Mini Apple Tartlets with Pumpkin Spice Caramel Sauce

Posted on by on September 26th, 2011 | 55 Comments »

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

For Filling

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


For Crust

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.

For Sauce 

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.
Set aside.

To assemble

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.


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  1. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    Wow. That caramel sauce looks sinful!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks! It is pretty sinful! I am lucky it turned out the way it did!

  2. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    BETH!!! these are incredible!!! Your photography is amazing!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Aw thank you so much Claire!

  3. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    Love the photos and these sound amazing! I think you possibly created my dream dessert I love pumpkin caramel and apples. BUZZED!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Lindsey!! It is a pretty dreamy dessert. I mean who wouldnt love apple pumpkin and caramel flavors all in one yummy tartlet!

  4. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    Whoa-this is a great save from the original intended creation of fudge! I think I like this more than I would have liked the fudge…that last picture is awesome. This dessert would be hard for anyone to say no to-well done!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Tina! I am happy that the fudge didnt turn out because I think I like this even more then I would have that!!

  5. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    Oh my… this looks so good! I think I actually like the idea of a pumpkin caramel sauce way more than a pumpkin fudge… obviously, the failed fudge was just the universe’s way of getting you onto the right track. 🙂
    PS – You may be jealous of our weather right now, but you’ll have the last laugh when we’re all shivering in subzero temperatures in a few months. So I guess it all evens out in the end.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Isabelle! I think I like this better the the would have been fudge too!! I know I am jealous now but I will be very happy I am here and not in NY come wintertime! I am not a fan of sub zero temperatures at all!

  6. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    I am so excited that I have a jar of this in my fridge right now 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Waiting to put it on ice cream. Those apple tartlettes look insanely beautiful.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Katherine, this will be SO good on ice cream. And, lucky for you, you just bought about 5 kilos of it! LOL

  7. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    I love making mini tarts, and this recipe sounds so good!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks. Mini tarts are the best. Nothing like an individual dessert that you dont have to share with anyone!

  8. Posted on: 9-26-2011

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Can I have a jar too please?!!! hehehe Those tartlettes look so beautiful!! And the combination of apple, spices and pumpkin caramel sauce sounds delicious! I too miss fall… we are getting into spring here, but I find that there are not 4 different seasons here like I am used to… it’s more summer and spring… that’s it. No leaves falling from trees, no smells in the air… nothing… SIGH

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Manu! We too only really have spring and summer. Mostly summer. Its hard not having fall weather and all the awesome stuff that comes along with it but I do have to say I dont complain come December and I am still able to sit on a beach!

  9. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Wow these look so delicious and your pictures are gorgeous! What a great recipe! 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks so much Kelly!

  10. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Pumpkin Spice caramel sauce?!! holy heck, this sounds amazing!!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Stephanie!!

  11. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Oh, my gosh…you reeled me in with the pumpkin spice caramel sauce! Fabulous dessert!!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Hahah yeah I think that pumpkin spice caramel sauce definitely sells this dessert!

  12. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Okay so…a couple things:
    1) Beautiful photography!
    3) LOVE the combo of the apple tartlet w/ the pumpkin caramel sauce! Pumpkin is sooo good.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Colleen! I love pumpkin, its a favorite!

  13. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    I love fall and I love everything about this recipe. The sauce, the tartlets…yum. Comforting and delicious!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Cassie. They really are comforting!! Fall in a little tart!

  14. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    Posted on: 9-27-2011

    I’m like you, I love the romanticism of fall but now live in perpetual heat. But that shouldn’t stop us from cooking fall recipes, right? Love your tartlets but some of them look like cobblers! I’m writing up a cobbler post now, so that’s why I noticed it. Aren’t we lucky to have married very practical and resourceful husbands? I wouldn’t have known what to do with the failed pumpkin fudge either.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      I totally agree Maya! Perpetual heat should not in any way mean no fall foods!!! Plus, we can dream about changing leaves and pumpkin spiced lattes all we want!!! Having resourceful husbands is a definite plus, I would have thrown out the unset fudge and never would have ended up with this awesome sauce!

