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“You had me at bourbon” was the first comment I saw when I posted a picture of my Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart. Even I thought it was a spectacular dessert 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!

PIN Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart for later…

Bourbon Caramel Pumpkin Tart with candied sweet and salty pumpkin seeds.

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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 bourbon caramel sauce sounded good to me. 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. If you need a refresher you can do the same.

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.

Cooked Pastry Tart with Bourbon caramel sauce being poured on iton it
Cooked Gluten Free Pastry Tart -photo credit Jim Little

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.

Leftover 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!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart filling topped with bourbon caramel sauce.
Crustless Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce -photo credit Jim Little

Get The Tools – Pumpkin Tart

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.

Let me know in the comments below if you made this dessert and what you thought.


More Related Recipes

Ingredients

TART CRUST
1 – 9-inch tart crust, pre-baked (recipe link in description)
BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
½ tsp salt
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup bourbon
PUMPKIN FILLING
4 oz/113 g cream cheese, room temperature
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp salt
½ cup half and half
GARNISH - Candied Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds (recipe link in description)

Directions

1
BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
2
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.
3
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.
4
Whisk in bourbon and cook 1-2 minutes until you can again see the bottom of the pan as you whisk.
5
Transfer to 2-cup pyrex measuring cup. Set aside.
6
Pour ⅓ cup caramel sauce over prebaked tart crust, spread evenly with a spatula. Refrigerate tart 15 minutes for caramel to set.
7
PUMPKIN FILLING
8
In a stand mixer beat cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
9
Add egg and egg yolk beating until combined.
10
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, beat until combined.
11
Reduce speed to low and add half and half, beating until combined.
12
Slowly pour into tart crust leaving room for the caramel topping.*
13
Bake in 350F oven until filling is set and slightly puffed, 35-40 minutes.
14
Cool on wire rack until completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.
15
FINISHING and SERVING
16
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.
17
Arrange pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
18
Remove side of pan, carefully insert knife between bottom of tart and metal pan to loosen. Slide onto serving platter. Cut and serve.
19
*I poured the extra filling into ramekins and baked them in a water bath. Link in recipe description for more details.

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Ingredients

Directions

  • TART CRUST
  • 1 – 9-inch tart crust, pre-baked (recipe link in description)
  • BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • PUMPKIN FILLING
  • 4 oz/113 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ cup half and half
  • GARNISH - Candied Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds (recipe link in description)
  1. BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Whisk in bourbon and cook 1-2 minutes until you can again see the bottom of the pan as you whisk.
  5. Transfer to 2-cup pyrex measuring cup. Set aside.
  6. Pour ⅓ cup caramel sauce over prebaked tart crust, spread evenly with a spatula. Refrigerate tart 15 minutes for caramel to set.
  7. PUMPKIN FILLING
  8. In a stand mixer beat cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add egg and egg yolk beating until combined.
  10. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, beat until combined.
  11. Reduce speed to low and add half and half, beating until combined.
  12. Slowly pour into tart crust leaving room for the caramel topping.*
  13. Bake in 350F oven until filling is set and slightly puffed, 35-40 minutes.
  14. Cool on wire rack until completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.
  15. FINISHING and SERVING
  16. 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.
  17. Arrange pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  18. Remove side of pan, carefully insert knife between bottom of tart and metal pan to loosen. Slide onto serving platter. Cut and serve.
  19. *I poured the extra filling into ramekins and baked them in a water bath. Link in recipe description for more details.