Think of these mini-tarts as the “100-calorie snack” edition of the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
I’m not saying each tart is only 100 calories. I don’t calculate calories on desserts. However, they are a lot less than an eighth of a piece of a regular 9-inch pumpkin pie since I can get 15-16 tarts out of the same ingredients with some filling left over.
The pie filling is my adaptation of the Libby’s recipe on the back of the pumpkin can. The crust is the same as seen in my Fruit and Cream Tarts and Chocolate Ganache Tarts. If you are an amateur cook, the crusts are a bit tricky at first. PLEASE, PLEASE practice making them at least once before the big day. It’s basically a molded shortbread cookie. If creating your own crusts scares you, just buy mini-tart shells from the the grocery store. They may not be as fresh as homemade, but they will be beautiful.
I highly recommend these silicone molds for making mini-tarts. Nothing sticks to them, making it extremely easy to extricate the baked tart from the mold. I got mine from World Market, and I think they still sell them. Also check here (my first choice), here, or here. I prefer the flower shapes over the cupcake-liner look. These are also great for regular cupcakes, individual brownies, cornbread, etc. If you don’t want to buy silicone cups, you could use a cupcake pan, but it’s a lot more trouble since you can’t work with each tart cup individually.
I hope the following tutorial will give you some confidence, but really, nothing substitutes for practice.
Mini-Tart Crust Tutorial:
How many tarts you get out of this recipe will depend on the size of your tart cups. I can get 15-16 out of this recipe with some filling to spare. I bake the leftover filling in a small glass dish and add it to yogurt. YUM!
- 1-1/2 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
- 1 (15 ounce) can 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-degree 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.