Recipe: Mini Pumpkin-Maple Tarts with Toasted Pecan Streusel
Summary: Deeply spiced maple-scented filling that sports a crunchy toasted streusel topping, these Mini Pumpkin Maple Tarts are the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
- For the filling
- 1 cup pure pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the crusts
- 7 ounces pie dough (homemade or store-bought)
- For the toasted pecan streusel
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) toasted pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
- Make the filling: Put the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl or 4-cup measure (this makes it easy to fill the tarts). Whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until just blended.
- Line the tart pans: Lightly grease ten regular-sized (2-3/4-inch diameter) muffin cups. If using homemade dough, roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness on a very lightly floured surface. If using store-bought dough, unroll it on a very lightly floured surface. Using a 3-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 8 rounds. Gather up the scraps, reroll to a 1/8-inch thickness, and cut another round. Reroll and cut one more round for a total of 10 rounds of dough.
- Working with one round at a time, use your finger to gently press the dough into a prepared muffin cup, making sure that there are no air bubbles in the bottom and that the dough is pressed firmly and evenly up the side to within 1/4-inch of the top of the cup. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds.
- Fill and bake the tarts: Evenly spoon (or pour if you’re using a 4-cup measure) the filling into the lined muffin cups. Bake until the crusts are golden brown and the centers jiggle slightly when the pan is nudged, 27-29 minutes.
- While the tarts are baking, make the streusel topping. Put the pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
- Move the muffin tin to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a thin, metal spatula or the tip of a paring knife, carefully remove the tarts from the muffin cups and set them on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with some of the pecan streusel.
- Makes 10 mini tarts.
Note from the author
- The tarts can be filled, covered in plastic, and stowed in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking. 
- You’ll get the deepest maple flavor from grade B, but if it’s not available, use the darkest grade A that you can find.
- Before sprinkling the tarts with the pecan streusel, drop a small dollop of sweetened whipped cream onto the center of the tarts.
“Mini Treats and Hand-Held Sweets: 100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat,” by Abigail Johnson Dodge (The Taunton Press; $22.95)
I needed more than 10 tarts, so I baked them in mini muffin tins to yield 20 mini-mini tarts. I made these alterations:
- Used a 2 ½-inch diameter cutter (drinking glass…easy!) to cut my circles.
- Used a 2-inch diameter mini muffin pan.
- Used a turkey baster to fill the tiny tarts. Suck up the filling in the baster and squirt it out to fill the tiny shells.
- Baked at 375F degrees for 25 minutes.
- Baked them a day ahead and kept them at room temperature (or you can refrigerate). The next day, I carried them to my party and sprinkled the topping on while I was putting them on the platter there.
- There will actually be enough filling for 24 mini-mini tarts, so if you like, open another package of pie dough and cut 4 additions rounds, so you can make a total of 24 mini-mini tarts.
- Do yourself a favor and use the Pillsbury rolled pie crusts.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 27 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 10 (20-24 if you make mini-mini tarts like me)
Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)