Bruleed Pumpkin Custard Tart

March 14, 2009 at 8:20 am 33 comments

Happy PI day readers!

Get it? It’s March 14th… 3.14!

Now that is some GREAT nerd love for you right there.

I think many bakers are nerdy. Maybe it’s just me. But I am proud to be a nerd. Don’t you think that baking is kinda nerdy? Measuring ingredients is a science. Why do you think that Rachael Ray says she doesn’t like to bake? You can’t do a palmful of this and a pinch of that in baking. It’s a precise craft. That’s why I love it. Makes me feel like my chemistry labs in college weren’t a waste of time. Although I do admit that when mixing a liter of this and a gallon of that went *kaboom poof*, I did a little jig.

Clara, hate to break it to you but you made a tart. Not a pie.

Au contraire, mon frère.

Dictionarynoun: a small pie filled with cooked fruit or other sweetened preparation, usually having no top crust. slang: a prostitute or promiscuous woman.

(Sorry I had to throw in the slang because it made me laugh. I rarely use “tart” in the slang reference. I prefer slut or whore myself. IE. My ex-SIL is a lying cheating whore. See? It works so much better.)

But there are mixed feelings on the whole tart-pie controversy among my tweeples. (That’s twitter+people for the ignorant.)

So… break the tie for me? Is a tart a pie? and why?

Recipe from Catch The Spoon

Makes 1-9inch tart (8-10 servings)


Dough for 1 pie crust (I used Dorie Greenspan’s pie dough recipe)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup whole milk (I used half-and-half instead)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
pinch salt
2 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

9″ round fluted tart pan, buttered (I used my 9.5″ tart pan)


Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Fit pie dough into the tart pan and dock with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes and cool, in pan, on a wire rack.

[NOTES: I followed Smitten Kitchen’s fabulous pie dough unfolding technique using a 11-inch plate (she used 12-inch) template. So easy!]

Lower oven temperature to 350F degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together canned pumpkin, milk, cream, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, spices, salt, and eggs until well-combined. Pour into crust and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until filling is almost set. Cool to room temperature, then cover and chill 6 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over top of tart; melt sugar under broiler or with a kitchen torch to desired brulee. Serve immediately.


Husband rating: A/A+
Hubs is a pumpkin fan so he had more than one slice. Even though recipe says 8-10 servings I think I only got about 6 servings b/c he cut himself a PHAT slice for each helping. haha

Wifey rating: A
I am not a big pumpkin fan but add some burned sugar on top and you got an amazing dessert. Maybe next time I’ll dollop some whipped cream on top too. I am a little bummed that the crust kinda shrank but next time I use Dorie’s recipe I’ll follow her pie baking instructions instead of “docking with a fork”.

Other rating: A+
T’s mom and dad raved about the pie. They both love pumpkin. T’s dad called dibs on the leftovers after eating his first bite. It was hilarious.

Entry filed under: dessert. Tags: , , .

NFR: Lego My Photo When twittering gets you in trouble…

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. fergojisan  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:45 am

    This looks very good. To further add to the confusion, I would actually call this a torte. :)

    And I am a baker and I am nerdy, and proud of both! Yay!

    • 2. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

      Arrrggghh! Tort??! My poor little pie-tart-torte. It has a serious identity crisis right now. HAHA

  • 3. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats)  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Tart or pie, it makes no difference. It’s pumpkin and brulee! What more could one want!

    • 4. Tracey  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

      Brilliant! This looks so delicious.

      Can I vote that some tarts are pies? This tart definitely is!

      • 5. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm

        I like that. Some tarts are pies. What about the other way? Are some pies… tarts?

    • 6. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm

      Exactly! You can’t go wrong with brulee I say ;)

  • 7. Amanda @ Fake Ginger  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Yum! I’m definitely trying this one. And I’m not sharing with anyone!

    I always thought tarts and pies were 2 different things. I mean, I use 2 different crust recipes and everything.

    I don’t know though. I’m no professional.

