dime a dozen.  While not any more complicated than a pumpkin pie, pumpkin tart just looks fancy.  And that little bit of fancy makes you feel special.

So this Thanksgiving, go for special.  Curse me all you want now as long as you are prepared to take every word back when you experience pumpkin tart.

Chocolate Tart Crust

Adapted from Martha Stewart

BAH Note: I have Sweet Mary to thank for introducing me to Pumpkin Tart.  She brought it to our Inspired Supper and I was so impressed by the tart that I finally pulled out the tart pan that has been sitting in the cabinet for over a year and made it myself.  Despite having the dough as cold as possible, I still found that it warmed up quickly resulting in sticking and tearing.  If that happens, put the dough back in the fridge for ten or fifteen minutes to firm back up before continuing.  A big hunk of dough ripped off as I was placing it in the pan so I just used my fingers to work the pieces back together.  After it’s filled, you can’t tell whether you rolled your dough perfectly or whether it fought you like a rebellious teenager.  So don’t sweat it.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and spices in the work bowl of your mixer. Using a box grater, quickly grate the butter into the flour mixture.  Using your hands, gently fold the butter into the flour mixture.  Place the bowl, along with the paddle attachment from your mixer, into the refrigerator (or freezer if you have the room) for 20 to 30 minutes.  Then mix on low for a few minutes until the mixtures resembles coarse meal and the butter is pea-sized. Add the egg and mix until everything just comes together to form a dough.  Shape the into a disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to a day, before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Brush off the excess flour. Transfer the dough to your 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and trim the edges. Use a fork to lightly prick all over the bottom of the dough. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake the shell until it is firm, about 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the bottom of the shell with the chopped chocolate and smooth with a spatula.

{printable recipe}

Pumpkin Tart Filling

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 8 oz creme fraiche
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, creme fraiche, and spices.  Taste for seasoning and add more spice as desired.  Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pass the mix through a fine sieve set over a clean bowl, discarding any solids. Pour the filing into the prepared chocolate crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the filling is set.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Use a fork or piping bag with a very narrow tip to drizzle the chocolate over the tart forming decorative stripes. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

{printable recipe}

36 thoughts on “Pumpkin Tart

  1. Curse you, Wendi. I knew this tart was coming but I do have other dessert plans, dammit! I am going to have like 5 desserts now I think… it’s like Sophie’s Choice here trying to eliminate one.

  2. Hah – every pie or tart dough I make I tend to fight like a rebellious teenager. I love that analogy. Now look.. how would you feel if I used chopped white chocolate in the dough instead of dark? I don’t necessarily love chocolate with my pumpkin. But for you, I’d be willing to give it a try. You’ve never steered me wrong before.

    1. If white chocolate is your thing, go for it. It doesn’t actually go in the crust itself. Just make sure you sprinkle it on top of the prebaked crust as soon as it comes out of the oven so it will melt completely and you can smooth it out over the top of the crust.

      Glad I’m not the only one that finds dough to be an ornery son of a gun.

  3. Wendi, this tart looks so lovely! I’m with Amber though in that I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin + chocolate, so I’m also interested to know if white chocolate would work!

    1. Tracy, there’s no reason not to use white chocolate if you like. It basically ends up a layer between the crust and the filling. But really? No love for pumpkin and chocolate? Inconceivable.

  4. i completely second the idea that this should be part of everybody’s thanksgiving spread.
    so glad it worked out for you. i’ve made it twice, once with the regular pie crust and 2nd time with shortbread crust. both pains to deal with but so good!

    1. MissMobtown, not be all prideful but I think one look at that photo should convince Mr. D that he needs to make this tart for your feast. At least I hope the photo has some persuasive powers.

        1. Miss Mobtown, I don’t really know how a handheld mixer would do in this instance. If you use it, maybe leave one of the beaters off so that it mixes quickly without squishing the ingredients. Alternately, if you have a favorite shortbread or pressed crust, substitute it. Actually, I think a chocolate graham cracker crust would be lovely. And if you “had” to, you could use a store bought one. You’d just have a little of the custard left over.

    1. Ali, The Universe works in mysterious ways. So glad this last minute post of mine was timed just right for you. I think in your hands the dough will be less hard headed then it was for me. Enjoy hon.

  5. Throwdown? I’m in…but I think we’re both winners. It’s evident we both have the same longing to make something traditional but with a more unique feel to it and that is always a win…at least for our guests, right?

    This might be perfect for me too because my traditional pie this week is…a cake. That’s right, a great holiday inspired cake but still, a cake. So I need the pie to be simple, traditional and unique. Voila…this is it!

    1. I couldn’t agree more that both of our desserts are winners. Like the idea of a holiday inspired cake and oddly enough have the same thing planned. Are we sharing a brain this week or what?

  6. Wendi, this does look delicious, but I think there would be a riot if I didn’t have a pumpkin cheesecake. And in the interest of being nice to my guests, I’m letting others bring dessert as well, so the cheesecake is the only dessert I’m doing. It’s taking a lot of strength for this Type A to let others bring dessert, so I can’t handle a last minute change!

    1. Beth, it’s a four day weekend so perhaps the tart could be your after Thanksgiving dessert? Or maybe it’s what you make for just you and Noel when you get home from the beach?

  7. This is a great alternative to the usual pumpkin desserts for the holidays. I have so many pumpkins and puree that I can make ALL of them, so I will have to try this recipe.

    1. That’s the spirit Bunkycooks. There will be multiple desserts on my table…which will likely result in me need to go looking for the not so skinny pants when all is said and done. What the heck was I thinking scheduling my yearly physical the week after Thanksgiving? Never again.

    1. Jen, while it may be too late for this to make it onto your Thanksgiving table, there’s always Christmas, and New Year’s. Not that you need a special occasion to make pumpkin tart…it’s just that there’s usually other people at the table to take on some of the calories.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, that tart did not last long. I had to quietly sneak that sliver away to have it for the photo. Pumpkin Cheesecake sounds fantastic. Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

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