Spiced Pumpkin Tart

This pumpkin tart combines a pecan pastry crust and simple pumpkin pie filling. Though the 9-inch tart has 8 servings similar to traditional pumpkin pie, the slices are thinner so the tart bakes and cools quicker. If you crave flavorful pumpkin treats, you’ll enjoy this generously spiced filling with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and a touch a black pepper for bold robust flavor.

pumpkin tart with whipped cream, caramel, and pecan crust

Do you have a tart pan that you’re itching to use? And love pumpkin pie? Do you want to skip the rolling pin? Are you answering these questions? Can you stand on your head? 😉

Let’s make a pumpkin tart this Thanksgiving!


Tell Me About This Pumpkin Tart

  • Texture: Since the slices aren’t as thick as traditional pumpkin pie, it’s not quite as custardy. However, if the tart isn’t over-baked and cools completely, you’ll enjoy a pleasantly creamy texture on a firm crust.
  • Flavor: The buttery pecan-speckled crust tastes a step above plain tart crust because you have that additional toasty nutty flavor. For the pumpkin filling, we’re essentially using a scaled down version of regular pumpkin pie. Sweetened with brown sugar and plentifully spiced, this tart is for pumpkin spice aficionados. Feel free to skip the black pepper if you don’t want that extra kick. Fluffy whipped cream and salty caramel are familiar garnishes, but definitely take this pumpkin tart to the next level if you have time to make either. (Whipped cream takes 5 minutes!)
  • Baking: Par-baking the crust is imperative before you bake the whole tart. Par-baking takes a little extra time, but you’ll be rewarded with an impressively tasty crust that isn’t overly soggy. A lot of other pie and tart recipes require this step such as quiche, regular pumpkin pie, and chocolate pie. Luckily making the filling is a breeze using a whisk and mixing bowl!
  • Time: Set aside 1 hour to prep this recipe, which includes par-baking and getting the entire tart in the oven. Pumpkin tart is ideal after fully cooling, so feel free to make this tart 1 day in advance.

pumpkin tart slice with whipped cream and salted caramel on top

Key Pumpkin Tart Ingredients You Need & Why

  • Pecans: The pecan pastry crust obviously starts with– you guessed it– pecans. If you want to skip the nuts, there are alternative crust options and I detail those next. The only substitution I tested was walnuts and it worked just as well.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Flour is the base of the pecan crust. If you want a gluten free tart crust, see this chocolate coconut almond tart recipe. I haven’t tested it with this pumpkin filling.
  • Granulated Sugar & Brown Sugar: Granulated sugar is ideal in the crust and brown sugar is key in the filling. I tried swapping granulated sugar for brown sugar in the crust (so you’d only need 1 type of sugar) and the crust was simply too moist and tasted denser. If needed, you can substitute granulated sugar for brown sugar in the filling but you’ll lose all of the delicious brown sugar flavor that pairs so nicely with pumpkin.
  • Cold Butter: Like in most pastry-style crusts, cold butter is ideal. Even though we’re not making a traditional pie crust, you still need cold butter to properly coat the dry ingredients and produce a tasty, yet sturdy foundation for the tart.
  • Pumpkin Puree: No surprise here! Though fresh pumpkin puree worked just fine, taste testers and I preferred the tart made with canned pumpkin puree instead. I usually use Libby’s brand. (Not sponsored– simply love the quality and flavor.)
  • Heavy Cream: Just as cold butter is the crust’s best friend, heavy cream is the filling’s BFF. In all seriousness though, heavy cream produces a rich and luscious pumpkin filling that half-and-half, milk, or evaporated milk cannot match. Bonus: use extra heavy cream to make whipped cream for garnish.
  • Egg: Egg helps the filling set.
  • Salt & Spices: Salt adds balance and spices add flavor. If you love cinnamon and ginger, your tastebuds will savor each bite of this pumpkin tart. Black pepper continues to be my favorite pumpkin pie ingredient because it adds a deeper spice flavor that taste testers certainly notice, but never realize it’s black pepper!

pumpkin and ingredients for tart and picture of the filling in a glass bowl

Why Par-Bake the Pecan Tart Crust?

