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Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

Kate Sears

Servings: 8 to 10

From its dramatic straight sides to its bourbon-spiked caramel and crunchy pepita toppings, this gorgeous tart makes plain pumpkin pie pale in comparison. The recipe’s length may make it look daunting, but its various elements can be made in stages.


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

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 270
  • Fat (g): 30
  • Saturated Fat (g): 17
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 155
  • Sodium (mg): 210
  • Carbohydrates (g): 42
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 7


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.
  • 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. 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. 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. Slowly pour the filling into the crust. 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. 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.


Rate or Review

Reviews (37 reviews)

  • FoodmyLovely | 01/03/2021

    I was looking for something a little fancier than plain old pumpkin pie... This ended up cloyingly sweet to me and the caramel, while good, obliterated the pumpkin flavor of the pie. Disappointed.

  • User avater
    MikeMc238 | 12/02/2019

    Great dessert!! I took previous reviews into account and made with a gingersnap crust and used dark brown sugar for the glaze - came out awesome. Glaze does take much longer to reduce and thicken, but worth the effort.

  • User avater
    user-2325456 | 11/16/2018

    I have made this for my husband each Thanksgiving since this issue came out. I am not a pumpkin pie fan but this one is over the top!! It's over and above a "10"!!!!! I make it a two day event and is totally worth it!

  • ToulaT | 10/28/2018

    Followed recipe exactly and it was wonderful.

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