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.

26 Responses to “Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — October 7, 2013 @ 5:46 am

    Holy Moly this is such an incredible tart! The bourbon, chocolate and pumpkin combo is so my thing. Plus, it is gorgeous! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

  2. 2

    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — October 7, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

    It looks so pretty on top of sounding delicious.

  3. 3

    Michelle — October 7, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’ll make this in November too!

  4. 4

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — October 7, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

    I’d leave off the pumpkin seeds, just because they don’t float my boat. Switch that over to toffee bits, and it sounds like heaven. I love boozy desserts.

  5. 5

    Faith — October 9, 2013 @ 5:26 am

    I am so smitten by this isn’t not even funny. Everything about it is calling my name!

  6. 6

    Joanne Eats Well With Others | Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart — October 10, 2013 @ 4:34 am

    […] find your eyes bugging out of your head at just the thought of such a thing, then head on over to Culinary Covers for my post and the […]

  7. 7

    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me — October 10, 2013 @ 5:56 am

    Caramel recipes that call for butter make me nervous– I have flubbed them up one too many times! BUT. I think you have convinced me and also my sister will love me forever if I make her this. I had no idea you all formed this blog! What a super idea! 5 gold stars and a handful of chocolate chips.

  8. 8

    Abbie @ Needs Salt — October 10, 2013 @ 6:52 am

    Wow, this tart is outstanding! You did such a gorgeous job with this, Joanne! Simply fabulous.

  9. 9

    Dan from Platter Talk — October 10, 2013 @ 7:24 am

    Beautifully done! I’ll have another slice, please!

  10. 10

    Jessie — October 10, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    I will take the WHOLE tart, thanks :)

  11. 11

    Ruthy @ Omeletta — October 10, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Ahh– so THIS is the pepita topping deliciousness!! I can’t get over how good that sounds. Yes to every pumpkin flavor imaginable this year, I can’t wait to check this issue out.

  12. 12

    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — October 10, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    My eyes definitely bugged out when I saw this! It looks so good!

  13. 13

    Meg — October 10, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing! The cornmeal crust definitely calls to me.

  14. 14

    Veronica — October 10, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

    Wow, what an awesome combo with the cornmeal crust and the bourbon caramel with the pumpkin. To die for!

  15. 15

    Reeni — October 10, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    I had to come over so I could drool some more! This would be perfect for Thanksgiving! Or this weekend. . .

  16. 16

    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking — October 10, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    Oh my goodness this pie looks amazing!!

  17. 17

    Tracey — October 10, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

    It’s such a gorgeous tart and the fact that it combines so many awesome ingredients just makes me want it even more!

  18. 18

    Dawn @ Valley Computer Solutions. — October 10, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    This looks like the perfect dessert for the fall season. I loved the candied pumpkin seeds.

  19. 19

    Kelster — October 11, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    you’re missing a unit measurement for the cream cheese.

  20. 20

    suzie waclawski — October 11, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    I am not sure how much cream cheese goes into this 4-8oz or just 4oz

    • Joanne Bruno replied: — October 11th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

      So sorry about that!! I updated it – it should read 4 oz.

  21. 21

    Bev Sonmor — October 12, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    I am so disappointed in my bourbon caramel pumpkin tart. I just finished making it for tomorrow’s thanksgiving dinner, I’m having 8 for dinner and am ashamed to have to serve it. The caramel topping took at least twice as long to come to the right thickness, and the amount was so pitiful, I would need to at least double it to get coverage for the top. I used the 1/3 cup amount for the bottom, and was shocked to see the Pitiful amount left for the topping. I will have to serve it as is. I swirled what was there and it’s pretty awful! This is the first recipe that has not lived up to your reputation; I’ve been receiving your magazine for about 4years and always look forward to making at least one recipe, which always turns out, until now! Sincerely Bev sonmor

    • Joanne Bruno replied: — October 13th, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

      Hi Bev! I’m so sorry you had so much trouble with the caramel!! Just to clarify, we are just a recipe review site and have no affiliation with Fine Cooking at all whatsoever and did not actually have any part in the recipe writing ourselves. That being said, caramel can be tricky to make and I generally fail 9 times out of 10, even with a good recipe. It’s always hard to interpret how thick is the “right thickness” since it does thicken as it cools. In the end, I had about 1 cup of caramel after all the reducing and thickening so maybe aim for that next time?

  22. 22

    Amy B — October 13, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    thanks so much for reviewing this. That magazine jumped off into my cart as well for the same reason. I was planning on making it for Thanksgiving and am glad to hear that it is as delicious as it looks

  23. 23

    Foodiewife — October 19, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    I subscribe to the digital version of Fine Cooking, and when I saw this gorgeous tart I decided I wanted to make it. You beat me to it. Great job, and I’m glad to know it’s worth every fat gram. I don’t care. Pumpkin and caramel…be still my heart.

  24. 24

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