Mini pumpkin pie tarts without evaporated milk

Little pumpkin tarts are like mini pumpkin pies

This recipe for mini pumpkin pie tarts starts with an all-butter pie crust and they are baked in small tart pans with removable bottoms. The filling is just like pumpkin pie filling, made without evaporated milk, using whipping cream instead, flavoured with autumn spices.

Mini pumpkin pie tarts served on white plates with forks

Homemade versus store-bought pumpkin purée

There’s nothing worse than needing canned pumpkin and not finding it at the grocery store. The local markets are usually full of pumpkins for pie as of September. And it turns out a 3 kilo pumpkin costs $2 and when you’ve roasted, blended, and strained it, you end up with a whole kilo of homemade pumpkin purée that is thick enough for baking. So for $2, you can make 4 cups of pumpkin purée. Not bad if you ask me.

With that pumpkin purée, you can make so many autumn treats, like whole wheat pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin pie shakes, maple pumpkin bread. Whether you opt for canned or homemade is entirely up to you, but there are tricks to baking with pumpkin purée.

Pumpkin tarts ready for the oven

Strain that purée

If you use homemade pumpkin purée for this recipe (or most any), it’s very important to strain it through a cheesecloth to remove excess water, otherwise your pie filling (and other pumpkin baked goods) might end up soggy and wet. You can save that pumpkin water and make bread with it or freeze it to throw into smoothies and pumpkin pie shakes. And as for the leftover pumpkin purée, I froze it in ice cube trays, and I found that 10 iced cubes is equivalent to 1 cup of purée.  Some commercial brands can also be a little loose or watery and may benefit from straining. If you find that your baked goods made with pumpkin come out with a gummy layer on the bottom, consider straining the purée next time before baking with it. 

Pumpkin purée versus pumpkin pie filling

If you opt to buy the pumpkin purée, that’s totally fine. But when you head to the grocery store, make sure to read the label because many brands offer two pumpkin products, pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie filling, and these are NOT interchangeable:

  • Pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin is pure pumpkin (sometimes squash). The flesh of the fruit has been cooked and blended to a purée before canning. When you bake with canned pumpkin purée, you will have to add spices to the mixture.
  • Pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin pie mix is made from pure pumpkin, mixed with salt, spices, water, oil, and even some dextrose. This canned purée is already mixed with spices, but you still need to add eggs and cream or evaporated milk.

Substitution guidelines

pumpkin purée is pure pumpkin, whereas pumpkin pie mix is pumpkin with spices. If you want to make a baking substitution and use one instead of the other, read the label on the back of the can and adjust your recipe accordingly:

  • if you are replacing pumpkin purée with pumpkin pie mix: you might want to skip the spices in your recipe since the pie mix already has some
  • if you are replacing pumpkin pie mix with pumpkin purée: you might need to add spices to your recipe since pie mix is already spiced and purée has none.

Little pumpkin tarts on white plates


For the all-butter pie crust, you can make it by hand, rubbing the cold pieces of butter into the flour in a big bowl before adding the cold water. You can also use a food processor, which is faster. Once the dough is made, you should definitely chill it for at least 30 minutes to give the flour time to hydrate. When you are ready to roll it out, I suggest dividing the dough into 8 just before you roll it rather than cutting out 8 circles from a larger sheet of rolled out dough: it’s easier to divide the dough this way, whereas you might have a hard time cutting out 8 circles of dough from a larger rolled out disk and you’d have to re-roll the scraps to make it work. If that doesn’t make sense, just trust me on it. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, then roll it out into 8 circles.

Remember that the best way to remove a tart from a tart pan is to set it carefully over a narrow object. This way you can slide the ring off and your mini pumpkin pie tarts should slide right off the bottom easily at that point.

Individual pumpkin tarts garnished with sweetened whipped cream piped on top, served on white plates.

For the pumpkin filling, this recipe calls for whipping cream so the pumpkin pie tarts are made without evaporated milk. I don’t often buy evaporated milk and I find whipping cream more convenient: you need to buy whipping cream to make the garnish for the tarts, so you might as well use it to make the filling too!

