Make it. Eat it. Love it.
I miss fall *sigh*. The crisp fall air, changing colors of the leaves, chunky knitwear and boots. And, while most of the world is welcoming the change of season by sipping pumpkin spice lattes, pulling on knit tights, wearing their new Missoni for Target scarves, apple picking and getting wood ready for nights by the fireplace, I am still wearing shorts and sandals sipping on frozen lemonana, slathering on the sunscreen and blasting the AC. But, just because I live in perpetual summer heat doesn’t mean I can’t (or wont) join in on all of the amazing fall flavors and baking.
Pumpkin is popping up all over the shuk lately and while I usually delight at the sight of it, I have held off buying it because it’s just way to hot to start thinking of roasted pumpkin or pumpkin pie. After seeing so many amazing pumpkin recipes in the blogosphere I got jealous. I wanted cool mornings and crisp air. I wanted to go pumpkin picking and make pies. So, I went pumpkin picking. At the shuk. So what if I didn’t get to come home with beautiful big orange pumpkins. I still got to bake with my favorite fall ingredient.
This recipe started out as pumpkin fudge. As you can gather from the title of this post and the photos, pumpkin fudge failed. It was my first time making fudge and I was super excited to make a fall version of an old favorite. However, my fudge failed to set, the sugar crystalized from way to much mixing and I was left with a huge, and I mean huge dish of melted sugary stuff. My husband likes to turn failed cooking into his own experiment and he put it back on the stove added a bunch of milk, boiled it down and what we ended up with was a pumpkin caramely sauce. Yum.
I acquired some mini tartlet pans a short time ago and have been eager to use them for something awesome. Needing to do something with the 7 jars of sauce I had left I baked up these little guys. I used the sugar cookie pie crust from the lemon posset fruit tart I had made a long time back which is always a favorite. With fall flavors from the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and the pumpkin spice caramel sauce on top, you really cannot go wrong with these individual desserts.
For Crust (makes 4 tartlets or 1 large tart)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce (*this was originally a fudge recipe that didn’t set and I added milk to. Hopefully you will get the same results I did. OR the fudge may work for you and you will end up with fudge in which case, thats pretty awesome too!)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
2 apples, cut to fit tartlets (I cut into 4 wedges for the perimeter then chopped pieces for center)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons ginger
6 tablespoons pumpkin spice caramel sauce
Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg, mixing until incorporated.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until it forms a ball (do not over mix or the finished dough will be hard)
Remove pastry from bowl and form a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm. (You can refrigerate the dough for a day, or freeze for a longer period of time.)
Fill your pie tin with chilled dough. (you can roll it out first and fill the tin or as I did place dough in middle of the tin and with my hands spread it evenly covering the whole tin)
Prick bottom of dough with a fork to prevent it from puffing up as it bakes.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and boil over medium-low heat till mixture is combined and sugar is melted.
Add milk and cook until combined until mixture becomes a thick caramel sauce.
Let over sauce can be jarred and kept in the fridge for other uses. Rewarm in microwave before use.
Pre heat oven to 350F.
Grease tartlet pans and line each with the sugar cookie crust.
In a bowl combine the spices for the filling (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) and coat sliced apples.
Divide apples among the 4 tartlets.
Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of caramel sauce on each tartlet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve tartlets with left over caramel sauce to pour on top.