Cardamom Pumpkin Tart with a Crème Fraîche Swirl

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Hello, friends. Long time, no talk…six months to be exact.

The holidays are the time of year when you have more time to do the things you love. That means binge-watching every episode of “Friends,” catching up with friends and family, and baking. Now that the semester of law school apps, living in the library, and drinking inordinate amount of coffee is finally over, I decided to resurrect this blog from its long hibernation and post about yesterday’s dessert.

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This year I wanted to make a dessert that was slightly fancier than the standard sugar cookie cutouts in the shape of snowmen, Santa, snowflakes, and various other Christmasy shapes you can think of. Enter this pumpkin tart.

I found the original recipe on Hummingbird High, one of my favorite baking blogs. The speculoos crust and the beautiful swirl pattern were the main reasons why the recipe caught my eye, and I figured it would be the perfect Christmas dessert.


I did alter the recipe slightly since I searched high and low for crème fraîche and could not find it anywhere. So, I decided to improvise and used sour cream, heavy cream, and a touch of maple syrup to make my own “crème fraîche.” I also cut back on the amount of cardamom the original recipe called for, since I really wanted the pumpkin in the filling to shine.

This ended up being a beautiful dessert, where the cardamom and cinnamon complemented the pumpkin perfectly, the filling was creamy thanks to the can of sweetened condensed milk stirred into it, and the speculoos crust was fantastic, since, truth be told, speculoos cookies are my favorite. The tart is fairly easy to put together and looks impressive on its own!

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Cardamom Pumpkin Tart with a Crème Fraîche Swirl

For the speculoos cookie crust:

10 oz speculoos cookies

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the pumpkin custard filling and crème fraîche swirl:

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

2 large eggs

2 oz sour cream

1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk

2 teaspoons maple syrup


For the speculoos cookie crust:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 F.

In a food processor, combine the speculoos cookies, brown sugar, and salt. Pulse together until finely ground. Add the melted butter and continue to pulse until the crumbs come together into giant clumps.

Transfer the crumbs into a 9-inch tart pan (with at least 1-inch tall sides and a removable bottom). Use your fingers to press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the tart pan; the crust should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly as you prepare the filling. Make sure to leave the oven on!

For the filling:

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt. Cook 5 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and glossy, making sure to stir constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk until combined. Add in the two eggs and mix until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, cream, and maple syrup and mix until incorporated. Pour the sour cream mixture into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and drizzle the mixture over the pumpkin filling in whatever pattern you desire. Use a toothpick to swirl the sour cream mixture across the filling.

Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the filling is set. (Gently wiggle the pan and the filling should wobble only slightly). Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes: 1 9-inch tart

Recipe adapted from Hummingbird High.



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