The crust takes longer to bake than the filling, so it requires extra time in the oven. This is when a step called par-baking, also known as blind baking, is beneficial. Partially par-baking this pecan tart crust means you need pie weights to help the crust hold shape during the par-baking process. Note: Make sure you have enough pie weights. I always use 2 packs of these (affiliate link) pie weights.

Find all of the par-baking step-by-step photos below the recipe.


Other Crust Options

If you’d like to skip the pecan tart crust below, here are a few other tested options. Each requires a quick par-bake, but the first 2 options don’t need pie weights. No matter which crust recipe you use, the pumpkin tart must bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven for the same time listed in step 6 below.

  • Graham Cracker Crust or Gingerbread Cookie Crust: If you want a cookie crust instead of a pastry-style crust, use the graham cracker crust from this peanut butter cup tart recipe or gingersnap cookie crust from this pumpkin streusel bars recipe. Press tightly into your 9-inch tart pan and pre-bake at 350°F (177°C) for 12 minutes before pouring in the filling and baking the whole tart. Note regarding gingersnap cookies– store-bought gingersnap cookies are ideal as they are the most dry. The ONLY brand that I’ve had issues with is the Nabisco gingersnap cookies. They’re delicious on their own, but they’re too moist for a gingersnap cookie crust.
  • Shortbread Crust: Use the crust recipe from this lemon blueberry tart. Add 2 Tablespoons (25g) flour for a firmer dough. Follow steps 3 and 4 in the lemon blueberry tart recipe, which includes par-baking the crust at 350°F (177°C).
  • Tart Crust Without Nuts: Follow the exact same crust/par-baking steps instructed in the recipe below at 375°F (190°C), but use the crust from this strawberry peach galette recipe. Chilling the dough for 1 hour as instructed in the galette recipe is imperative. Use a rolling pin to roll out the chilled dough into a 10-12 inch circle. Press firmly into your 9-inch tart pan and trim edges.

pumpkin tart slice

slice of pumpkin tart on white plate

Make This Pumpkin Tart If…

  • You love pumpkin pie but want to try something different
  • Crimping/fluting pie crust edges isn’t your forte
  • You need a slightly quicker variation of pumpkin pie
  • You’re craving sweet & spiced pumpkin flavor
  • A traditional pumpkin pie is simply too much

Sally's Pie Week

This recipe is part of Sally’s Pie Week, an annual tradition where I share a handful of new pie recipes. Never miss a new recipe by subscribing on the pie week page! Other Thanksgiving pie/tart recipes include pecan praline pumpkin pie, salted caramel apple galette, and pecan pie.

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pumpkin tart slice

Spiced Pumpkin Tart

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (includes crust par-bake)
  • Total Time: 6 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This pumpkin tart combines a pecan pastry crust and wonderfully spiced pumpkin pie filling. Review recipe notes before starting and don’t forget to check out the step-by-step crust photos below the recipe.


Ingredients

Crust

  • 2/3 cup (85g) chopped or halved pecans
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (160gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) ice cold water

Filling

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (300g) pumpkin puree*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch black pepper (see note)

