Sneak Preview: These incredibly cute Mini Pumpkin Tartlets are miniature pumpkin pies with the filling tucked into the best homemade buttery shortbread crust.
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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.
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.
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–Tart Crusts:
These pastry shells can be challenging initially 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.
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. Make the dough according to the recipe below. Shape and chill as directed.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
If you are a bread maker, you must try this Bread Machine Pumpkin Brioche Twist. It only requires ⅓ cup of pumpkin.
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.
Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Mini Pumpkin Tarts Recipe with a Homemade Shortbread Cookie Crust
- 1½ cups unbleached flour
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter – 1 stick, chilled
- 1 egg yolk – from a large egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk – large
- 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup milk
- 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.
- 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.
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