    • 8. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      I have no idea either. I am far from a professional. I’d say they are similar but not exactly the same. But who knows for sure? Maybe I could email Paula Dean. I get the feeling she’s eaten alot of pies… hehe

  • 9. Caitlin  |  March 14, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I’d say a tart is a sub-species of pie. Like how a square is a subspecies of quadrilateral. Take that, geek-dom! Happy Pi Day!

    • 10. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      Sub-pieces? Bahahaha. I can always count on you to bring nerd to a new level. ;)

  • 11. foodlibrarian  |  March 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Completely agree with Caitlin! (Except it takes an engineer to talk about the quadrilateral…) I love math but I don’t remember any of it… Happy Pi Day! (Also, I think Pi day is about making things round – stuff that can be measured in pi, so if your tart is round, more power to you…oh yeah, and I made something in a tart shell too!!)

    • 12. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      Ooohhh really? Making things round huh? That’s a cool way of looking at the “holiday” too. I’ll just go with that. haha

  • 13. Maria  |  March 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Happy Pi day to you! The tart/pie looks wonderful. I think you can call it whatever you want, you made it:)

    • 14. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

      Now that is the best answer I’ve read all day. I made it! I get to call it whatever I want! I love it. Therefore I dub thee. Tarpie. Get it. Tart+pie LOL

  • 15. Steph  |  March 14, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Nice tarrt/pie! I never really thought about what the difference was. I guess I decide based on the pan.

    I totally agree about the whole nerdy baking thing. I think that’s why I love it so much because you have to be so accurate.

    • 16. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

      Hmmm… that’s true. It does require different pans but when you think about it. A tart pan and a pie pan don’t look that different to me. Who knows. I admit that I love my tart pan more than my pie pan though. Is that weird?

  • 17. Chelle  |  March 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Tart is not a pie!!

    • 18. CB  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm

      Webster dictionary disagrees… haha

  • 19. saoirsediarmuid  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    It’s a pie.

    • 20. CB  |  March 15, 2009 at 7:38 am

      I agree (because it helps my goals).

  • 21. Girl  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I am so happy you made this.. you did a fantastic, stunning job! you’ll have to send me a silk pad!!! Tarte Pan, Pie Pan– I am not sure about the difference, perhaps a tart pan is not as deep?

  • 22. Girl  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    It is a tart, a tart is open vs a pie, a tart is also 1.5 in depth where as a pie is much more deeper… you made a tarte!!!

    • 23. CB  |  March 15, 2009 at 7:39 am

      Webster’s dictionary disagrees with you. I have to go with Webster’s dictionary b/c it helps prove my point. haha

  • 24. Ninabeth  |  March 15, 2009 at 6:03 am

    I think it’s a tart since you used a tart pan. :) Looks delish!!

    • 25. CB  |  March 15, 2009 at 7:40 am

      Mmmm… that IS a good point. Darn you.

  • 26. Marthe  |  March 15, 2009 at 6:23 am

    A tart or a pie…. Does it really matter? The most important is that it tastes great!!

    • 27. CB  |  March 15, 2009 at 7:40 am

      You’re right! A rose by any other name…

  • 28. Girl  |  March 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

    tart, tart ,tart! Woot woot! Damn I have to google Webster now…

    • 29. CB  |  March 17, 2009 at 5:09 am

      Yeah! Websters knows all.

  • 30. pinkstripes  |  March 16, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Your tart looks gorgeous and sounds yummy. A tart is a pie, imo.

    • 31. CB  |  March 17, 2009 at 5:10 am

      Another tart is a pie vote! w00t!

  • 32. Linda  |  March 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Mmm..pie…drool. Doing my Homer Simpson impression.

    According to, it says to frig the crust in the tin for 30min to 1 hour. It helps the gluten in the dough to relax.

    • 33. CB  |  March 17, 2009 at 5:11 am

      *gurgling* Pie. (I heart Homer Simpson.) Thanks for tip about pie dough. Will have to try that next time :)


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