Optional Toppings


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place large baking sheet on center oven rack. You will bake the tart on the baking sheet, which will make it easy to transfer the tart pan to/from the oven AND catch any possible butter leakage from the tart pan.
  2. Make the crust: If you need a visual for the crust steps, there are helpful step-by-step photos below the recipe. Using a food processor, pulse the pecans, flour, salt, and sugar together until it reaches the consistency of coarse meal. Add the cubes of cold butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Drizzle ice water on top and pulse 8-10 times to bring dough together.  Dough will be crumbly, but there should be no more dry flour. Do your best to press dough tightly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Carefully line the inside of the crust with two pieces of parchment paper. Pour in the pie weights. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pan.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake (with weights) for 15 minutes. Remove tart from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the tart. Prick holes all around the bottom crust with a fork. Return the tart crust to the oven (on the baking sheet) and bake for 10-12 minutes to help dry out and set the bottom. Remove from the oven and set aside until step 6. You can par-bake the crust up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover and store in the refrigerator (without weights) until ready to use.
  4. Reduce oven to 350°F (177°C).
  5. For the filling: Whisk all of the filling ingredients together until combined and smooth. Feel free to use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to combine.
  6. Pour filling into warm crust. Bake tart (on baking sheet) until the center of the tart is nearly set– give the pan a light tap with your oven mitt to check– about 45-48 minutes. A small part of the center will be wobbly – that’s ok.
  7. Remove tart from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool completely for at least 4-5 hours. Serve pie with optional toppings if desired. I used Wilton 1M piping tip for the whipped cream in the pictured pie.
  8. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: This tart must cool completely before serving, so it’s perfect for making 1 day ahead. Cool completely, then loosely cover and store at room temperature before serving the next day. Baked and cooled pumpkin tart freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. You can par-bake the crust ahead of time– see end of step 3. The filling can be made 1 day in advance, cover and refrigerate before pouring into warm par-baked crust. No need to bring to room temperature before baking, but bake time may be a couple minutes longer.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): 9-Inch Tart Pan, Large Food Processor (one that holds at least 6 cups so there’s extra room for the crust mixture to move around/pulse), Pie Weights (2 packs to fill the pan)
  3. No Food Processor? You need a food processor in step 2. If you do not have one, chop the pecans as finely as possible. Whisk with the flour, salt, and sugar. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the cold butter. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to mix in the water.
  4. Mini Tarts: My team and I haven’t tested this recipe in mini tart pans yet, so report back if you try it. Par-baking the crusts would definitely still be beneficial– just for a reduced time.
  5. Other Crust Options: See specific details and instructions in post above.
  6. Pecans: The only substitution I tested was walnuts and it worked just as well. To skip the nuts, use an alternative crust option detailed in the post above.
  7. Pumpkin Puree: Though fresh pumpkin puree worked just fine, taste testers and I preferred the tart made with canned pumpkin puree instead.
  8. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is best in this tart. In a pinch, you can substitute half-and-half.
  9. Pepper: This adds deeper spice flavor that taste testers certainly notice, but never realize it’s black pepper. I usually add just under 1/8 teaspoon of pure ground black pepper for lots of flavor, but feel free to reduce to a tiny pinch or 1/16 teaspoon. If using freshly ground black pepper from a grinder, 3-4 twists of the grinder is plenty.

Keywords: pumpkin tart

Quick Step-By-Step Photos of Crust

This How to Par Bake Pie Crust video and guide is helpful if you ever need more assistance and help with the par-baking steps!

As instructed in the crust step above, pulse the pecans, flour, salt, and sugar together in your food processor. You’re mostly just breaking down the pecans in this step. (Pictured below, left.) Add the cold and cubed butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. (Pictured below, right.)

pecan and flour mixture

As instructed above, add your ice water and pulse. The dough will be crumbly. Press into your 9-inch tart pan.

pecan crust mixture in food processor and pressed into tart pan

Fill with pie weights. I use and recommend (affiliate link) these pie weights. You need 2 packs to fill a tart or pie shell.

pecan crust in tart pan with pie weights

After baking with the weights, remove them, prick holes in the crust with a fork (pictured below, left) and then return to the oven to dry out/set the center of the crust. The picture below on the right shows the crust after par-baking and before pouring in the filling.

pecan tart crust before and after partially par-baking

Pour in the filling and bake. Cool completely before serving. Enjoy this one!

pumpkin tart before and after baking

25 Comments

  1. I do not own a food processor, but I would like to. Is there a size you would recommend?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Carrie! I own a couple food processors and really like the “Ninja 400-Watt Blender/Food Processor.” I would use the larger pitcher for a crust this size. Use a food processor that can hold at least 6 cups. (There isn’t 6 cups of crust, but you want extra room of course.) I also own and love the KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor, but it’s rather large.

  2. Eeek! This looks tasty and so much more simple.
    Do you have a sweet potato recipe version of this?
    Thank you,
    Sherry

    1. Hi Sherry! I don’t. I’m sure you could use this sweet potato pie filling, only slightly reduced.

  3. Hi,

    I love pumpkin pie and also pecan pie. I am thinking of adding pecan streusel on top of the tart. I am thinking about baking it for 15 mins until the filling is set slightly then add the streusel on it. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sam, that sounds delicious. The filling will need more time than 15 minutes to slightly set though. If you ever want to try it, I have this pecan praline pumpkin pie recipe you may enjoy. Let me know how it goes!