Little pumpkin tarts
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5 from 1 vote

Mini pumpkin pie tarts

A recipe for homemade pumpkin pie tarts, like mini pumpkin pies that are the perfect dessert for thanksgiving celebrations
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword mini pumpkin tarts
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 461kcal
Author Janice


OXO whisk
Rolling pin
Mini tart pans
Hand blender


All-butter crust

  • 250 grams (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 173 grams (¾ cup) Stirling Creamery Churn 84 salted butter cut into small pieces and kept really cold until you are ready to use it
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 47 grams (3 tbsp) cold water if dough is dry add 1 extra tablespoon of water

Pumpkin tart filling

  • 250 grams (1 cup) pumpkin purée or strained homemade pumpkin purée
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) light brown sugar
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 80 mL ( cup) whipping cream (35 % fat)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 0.625 mL (1/8 tsp) ground nutmeg
  • 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Whipped cream

  • 250 mL (1 cup) whipping cream (35 % fat)
  • 25 grams (5 tsp) icing sugar
  • 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) pure vanilla extract


To make the crust

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Drop in the diced butter.
  • Work the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the mixture quickly between your palms until the mixture ressembles a crumble.
  • Add the water, work it in slowly with your fingers to form a dough. Divide the mixture in 2, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Take 1 disk of dough out of the fridge (each disk will make 4 tarts for 8 total). Divide it in 4 and roll each quarter into a round so that it is larger than your 3 3/4" fluted tart pans (similar to these on Amazon). Fit each round of dough into each pan and trim the excess. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 8 tart shells total.
  • Chill the tart shells while you make the filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

To make the filling

  • In a deep bowl with a hand blender, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, cream, egg, and spices.
  • Divide the filling between the 8 unbaked shells. Place the pans on a large baking sheet.

To bake the tarts

  • Place the tarts on a baking sheet. Bake the tarts on the bottom rack of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. The edges should begin to brown and the filling should appear set.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool (you can unmold them after 10 minutes using my trick to remove tarts from tart pans!)

Finish the tarts

  • Prepare the whipping cream, by whipping the cold cream until it forms soft peaks, then adding in the vanilla and icing sugar, and whipping to firm peaks.
  • Dollop the cream on the tarts or pipe to decorate them.


I baked this recipe with Churn 84 salted butter
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenhealssoul or tag #kitchenhealssoul!


Calories: 461kcal

I do my best to bake with the finest ingredients. Stirling Creamery, a Canadian company, has provided the butter for this post.

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21 Responses to Mini pumpkin pie tarts without evaporated milk

  1. ahu @ ahueats October 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM #

    Oh my goodness, how adorable are these! I suppose anything that starts with ‘little’ and ends with ‘tarts’ has to be cute!

    • Janice October 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM #


  2. Chocolate Shavings October 6, 2014 at 3:02 PM #

    These look delicious — and they’re so pretty! Love them.

    • Janice October 7, 2014 at 3:51 PM #

      Definitely yummy and worth trying, especially if you have the chance to make your own pumpkin purée. The flavour is much milder 🙂

  3. Marlene October 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM #

    Oh, these are little beauties! Love the way you piped on the cream.

    • Janice October 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM #

      Thanks, Marlene! And it’s not too hard to pipe little stars like this, honestly. If anything it’s good practice 😉

  4. Wanda October 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM #

    I love this idea..they look delicious!

  5. Julia @ Swirls and Spice October 7, 2014 at 3:46 PM #

    These would work in a muffin tin as well! Looks delicious!

    • Janice October 7, 2014 at 3:49 PM #

      Yes! Excellent point!

  6. Stephanie October 8, 2014 at 11:20 PM #

    Every time I open a can of pumpkin puree I think about how it’s just pure pumpkin, and it’s being baked into something else anyways…so why bother roasting my own to make a puree? I can see avoiding processed foods because of the additives, but when it’s just a pure vegetable it was hard to convince myself that pureeing my own would be worth the trouble

    But then you changed everything.. you can use the water to make bread with?! I don’t know why this fact is so fascinating to me but now I MUST make my own pumpkin just to try out some pumpkin water in a few bread recipes/

  7. michelle October 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM #

    If I didn’t want to make my own pumpkin puree, is there a nice brand that you would be able to recommend?? Thanks!

    • Janice October 10, 2014 at 11:44 PM #

      I think the one I usually buy is Libby’s, but I couldn’t find it at the end of September when I was working on this recipe. I bet Douceurs du Marché would have some now, as well as most grocery stores.

  8. Joseph Falcone September 15, 2018 at 7:14 PM #

    Can you make 1 regular pie with this recipe…?


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