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!

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

Warning: Use of undefined constant rand - assumed 'rand' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /var/www/clients/client0/web83/web/wp-content/themes/culinarycovers/single.php on line 72

7 Responses to “Chicken with Marsala, Mushrooms and Gorgonzola”

  1. 1

    Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog — February 24, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    What a beautiful combination of flavors, it deserves the cover spotlight, for sure!!


  2. 2

    JD — February 25, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    Better substitutes for marsala: dry sherry or red vermouth. Both have a bit of that nutty flavor that is so characteristic of marsala. White wine lacks it, but as you say it would work in a pinch.

  3. 3

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 25, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

    Looks like a great recipe… Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite dishes.

  4. 4

    Krista — February 26, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

    I just saw your new site today! What a clever idea – I love it! :-) This looks amazing. If only I liked mushrooms. Sigh. I keep trying to talk myself into liking them, but to know avail. :-) Marsala and Gorgonzola though? Oh yeah!! :-)

  5. 5

    Louise — March 2, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    ooo la la, I love Chicken Marsala! The Mushrooms and Gorgonzola are most welcome “quick & delicious” additions. Now, I know for sure I will have pleasant dreams tonight. Thank you so much for sharing…

  6. 6

    Divina — March 3, 2010 @ 8:24 am

    The flavors of this dish are just sensational. Lots of deliciousness. Better late than never to discover your other blog site Lori. :)

  7. 7

    megan — March 5, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

    I love Chicken marsala and Gorgonzola so I can imagine the two together. This recipe gets a big thumbs up from me!

Leave a Comment