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Christopher Kimball's Milk Street TV's pumpkin tart recipe with a twist

pumpkin tart with hands

Pumpkin Tart with Honey-Orange Whipped Cream

A note from Erika Bruce, pastry chef and recipe developer:

We love pumpkin pie, but we don’t love how dense and cloying they can be. We wanted a lighter, fresher take with a pronounced pumpkin flavor. Canned pumpkin puree was a great place to start, but we intensified the flavor by giving it a quick sauté with dark brown sugar. This simmers off excess moisture and lends caramel flavors to the mixture. Deglazing the pan with bourbon added a complexity we loved, but an equal amount of orange juice worked well, too. Crème fraîche gave the filling tang and richness that other dairy products couldn’t match.

Don't use canned pumpkin pie filling for this recipe. Look for unsweetened canned pumpkin puree; the only ingredient listed should be pumpkin. After pouring the bourbon into the skillet, stir carefully if you're using a gas burner, as splashes may cause the liquid to ignite. If this happens, the flames will extinguish after a few seconds, once the alcohol has burned off.

Start to finish: 1 hour 40 minutes (40 minutes active), plus cooling Servings: 8


1 recipe single-crust pie dough
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
149 grams (3⁄4 cup packed) dark brown sugar 1⁄4 cup bourbon
8-ounce container (1 cup) crème fraîche
3 large eggs
1⁄8 teaspoon table salt


Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the middle and lowest positions. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the the pan, then trim the edges flush with the rim. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Line the chilled tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack until the edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights, then bake until the bottom just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce to 325°F.

While the crust bakes, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, combine the pumpkin and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened, dark and leaves a film on the pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (the yield should be 11⁄2 cups).

Add the bourbon to the skillet, set over medium-low and scrape up any browned bits; add to the pumpkin mixture.

In a food processor, combine the pumpkin mixture and crème fraîche; process until smooth. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and salt, then process until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the filling into the warm crust, smoothing the top. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle rack until the edges start to puff and crack and the center sets, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring to serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey-Orange Whipped Cream

Don't use creamed, thick or crystallized honey for this recipe. In order for the cream and honey to properly mix, a thin, pourable honey is needed.

Start to finish: 5 minutes Makes about 3 cups


11⁄2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons honey
1⁄2 teaspoon grated orange zest


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low until frothy, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure the honey is incorporated. Mix on medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.


Watch Christopher Kimball's Milk Street TV on PBS Passport.