These Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts are packed with comforting fall flavors. With a sweet cookie crust and heavenly pumpkin filling, you’ll have to bring them to your next holiday celebration!
If pumpkin pie had a baby…
We would get these adorable Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts! With a sweet cookie crust and a comforting pumpkin filling, these little pie tarts taste just like the real thing. Pass them around at a party or bring them to your holiday celebrations!
I love pumpkin pie and its buttery pastry, but sometimes it can be too much. Instead, these mini tarts have the perfect ratio of pie filling to crust and fit right in the palm of your hand. After one, you’ll still have room to try the rest of the offerings on the dessert table.
Are tarts and pie the same thing?
We’ve all seen pies before. They’re made with a large pastry and sweet filling, usually containing fruit, berries, or pureed pumpkin. Pie dough can continue overtop of the filling in a lattice shape, in fun patterns, or remain uncovered. Slice it up right from the dish it was baked in and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Tarts on the other hand only have a bottom crust. It’s usually sweeter and more crumbly than traditional pie crust. A large tart is made in a dish with a removable bottom so it can be unmolded before serving, and the smaller versions (also known as tartlets) are made in small molds and then removed after baking.
Sweet ingredients only
A little pumpkin spice makes everything nice. This sweet treat is made with just a few fall staples that you probably already have at home:
These mini pumpkin pies aren’t made with a traditional pie crust. Instead, they’re made with a Pate Sablée or shortcrust pastry. This is a crust with a sandy texture and tastes more like a shortbread cookie than a standard flaky dough.
It’s a sweet cookie crust that is just right for a small tart. The ingredients in a Pate Sablée are similar to pie dough but has the addition of granulated sugar.
Save some time and use canned pumpkin puree for this recipe. If you want the freshest flavor, use organic puree or make it from scratch! Just make sure you aren’t using canned pumpkin pie filling, or else the filling will be way over-spiced.
Pumpkin pie spice
It’s not a pumpkin pie without the right spices! A typical pumpkin spice mix contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and/or allspice. You’re free to mix this up as you see fit!
I highly recommend grating whole nutmeg for rich and deep flavors. I also added cardamom for more depth in the filling. It’s a little surprise your guests may not be expecting, but pays off every time!
Vanilla bean paste
I chose to use vanilla bean paste rather than a whole vanilla bean in this holiday recipe because it’s a less expensive alternative that still has delicious flavors. You should be able to buy vanilla bean paste at your local specialty food store or find it online. Feel free to swap it with a vanilla bean if that’s what you prefer, or use vanilla extract.
How to make mini pumpkin pie tarts
Mini pumpkin pies are made using a similar process as a full-sized pie. There are just a few key differences:
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor.
Add the butter and pulse about 20 times.
Next, add the beaten egg and pulse until the dough comes together (without it forming a ball).
Step 2: Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Shape into a disc, cover, and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Afterward, remove the dough and roll it into a circle. Cut out rounds wider than your tart pans, then place the dough into the tart pans and trim away the excess.
Place the pans in the freezer until the dough is hard.
Step 3: Preheat your oven and place a small piece of parchment over each tart shell and fill with pie weights.
Bake until the edges are brown.
Step 4: Carefully remove the parchment and weights.
Bake the dough again until the edges are golden. Leave them to cool completely.
Step 5: Make the tart filling by combining the sugars, salt, and spices in a small bowl.
Whisk the egg in a medium bowl before stirring in the pumpkin, evaporated milk, vanilla bean paste, and spice mixture.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Step 6: Place the tart shells on a large baking sheet and evenly divide the pumpkin mixture among the tarts.
Step 7: Bake until the edges of the filling are set and the centers have a slight jiggle.
Leave them to cool, then top with whipped cream!
Use these tips to make foolproof holiday tartlets every time:
Dock the dough
Docking the dough (AKA pricking pastry dough a few times with a fork) in the tart molds will ensure steam can release and the dough doesn’t puff up as it bakes. If you don’t dock the bottom of the dough, it could form cracks, meaning the filling will seep out.
Making ahead of time and storage tips
Go ahead and make the dough up to 3 days before you use it. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
When the tarts shells are formed, you can blind bake them and leave them to cool before storing them away. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The pumpkin pie tarts are best served the day they’ve been baked, but can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The crust may soften a bit, but they’ll still taste delicious.
You’ll definitely need a rolling pin to roll the dough into an even circle. If you don’t have one, a (clean) wine bottle will work too!
Give the tarts a signature pie shape using individual tart pans. You can buy these online for a fair price or use a standard size muffin tin instead.
Add the right toppings
Top each pumpkin pie tartlet with pecans, whipped cream, my seven minute frosting, or a dash of cinnamon. You can also cut fun shapes out of the scrap dough using a cookie cutter and place them on top of the tarts before they go in the oven.
It's time to bake!
Now it's your turn to make a batch of these individual tarts! When you do, please leave a comment below so I can hear what you think!
Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 to 3 tablespoons ice water
- Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces (smaller than a pea) and the flour mixture feels sandy, about 20 pulses.
- Add the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon ice water. Pulse until the dough begins to come together (if needed add an additional 1-2 tablespoons ice water). Do not allow the dough to form a ball in the food processor!
- Once the dough begins to come together, remove from the processor onto a large piece of parchment and knead a few times until the dough forms a ball.
- Shape into a disk, about 1-inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle, about ⅛-inch thick, and cut out rounds about ½-inch wider than the top diameter of your tart pans.
- Gently press the dough into tart pans and trim away any excess.
- Reroll scraps of dough and repeat with remaining tart pans.
- Dock dough into tart pans and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place a piece of parchment over each tart shell and fill with pie weights.
- Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
- Carefully remove parchment and weights and bake until the edges and bottoms of the tart shells are golden, about 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before filling with tart mixture.
Filling & Assembly
- Mix sugars, salt and spices together in a small bowl.
- Whisk egg in a medium bowl and stir in pumpkin, evaporated milk, vanilla bean paste and spice mixture. Strain using a fine-mesh sieve.
- Place tart shells, still in their individual pans, onto a large rimmed baking sheet and evenly divide the pumpkin mixture among the tarts. You may have a little filling left over.
- Bake until the edges of the filling are set and the centers have a slight jiggle, about 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely and top with whipped cream to serve!
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