Pumpkin-Caramel Tart With Toasted-Hazelnut Crust

Have you had your fill of pumpkin pie yet? Are we moving on to all things gingerbread and eggnog in flavor? To be fair I wouldn’t blame you if you swore off pumpkin till next September when the craze picks up again. But can I urge you to make room for just 1 more pumpkin thing? It’s a pumpkin caramel hazelnut tart and I swear it’s going to completely change the way you think about pumpkin pie. Here, take a look.

Warming up to the idea yet? Maybe it’ll make a difference that the filling is not predominantly pumpkin at all. Instead it starts with a base of homemade caramel sauce, one where you let the sugar get just to the point of almost burning before dousing it in cream. Only then does this rich and intensely flavored sauce combine with a modest amount of pumpkin and cinnamon and a good dose of freshly grated ginger.

No, still not convinced?

Well maybe I should mention that this caramel pumpkin filling is baked inside of a wonderful crumbly, shortbread-like hazelnut crust. Almost a full cup of hazelnuts go into this crust along with a good amount of butter for good measure, giving the each and every bite of the tart the slightest amount of crunch and an underlying nutty flavor.

And if you’re still hesitant, I should probably add that the entire tart is topped with a generous sprinkling of candied hazelnuts for an ultimate sweet caramel crunch.

And of course there has to be an enormous dollop of whipped cream on top.

So really, you shouldn’t even compare this to pumpkin pie, it’s in a category all to itself. But if you still refuse to have a slice, if you’re too pumpkin-ed out, I guess I can’t complain… more for me!

Pumpkin-Caramel Tart With Toasted-Hazelnut Crust
Serves 8-10
Bon Appetit Magazine


For the crust
1¼ cups hazelnuts
1 cup flour
2 Tbs granulated sugar
¾ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into cubes

For the filling and topping
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 Tbs light brown sugar
1 Tbs flour
1½ tsp. freshly grated ginger
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. salt

3 eggs
whipped cream, for serving

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the hazelnuts on a sheetpan and toast in the oven for 10-13 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and let cool. Once cool, use a clean kitchen towel to rub the hazelnuts together and remove most of the skins.

Transfer ¾ cup of the hazelnuts to a food processor and set the rest aside for the candied hazelnut topping. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor and pulse until you have a coarse meal. Add the butter and continue pulsing until you only have a few pea-sized pieces of butter left. Transfer to a bowl and add up to 3 tablespoons of water to the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it forms a dough.

Press the dough into the pan so it goes 1½ to 2 inches up the side. Place the pan with the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes and then transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and then let cool slightly.

To make the filling combine 1 cup of the sugar, the cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Over a medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar begins to melt. Once it is melted, stop stirring and occasionally swirl the pan to evenly distribute the caramel. The caramel is ready when it turns a deep amber color. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream. Whisk until it is smooth and set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt and the eggs until it is smooth. Slowly incorporate the caramel. Pour the filling into the hazelnut crust and bake, rotating halfway through, for 35-45 minutes until the edges are set and the center jiggles just slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the tart cooks, make the candied hazelnuts. Roughly chop the remaining ½ cup of hazelnuts. Add to a saucepan with ¼ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of water. Place over a medium heat and stir until the sugar melts and coats the hazelnuts. Pour onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to cool. Once cool, break into pieces and scatter over the cooled tart. Serve with whipped cream.