“You had me at bourbon” was the first comment I saw when I posted a picture of my Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart. I thought it was a spectacular presentation but the bourbon really got peoples attention.
When it was decided my sister was cooking turkey for Thanksgiving and I was doing dessert, I set out to make a show-stopping pumpkin dessert. In the end it was this Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart garnished with Candied Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds, served with Pumpkin Ice Cream on the side for a full pumpkin experience!
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Tart Pastry For Pumpkin Tart
I found a gluten free tart crust recipe I was happy with soon after I started on this gluten free journey. I make it a few tarts each year but never went back to see if it could be improved. For this dessert I took the time to do just that and have posted the new recipe called Tart Pastry 2.0. I consider it an improvement so I renamed the original recipe to Tart Crust 1.0.
Is Bourbon Gluten Free?
My sister and her husband are bourbon drinkers so I knew they'd love a dessert with bourbon caramel sauce. I don’t drink bourbon (give me wine anytime) so I needed a refresher on the distillation process to confirm it was gluten free. I went to The Canadian Celiac Association website and reread this document, Alcohol Labelling in Canada. Bourbon is gluten free.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
There are a few tricks for making caramel sauce, especially if you're starting with just sugar. This recipe is easier with butter and sugar melted together from the start. Whisk and follow the instructions. What would you put in it instead of bourbon? Could you just skip the alcohol? The answer is always give it a try and see what happens.
Organize For Success
If you want to make a fancy dessert there are obviously a few steps to it. That doesn’t mean it’s difficult and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. In my mind it’s more about the planning than the actual doing so here’s how I look at the steps.
- 1-2 days before serving: Make and pre bake tart crust, make pumpkin seed garnish.
- Day before or morning of serving: Make Bourbon Caramel Sauce then filling. Cook and finish the tart.
How To Use Leftover Cheesecake Filling
I had a little too much filling so poured it into a few ramekins and baked them in a water bath. You can find specific instructions to do that in this post for Pumpkin Creme Brulee. Of course you can skip the pastry and just do this. It's more cheesecake than mousse so I might call it Crustless Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce, who wouldn't want that!
Get The Tools
If you want to make fancy desserts you’ve got to get the pans. Tart pans have a removable bottom and they come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few examples of my pans and how I use them.
- A 9-inch round tart tin for a typical size dessert tart that would fit on most normal serving platters. That’s the size that is pictured here.
- The big 12-inch tart tin for a large fruit tart to feed a crowd. I also use it to make my Fruit Pizza and Cookie Pizza.
- My long, narrow rectangular tart pan is nice for a different presentation.
- 3-inch or 4-inch size individual tart tins are fancy to make a tray of small tarts or to use up the last bits of pastry when you’re making something else.
- A 9-inch square pan with removable bottom is ideal for squares. I used it to assemble my Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake and sometimes to make a square Cookie Pizza.
Let me know in the comments below if you made this dessert and what you thought.
More Related Recipes
Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart
- 9-inch gluten free tart crust, pre-baked
BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (113 grams)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 14 tablespoon canned pumpkin puree (1 cup less 2 Tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup half and half
- candied sweet & salty pumpkin seeds (see notes for link to this recipe)
BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
- In medium saucepan cook brown sugar, butter and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until the sauce begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in cream and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan as you whisk, 8-10 minutes.
- Whisk in bourbon and cook 1-2 minutes until you can again see the bottom of the pan as you whisk.
- Transfer to 2-cup pyrex measuring cup. Set aside.
- Pour ⅓ cup caramel sauce over prebaked tart crust, spread evenly with a spatula. Refrigerate tart 15 minutes for caramel to set.
- In a stand mixer beat cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg and egg yolk beating until combined.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, beat until combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add half and half, beating until combined.
- Slowly pour into tart crust leaving room for the caramel topping. You will have more filling than you need.*
- Bake in 350°F oven until filling is set and slightly puffed, 35-40 minutes.
- Cool on wire rack until completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.
FINISHING and SERVING
- Stir caramel sauce and carefully reheat in microwave if not pourable (heat 30 seconds at a time, stirring, repeat if needed). Gently pour caramel over custard and spread evenly over tart.
- Arrange pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove side of pan, carefully insert knife between bottom of tart and metal pan to loosen. Slide onto serving platter. Cut and serve.
- Garnish with Candied Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds if desired.