Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

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It’s the recipes with the flavors of Autumn that I seem to like the best; I am a big fan of anything made with pumpkin. Now before you start screeching – I do not go gaga for pumpkin spice anything. It’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cheesecake that call to my heart. When I saw this recipe for Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart in Fine Cooking Magazine I knew I had to give it a try.

It was not a dessert that is made quickly, in fact I broke it out over two days but it was worth the time. I made the candied pumpkin seeds and the crust on the first day. Then I made the caramel, the filling and did the final baking on the second day.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Table of Contents

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Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart

For the pumpkin seeds

  • Cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 oz. (1/4 cup) raw hulled pumpkin seeds

For the crust

  • 6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • 6 Tbs. fine cornmeal
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the caramel

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

For the filling

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. canned pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
Candy the pumpkin seeds
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat it with cooking spray.
Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds, stir, and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Cool on a rack until crisp, about 5 minutes, and then break into small clusters. (The seeds can be prepared up to 24 hours ahead; keep in an airtight container at room temperature.)

Make the crust
Pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Combine the egg, egg yolk, and 1 Tbs. ice water in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, adding more water, 1 tsp. at a time, as needed, up to 2 Tbs. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help gather the dough into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle.

Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan without stretching it. Tear any high areas of the dough so that the height is about 1/2 inch below the rim of the pan; the edge should look ragged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork at 1-inch intervals, line it with aluminum foil, and fill to the top with dried beans, gently pressing them against the sides. Bake until the edges are firm, about 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the foil and beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake, rotating the pan once and popping any bubbles with a toothpick, just until the bottom is firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

Make the caramel
In a 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.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

This is what it looks like when it seizes. Don’t panic, it melts back in.

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, 7 to 9 minutes. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible again, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Pour 1/3 cup of the caramel over the bottom of the cooled crust and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the caramel. (Leave the remaining caramel at room temperature.)

Make the filling and bake

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Add the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until well combined. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the half-and-half.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Slowly pour the filling into the crust.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Bake until the filling has puffed slightly and its surface no longer appears wet, 35 to 40 minutes. (It’s OK if cracks form; they will be covered later.)

Cool on a rack until the filling is completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.

Finish, chill, and serve

If the remaining caramel is no longer pourable, warm it in a microwave in 20-second bursts, whisking between bursts, until pourable, about 80 seconds total. (Alternatively, reheat it gently over very low heat.)

Drizzle the remaining caramel over the custard and spread it evenly.

bourbon caramel pumpkin tart, pumpkin dessert, tart

Arrange the pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the tart and remove the side of the pan.

Transfer to a serving plate and serve chilled.

How Was the Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart?

To say this was a hit is in understatement.  I made this for the hubby to take into a meeting. He did manage to bring me a piece home. I was going to take a nice photo of it on a plate but I ate it. It was delicious. I will be making this again. My only complaint was that the crust was a little hard. I’m going to have to figure out why. I didn’t handle it too much – I know better than that. I might make it more like I do pie dough and not use the food processor.

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