Mini Pumpkin Tartlets with the BEST Shortbread Crusts

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Sneak Preview: These incredibly cute Mini Pumpkin Tartlets are miniature pumpkin pies with the filling tucked into the best homemade buttery shortbread crust.

PUMPKIN PIE MINI-TARTS with whipping cream on topPin

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Do you have that person at your holiday dinner who asks for a small piece of every dessert available? Of course, they will be excited to see these mini pumpkin tarts garnished with a dollop of whipping cream, and you will be grateful you don’t have to cut messy tiny slivers.

Recipe inspiration:

Think of these small pumpkin pie tarts as the “100-calorie snack” edition of the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

I’m not saying each tart is only 100 calories.

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However, each tart is less than an eighth of a piece of a regular 9-inch pumpkin pie. So I can get 15-16 pastries from the same ingredients with some leftover filling.

The pie filling is my adaptation of Libby’s recipe on the back of the canned pumpkin. 

Kitchen notes–Tartlet Crusts:

These pastry shells can initially be challenging if you are an amateur cook. I’ve been making pie crusts all my life, but still, the first ones I make of every batch look less than perfect. (It may be a subconscious thing. I love eating the rejects.)

You might want to practice making them ahead of time, depending on the importance of the occasion. The fabulous flavor is worth it.

If creating crusts scares you, buy mini-tart shells from the grocery store or online. They may not be as fresh as homemade, but they will be beautiful.

silicone molds that make homemade crusts easy.

I highly recommend these silicone molds for making mini-tarts or tartlets. Nothing sticks to them, making it easy to extricate the baked tart from the mold. Also, I prefer the flower shapes over the cupcake-liner look.


How to shape shortbread crusts:

I hope the following tutorial will give you some confidence, but honestly, nothing substitutes for practice.

forming the dough into a cylinderPin
Form dough into a cylinder.
slicing the shortbread dough.Pin
Slice the roll into 15-16 equally-sized discs.
using plastic wrap to shape the tart crust.Pin
Lay one slice in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap.
Pumpkin PIe Mini-Tarts-making the crustPin
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until the circumference is about 1/2 to 3/4 inches greater than the circumference of your tart cup. Then, lay the tart cup upside down on top of it to check.
peeling the plastic wrap off the top of the crust.Pin
Peel the plastic wrap off of the top.
flipping the dough to remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap.Pin
Flip the flattened disc and remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap.
Pressing dough into the mold with thumbPin
Press dough into the tart cup with your fingers. If it tears, “squish” it back together. If it pleats, use your finger to press the excess dough down smoothly.
showing drust before trimming.Pin
The goal is uniform thickness throughout so it will bake evenly.
trimming the crust with a small paring knife.Pin
Trim the crust with a sharp knife to make a smooth edge. Place the finished crust (still inside the mold) in the freezer until hard.
Using foil to keep the crust from rising up in the middle.Pin
Cut aluminum foil into small squares to keep the crust from rising up in the middle. Non-stick foil is best. Use fingers to mold the foil to the tart’s inside, ensuring the top edge is also covered to prevent over-browning.

Note: The foil is reusable. I store them with my tart molds.


How many mini pumpkin pies will this recipe make?

How many pies you get out of this recipe will depend on the size of your tart forms.

I can get 15-16 out of this recipe with some filling to spare. Bake the leftover filling in a small glass dish and add it to yogurt for a yummy treat!


Frequently asked questions:

Can I freeze the tart shells ahead of time?

Yes. Make the dough and shape crusts ahead of time. Freeze for up to a month. Don’t thaw the crusts before you bake them. Straight into the oven from the freezer is best.

Can I use a muffin tin as a mold for the tart shells?

You can. It’s more challenging to manipulate the dough into each cavity. Trimming the dough at the top to make a neat finish can also be tricky.

How do you get mini-tarts out of the pan?

You can avoid the whole issue by using silicone molds. Tip them over, and the mini-tart will fall right out.
If using some metal mold or cupcake pans, spray the pan with a flour and oil mixture like “Baker’s Joy” before you add the crust. That stuff is magic!

What else can I do with the silicone molds?

Use them for cupcakes or muffins. I think this is the original purpose.
Besides tarts, I use mine to make frozen egg whites. It’s easier than using an ice cube tray, especially when you only have one or two egg whites to freeze.

I do this: Place one egg white into each silicone mold. Freeze.
When frozen, pop the egg white into a plastic bag and store it in the freezer until needed. This beats freezing them in an ice cube tray all day (or saving them in the fridge where they don’t stay fresh for long.)

Why are you wearing gloves when making the crusts?

I always wear gloves when I make any pie crust or flaky biscuits. They protect the dough by providing a barrier between my body heat and the tiny flakes of butter. Of course, you can make the crusts without them, but work fast so your hands don’t warm the dough.