  4. I have a 10.5 inch tart pan. Do you think this would work in the larger size?

    1. Hi Mary, there’s plenty of crust, so it should work just fine. The tart will just be thinner, so the bake time will need to be adjusted. (Less time in the oven.)

  5. Hi! Do you have recommended substitutions for making this dairy-free? Thank you!

    1. Hi Maura, I’m unsure about the crust but readers have used coconut cream to replace the heavy cream in the pumpkin pie recipe with success, so it should work no differently in this filling.

  6. Made this today as written and it was delicious! I even added the pepper(who would have thought?) only problem I had was I couldn’t find my tart pan so I used a springform pan and worked the dough up the sides a bit. I didn’t adjust any cooking times as they were perfect with the pan change. Another winner from Sally!

  7. Hi! First off… I’m a terrible cook/baker, but I’m willing to try!! I’m blown away by how beautiful this pie is and I want to duplicate it. Can you tell me how to make the caramel sauce that’s drizzled on the whipped cream?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Janet, we’re so glad you loved this pumpkin tart! Here’s our favorite salted caramel sauce recipe.

  8. I made this tart today for a family gathering and it was amazing, I got multiple comments that it was better than traditional pumpkin pie! I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly.

  9. Shelley Ragland says:

    I loved this tart, and thought it was much easier (and tastier) than the traditional pie. The even tart crust and super smooth pumpkin filing made this one of the most professional-looking recipes I’ve ever made.

  10. I made this dish as instructed, and the pumpkin was a little too sweet for me. I usually make pumpkin pie with ½ cup of sugar vs. ¾ cup like you did here. Do you think I can reduce the sugar in this recipe without issue? The 3 other people who ate this pie thought it was perfect. I’ve never done a pecan tart pie crust before, and your instructions made it so easy? I made the whipped cream (also very easy) and the caramel (not easy and I made a few mistakes that created toffee bits). Would you include more tips in that recipe?

    Also, you did not specify whether to put the tart on a baking sheet before baking so I didn’t. Butter dripped into my oven causing smoke, and I had to switch over to my Breville oven (which worked fine because I put the tart on a baking sheet). Can you update steps to include this? Also, how can I contain the butter seepage? Will putting parchment paper underneath the pie tin help?

    Overall, a great recipe! I’m making this for Thanksgiving, and will make this again.

    1. Hi Wendy! I’m glad to help– and thank you for trying this tart! You can absolutely reduce the sugar if you’d like a slightly less sweet filling. Placing the tart on a baking sheet definitely helps catch any butter leakage from a tart pan that has a removable bottom. That’s a great tip, so thank you for the reminder! Lining the pan with parchment paper would definitely help if you want to try that next time.

  11. Gayle M Anderson says:

    Hi, any recommendations on how best to remove the tart from the pan and transfer to cake plate to serve? I’m afraid it will break in the process. Help!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gayle! Most tart pans should have a removable bottom that will allow you to “pop” the tart up from the pan. Do this carefully, then place the tart (you can do this with the tart still on top of the tart pan bottom) on the cake plate to serve. Enjoy!

  12. Hello!

    I have a question about par-baking the crust ahead of time. Is it ok that the crust wont be slightly warm when the filling is added? I am making the crust today and the filling/bake tomorrow. Should the crust be at room temp or straight out of the fridge before filling? Thanks for your help. Excited to bake/eat/share/enjoy!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren! Straight from the fridge or bringing to room temperature first will both be fine. Enjoy!

  13. I am making this now and the crust tastes like a pecan sandie. It was really easy to put together.

  14. Hi!! How “jiggly” should the tart be when it’s pulled out of the oven, please? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Just a little wobble!

  15. I made this for a Friendsgiving and it was a winner. I am a pumpkin pie lover, but actually think I like a pumpkin tart more than the pie. I will be making this again next year. Thanks for another amazing recipe.

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