  15. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Ohhhhh Beth, this looks so yummy! And gorgeous pictures of tartlets! Caramel sauce looks yummy too. I’m glad you are enjoying Fall season and flavor even in still-summer-like weather. I miss fall a lot, especially foliage. Fall is a beautiful season in Japan but California is too warm for nice foliage.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-27-2011

      Thanks Nami!! I try to still enjoy fall here!! I miss the foliage too. I used to love driving to upstate New York to see all the beautiful leaves changing color.

  16. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    These tartlets looks divine….. Sauce is a killer.
    And that mini sauce pitcher… Love it.
    I miss fall here in california…..the leaves changing colors, the fall air everything…
    Beth this looks absolutely beautiful, love the pictures girl.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Reem!!! That little sauce pitcher was a find in an old box in the attic!

  17. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    These look fantastic. Love the sound of the pumpkin caramel sauce!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Carolyn! The pumpkin caramel sauce is a winner for sure.

  18. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Those tarts look so cute!!! And I love that you add more sweet fall goodness with your caramel sauce. We don’t get much of a fall here in SD. Then again, it’s usually Spring-Fall like weather all year round! Just a little deceptive with palm trees instead of regular trees changing colors with the seasons…

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Laura! Even if you dont have fall in SD you do have the best weather ever! I would love love love to move to SD one day!

  19. Posted on: 9-27-2011

    Love the combination of apples, pumpkin and caramel! Pumpkin anything is OK with me so I am excited that Fall is here. Just made some Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers for one of my clients a few weeks ago and had a hard time finding a can of pumpkin. Guess I was jumping the gun! 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Southwestern pumpkin burgers?! That sounds amazing!

  20. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    Oh wow, that caramel sauce looks perfect! The tarts sound delicious. I love anything that is mini, and these are just cute!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Erin! I agree, anything mini is so cute!

  21. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    Way to turn the failed fudge into something amazing! This sauce sounds so good and the tarts are absolutely beautiful!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Peggy! I couldnt have done it without my husband trying to turn the failed fudge into a science experiment!

  22. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    These tarts look incredible! And the recipe, especially that pumpkin spice caramel sauce, sound super delicious! I love fall but mostly for the food – we don’t get much fall weather here.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Russell! After moving to Israel, I also enjoy fall through the food and not the weather.

  23. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    Come to Seattle- we have plenty of fall here! And this recipe looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. LOVE!! Especially that pumpkin spice caramel sauce- oh my…

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Sarah! I think Seattle weather is the complete opposite of the weather here in Beer Sheva!! It would be a welcome change!

  24. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    Good save on the pumpkin caramel, these tartlets look better than fudge! I miss autumn too but I have already bought a pair of tan/caramel boots, I don’t care they’re gorgeous and I will wear them eventually. I’ve got a navy and caramel thing going on at the moment!! 😀

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Natalie! I have many clothes and shoes that I have bought because I love them and feel like I will wear eventually!!!

  25. Posted on: 9-28-2011

    These tartlets look great – good thing they’re mini – lol! Love the autumn inspired spices. Yum!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thanks Kelly!! Individual portions are always a plus!

  26. Posted on: 9-29-2011

    Oh those look deeeelicious!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-30-2011

      Thank you!!!

  27. Posted on: 10-1-2011

    Great save Beth, this looks so good and perfect for this time of year. Heck, it’s perfect any time of year!

  28. Posted on: 10-3-2011

    This definitely does have the tastes of fall! Love these tarts and the way your husband saved the fudge into caramel sauce. Of course for me – why have fudge when you can have caramel sauce? 🙂 Lovely post!

  29. lori Carstensen
    Posted on: 11-15-2011

    I’m making this tonight for my husband as a surprise and I can’t wait it looks amazing thanks for sharing

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