Parting Thoughts: Since I’m one of those people who wants a sliver of everything, this is my choice for Thanksgiving dinner. Another good thing about these tarts– they don’t crack after you take them out of the oven like many of the full-size pies are prone to do.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! 


Pin

Mini Pumpkin Tartlets Recipe with a Homemade Crust

Paula Rhodes
These Pumpkin Pie Mini-Tarts are easy to carry to Grandma’s house or put them on your dessert buffet. The small size makes them easy to grab and eat.
4.48 from 19 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Pies
Cuisine American
Servings 15 mini-tarts
Calories 201 kcal

Video

Ingredients
  

Tart Crust:

  • cups unbleached flour
  • cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter - 1 stick, chilled
  • 1 egg yolk - from a large egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Pie Filling:

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk - large
  • 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup milk

Instructions
 

Crust:

  • Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Cut butter into 8 slices and add to flour, pulsing several times until mixture resembles oatmeal. Add egg yolk mixed with cream. Pulse until all ingredients are moistened. Then allow machine to run a few seconds until dough starts to stick together. (Add additional drops of cream if dough seems too dry.) Press dough into a roll like refrigerated cookie dough. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes.
  • Spray molds generously with Baker’s Secret or something like it. (Baker’s Secret is an aerosol spray that mixes flour and oil.) If using silicone molds, no greasing is necessary.
  • Slice roll of dough into 15-16 pieces. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough between two pieces of plastic wrap into a circle slightly larger than tart molds. Press into mold with fingers, being careful to keep thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra at the top. I usually have enough scraps to make another tart or two. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, overnight, or up to a month.
  • Place frozen tart shells onto a cookie sheet and press a small square of foil down into each crust that molds to shape of crust and covers the edge. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pie Filling:

  • While crusts are pre-baking, combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl.
  • Whisk eggs and pumpkin together in another bowl. Add spice mixture and whisk well. Add cream and milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Optional: Pour pie filling through a medium sieve for maximum smoothness.
  • Fill each pre-baked tart taking care to put as much filling into each tart as possible without pouring in too much and making a mess.
  • Bake in 350˚F oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your tarts) or until filling is set. Allow to cool on a rack. Chill before serving.

Notes

If using a muffin pan for tarts, you don’t need to pre-bake the crust–especially if the pan has a dark coating. Pour filling into frozen crusts and bake for 20 minutes or until filling is set.

Essentials

Nutrition

Serving: 1mini-tart | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 192mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 393IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword pumpkin tartlets, mini pumpkin pies, pumpkin mini-tarts, Thanksgiving dessert
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    Recipe Rating




    18 Comments

    1. The Café Sucre Farinec says:

      Paula, these look wonderful, what a great idea and well done tutorial. I’d eat too many thinking they were “safely small”.
      Hope you’re doing well!

      1. Chris,
        So nice to hear from you. Love that term, “safely small.” Like you, I could use that term to rationalize a lot of sins. 🙂

    2. These look yummy, as usual! As for the calorie content, 1/8 of a slice of pumpkin pie is around 300 calories….so I’m guessing these may be around 150 calories if made into 16 portions. The RD side of me had to figure it out. 😉

      1. Sounds about right, Susie. Thanks for figuring it out.

    3. SO much better than a big pie. I would imagine these are a lot easier to eat and therefore MIGHT just mean eating MORE!! Just sayin’.

      1. Margaret,
        Yes, I have had people tell me that as they grabbed “another for the road.” Be warned!

    4. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

      I absolutely love these tarts. What’s better than a pumpkin pie you can walk around with? nothing.

    5. I could eat half a dozen of these right now. Not because I’m hungry but because they look delicious. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Paula.

    6. Hi, thanks for the info… going to try these this year and found your site to tell me the length of time..Happy Thanksgiving

    7. Can these be made and then frozen? I’m thinking they would be great for make ahead lunch desserts

      1. Cynthia,
        I have not tried freezing these but I’m skeptical. Cooked custard filling of any kind tends to separate when frozen. You can freeze the unbaked crusts ahead of time for sure but once you put the filling in and bake them, you have about a day to eat them.

    8. If we are going to bake at the same day or time, do we have to freeze it before baking?
      Or, should be freeze for 30 míns before pre baking?

      Regards; From Iceland

      1. Yes. Freezing keeps them from shrinking too much.

    9. I tried making these with silicone molds and they completely stuck. Waste of time and ingredients.

    10. would like to know if you can switch out sweet potato for pumpkin in this recipe

      1. Jenny, I haven’t tried it. Not sure. paula

        1. It worked fabulously! i just switched out the cloves for mace and it was delish!
          Thank you for the recipe and your reply!

    11. Pingback: 20 Ideas for Pumpkin Pie Tarts - Home, Family, Style and Art Ideas