Chocolate Pumpkin Tart with Cinnamon Whipped Cream from The Vintage Baker

Alrighty then, I’m at it again with another pumpkin dessert. Me, the peep who keeps going on about how ambivalent she feels about pumpkin . . . But here’s the thing: when you host Thanksgiving (and tho I am not doing so this year, I do so most years) and you are into baking and sweets-making (me, again) you kinda/sorta have to bake up a pumpkin pie, or at the very least something resembling a pumpkin pie. Prior to writing my second cookbook, The Vintage Baker, the dessert I made to mimic a traditional pie of the pumpkin variety was a pumpkin mousse tart (or a pumpkin chiffon tart) with a gingersnap crust and lots of billowy whipped cream.
I chose to develop such a light and fluffy and — if I do say so myself — divine pumpkin treat to serve instead of pie because I often find the pumpkin custard filling of a traditional pie just too thick. I wanted something more like pumpkin pudding or mousse filling my crust, not slightly gelatinous (sorry) custard. And I decided to place said light and airy filling in a gingersnap crumb crust because — yum — but also because cookie crumb crusts are easy peasy and I love easy-peasy. But then I wrote The Vintage Baker and because I was forced to include a pumpkin pie-ish recipe in the book (more on that below) I suddenly find myself with a choice of two delicious pumpkin desserts for Thanksgiving — the above mentioned pumpkin mousse tart OR, wait for it, a pumpkin tart with a chocolate cookie crust. You see,  I had no choice but to include a recipe for something pumpkin pie-ish in my book because the book is full of some of the most common “vintage” recipes that I stumbled upon over and over again when researching (via my collection of vintage recipe booklets). And to say I stumbled upon pumpkin pie recipes in my collection is an understatement. 
But here’s the thing, even tho I felt I had to include one — in light of what the research revealed — I did not feel the recipe had to be one for straight up pumpkin pie, and so I developed a tart with a chocolate cookie crust because I love cookie crusts (as I mentioned above), and because I adore the combo of chocolate and pumpkin. And so this is a very long way of saying that now little-old-pumpkin-hating me has two pumpkin pie-ish recipes up her sleeve to pull out on Thanksgiving; and if I love them both, you are guaranteed to feel similarly.
Photo by: Alice Gao

The recipe is in my book, and if you do not yet own a copy, might I suggest you purchase one. But if that is not in the cards for you in the immediate future and you need to make this tart now (and I feel you on that, by the way), the recipe can be found on Salon

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Pumpkin Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan
Course Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine Tart
Keyword pumpkin


For the crust:

  • 6 oz crisp chocolate wafer cookies about 2/3rds of a box of Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Cookies
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsps unsalted butter melted

For the filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsps packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 10 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg rounded

For the chocolate drizzle:

  • 2 oz dark chocolate melted

For the cinnamon whipped cream:

  • 3 cups heavy cream chilled
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the crust:

  • Place the wafers and granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until finely ground. Add the melted butter and process until combined.
  • Transfer the crumbs to a 9-in round tart pan with a removable bottom and, using your fingers, press the crumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or up to three days, tightly covered in plastic wrap.
  • Bake the crust for eight to ten minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until dry to the touch and slightly puffy.

For the filling:

  • In a large bowl, add the cream, eggs, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown and granulated sugars, pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture bubbles and sputters. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for another five minutes.
  • Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture, a little at a time so it does not curdle the eggs. If lumpy, strain the mixture through a wire mesh sieve, and transfer to the prepared tart pan. Do not fill the tart past the edge of the crust.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Begin checking the tart at 15 minutes; it is ready when the center just jiggles the tiniest bit. Let cool completely on a wire rack on the counter before placing it in the refrigerator for at least four hours or up to overnight, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

For the chocolate drizzle:

  • Place the melted chocolate in a zippered plastic bag, cut a very tiny hole in the corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the tart. Let set before serving.

For the whipped cream:

  • Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium to medium- high speed until the cream begins to thicken, two to three minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and continue whisking until soft peaks form.

To serve:

  • Serve slices of tart topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • The tart will keep, tightly covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to three days

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