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.
Pumpkin Tart with Honey-Orange Whipped Cream
- 1 recipe single-crust pie dough
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup packed (149 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 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 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 1-1/2 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.