Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

fine cooking

Cover Recipe- Fine Cooking
, Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart: November/December 2013

Standing in the grocery line is one of the highlights of my week. (Or many of the highlights of my week depending on how many items I forget the first time around.) It’s where I get all of my celeb gossip updates ( where else can you keep up with the Kardashians AND Miley Cyrus’s tongue all in one place?!), and also where I get to scope out the up-and-coming food trends for the month.

If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest in the past few weeks or, you know, have a pulse then you’re probably aware that pumpkin is big in October. And I, just like everyone else, am perfectly content to jump on the orange veggie bandwagon. It’s probably no surprise then, that the November/December issue of Fine Cooking, with this Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart on it’s cover (and the promise of even more pumpkin treats within its pages!), pretty much jumped off the stand and into my cart. And then gave me butterflies. The promise of a buttery cornmeal crust with a pumpkin pie cheesecake filling and a bourbon salted caramel candied pepita topping will do that to you. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart


Print Print Recipe

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart

Yield: 8-10 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min

Total Time: 2 hour 30 min


For the pumpkin seeds:
Cooking spray
1-1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/4 ounces (1/4 cup) raw hulled pumpkin seeds
For the crust:
6 ounces (1-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour, more as needed
6 tablespoons fine cornmeal
1 tablepoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) 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 ounce (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon
For the filling:
4 ounces low fat 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 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and-half


1. To candy the pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt, stirring to combine. Mix in the pumpkin seeds and stir until coated. Spread the pumpkin seeds out on the parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes and then break apart into smaller pieces. Set aside.
3. For the crust, pulse the flour. cornmeal, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Mix in the egg and egg yolk, pulsing until mixture starts to come together. If mixture seems dry, add water, 1 tsp at a time, until it comes together. Pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan and gently press it into the bottoms and onto the sides. Tear off any high areas of the dough so that it is no less than 1/2-inch below the top of the pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
5. Heat the oven to 350. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill it with dried beans, pressing them against the sides. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.
6. For the caramel, in a 2-quart saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat. Stir until the sugar melts and begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick enough that moving the whisk through the caramel leaves a line so that you can see the bottom of the pan, 7-9 minutes. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough that the whisk leaves a trail through it, 2 minutes. Transfer to a measuring cup. Pour 1/3 cup of the caramel over the bottom of the crust and spread it out evenly.
7. For the filling, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and the egg yolk, one at a time, beating until well-combined. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt, mixing until combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the half and half.
8. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until it has puffed slightly and no longer appears to be wet, 35-40 minutes. Cool on a rack for 1 hour.
9. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the tart and spread it evenly. Arrange the pumpkin seeds around the edges of the tart. Cover tart with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.


*I used low fat cream cheese here, but full fat should work fine.
*When you add the heavy cream to the caramel, the sugar WILL seize. Just keep stirring and it will eventually melt back into the caramel.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 slice
Calories per serving: 460
Fat per serving: 30g
Saturated Fat per serving: 17g
Sodium per serving: 210mg
Fiber per serving: 2g
Protein per serving: 7g
Cholesterol per serving: 155mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 42g

Source: Fine Cooking

The results:

I have made a lot of pumpkin desserts in my life…and this is definitely in the top five. Every component of it is just so perfect, and they all fit together beautifully. The crust is part sweet, part savory and a whole lot of flaky buttery delicious, while the filling has a hint of cheesecake’s richness but the lightness of pumpkin pie. And then the sultry bourbon caramel pretty much ties it all together while the candied pepitas add a nice crunch for textural contrast. Like I said, it’s pretty perfect.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely yes!! This tart is everything I could have hoped for when purchasing the magazine and I have a strong feeling it will be appearing on my holiday dessert table next month!

Joanne Bruno is a vegetable and cupcake-loving MD/PhD student living NYC. She's the voice behind the blog Eats Well With Others. JoAnne combines her passion for food with a love of exercise and runs endurance events while raising money to fight cancer. She is also snarky with a penchant for take everything she says with a grain of salt.

11 Responses to “Wine- Braised Chicken with Shallots and Pancetta”

  1. 1

    Tracey — January 7, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    I’ve borrowed this magazine from my library on at least 3 occasions to make this recipe and still haven’t done it. Your post might be just the inspiration I need to finally get to it! I’m glad to hear you loved it – it really looks wonderful!

  2. 2

    noble pig — January 7, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    That did turn out nice, it looks so lovely in the pot.

  3. 3

    Lisa — January 7, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    The photo of your dish is amazing! You’ve inspired me to make this dish again.

  4. 4

    Claudia — January 11, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

    This does indeed look wonderful. I may have to pick it up! Last year, as a New Year’s resolution, I cooked all the cover recipes from Bon Appetit. and posted the results in Cover Girls Cooking. I have since incorporated it into my Italian blog – but have been wondering what magazine to cook this year. Stick with Bon Appetit or go to something like Fine Cooking. This looks so good, I shall have to investigate.

  5. 5

    LilSis — January 11, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    This looks really good. If it’s time consuming, it would be a good one to make on a Sunday afternoon when things aren’t as rushed as weekdays.

  6. 6

    Jennie — January 13, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

    This looks positively divine. A weekend dish to share for sure. Can’t wait to try it. Although, I wonder if I could just cut up a whole chicken rather than buy all the separate pieces? I usually eat pastured chicken’s which is not only better for you but the taste difference is amazing. But it’s only affordable if you buy it whole. hm…

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 14th, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

      Jennie- I’m sure you can try it with whole chicken parts. Keep the skin on!

  7. 7

    Daniel@thefoodaddicts — January 13, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

    Looks like a good hearty meal!

  8. 8

    Carl Dorsey — January 17, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    When I grow up I want to be just like you! This is a great start and your photos are amazing. Your photo alone makes me want to try this recipe. I just started my blog and without a camera, I haven’t even posted any recipes yet. That will change this upcoming week though! Again, I really like both of your sites.

  9. 9

    Penelope — January 31, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    HI Lori – This braised chicken dish looks absolutely wonderful. I would like to make it for an upcoming dinner party for 6 people. I really like that it can be made 2 days ahead. Since the recipe serves 4 can I just cut the recipe in half and add that amount to the 4 servings recipe? Would that work? Thank you for your help.

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 31st, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

      Penelope- Personally, I’d choose to double the recipe if you can… the leftovers are amazing! But yes, you have the right idea in terms of halving the recipe & adding to the original to feed 6. Enjoy!

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