Pumpkin Puff Pastry Tart with Apple-Cranberry Stuffed Crust – Halloween inspired dessert with holiday ingredients, such as pumpkin, apples, and dried cranberries.
I have named this recipe a nightmare harvest. This not your simple pumpkin puff pastry tart. This tart is decorated with some Halloween themed edible creations, such as chocolate bugs and cinnamon apple puff pastry turnovers that look like wizard hats, and apple and pear mummies.
And, I have a story to tell you. Once upon a time, the pumpkin pie got infested with little chocolate bugs, chocolate spiders, and chocolate worms. Some of these creatures have eyes and are staring right back at you from the tart. But, thankfully, there are three magic wizard hats (with cinnamon apple filling) to save the harvest. It’s a battle: the bugs have managed to cover one of the pumpkin tarts with the spider web; the apple and the pear each got mummified and terrified. The bugs are trying to penetrate the crust stuffed with cinnamon apple and cranberries. Even pecans and cranberries are crawling around.
I am VERY EXCITED about my Halloween pumpkin puff pastry tart with apple-cranberry stuffed crust. I made it for a Halloween Baking Challenge Featuring Puff Pastry, held by Pepperidge Farm and SeriousEats.com – a contest about finding creative ways to use Puff Pastry in Fall and/or Halloween themed entertaining recipes.
Update 10/23/2012: I am one of the 5 finalists! Which is very exciting and flattering. Now it’s voting time, until October 26, and it looks like a couple of other entries are receiving majority of votes. Not mine, unfortunately. 🙁 Well, at least I made it to the finals.
I was already on the Puff Pastry kick for the last 2 weeks, making this plum and apple puff pastry tart and these little puff pastry pizzas with mushrooms and bell peppers. And I spent way too much time thinking about what to make for this Halloween challenge, but in the process I had so much fun, I forgot it was for a contest! It sort of became more of a personal challenge: how creative I can get with the Halloween themed recipes, using puff pastry. Of course, I would love to be one of the five finalists (I am one of 5 finalists ! – update as of 10/23/12) or win the contest, because the prize is very special to my heart: trip to NYC. I love NYC, and if I win this, I just can see myself strolling through all the pastry tours, having so much fun! And then I can blog about that experience with lots of photos right here, on this blog. Either way, I am very happy with my Halloween creation and I hope you like it too!
Here is how much thought I put into this Halloween Pumpkin Puff Pastry Tart with Apple-Cranberry Stuffed Crust, and what I am trying to communicate through this Halloween dessert:
- An obvious Halloween and Fall theme, plus a story through the presentation – I wanted my pumpkin puff pastry tart to be canvas on which I could draw: chocolate bugs infesting the pumpkin pie; wizard hats are there to magically save the tart; the apple and the pear are mummified and terrified.
- Use of Fall and Halloween ingredients. This dessert is all about pumpkin, apples, cranberries, cinnamon, sugar. I even have pecans scattered around. And of course, what is Halloween without chocolate?? That’s where chocolate bugs come into play.
- I wanted it to be both pretty and creepy. Sometimes Halloween foods can be downright disgusting, such as foods that look like fingers or intestines or something bleeding. I wanted something creepy but not overly disgusting. Chocolate bugs add creepiness to my harvest presentation, and 3 wizard hats pretty much balance out all the creepiness, right? And how creepy can chocolate bugs really get?
- I wanted to use all natural ingredients, without resorting to food coloring or weird dyes. While I do like those bright orange, black, and purple cakes, I just wanted the real Fall colors, such as orange from the pumpkin, black from the chocolate, and red from the cranberries. So, in this recipe you will not find any artificial food coloring or exaggerated dyes.
- I wanted something that looked rustic, because that’s what the Fall is all about to me. Pumpkin puff pastry tart looks pretty rustic to me. And, I like it that way!
- Simplicity. How more simple can you go? Roll the dough, fill with the filling. Fill the wizard hats. Bake. Melt the chocolate, make the bugs. This thing took me just an hour to make.
Do you think I have achieved what I wanted here? What do you think?
Pumpkin filling to go on top of puff pastry:
1 sheet of puff pastry with edges stuffed with cranberries and apples:
Pumpkin filling spread over puff pastry, without overfilling the stuffed edges (edges stuffed with apples and cranberries):
In a similar manner, create smaller shapes from puff pastry, such as smaller circles or rectangles. Line and stuff the edges in the similar manner with remaining chopped apples and cranberries:
To assemble make sure pumpkin puff pastry tarts are completely cooled before adding chocolate bugs to them otherwise chocolate will melt. Decorate pumpkin tarts with chocolate bugs, snakes, warms, and wizard hats. Something like what you see on these photos below:
You can find more detailed tutorials for all Halloween recipes described in this post by following these links:
- Cinnamon apple puff pastry turnovers
- Spooky Halloween Chocolate Bugs
- Halloween Mummy Pastries with Apples and Pears
Halloween inspired delicious dessert: Pumpkin Puff Pastry Tart with Apple-Cranberry Stuffed Crust. You can further decorate this tart with chocolate bugs, puff pastry wizard hats, and puff pastry apple and pear mummies. I provide tutorial for how to make all this!
- 4 oz cream cheese , softened
- 8 oz pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons butter , softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 apple , cored and peeled
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling
In a medium size bowl, beat softened cream cheese and pumpkin. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, softened butter and sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Chop 1/2 apple finely and mix with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Let the mixture sit until apples get nice and juicy. Add cranberries and mix. In a separate small container, whisk 1 egg with a fork for egg wash.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on parchment paper. Using a pie pan as a template (I used a pie pan of 9 inches diameter – actually the pan base was 8 inches in diameter), draw gently with the knife a 9-inch (or 8 inch) circle on a pastry sheet, without cutting the pastry sheet.
By drawing a circle, you will have extra edges beyond that circle. In a thin line, place chopped apples and cranberries along the drawn circle line around the edges of the pastry circle. Fold the edges of the pastry sheet over to enclose apples and cranberries and press to seal. Brush the seam and edges of pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle sugar over the edges of the puff pastry. (Refer to the photos above this recipe box)
Spread about 1/2 of pumpkin filling over puff pastry, without overfilling the edges.
In a similar manner, create smaller shapes from the second puff pastry sheet, such as smaller circles or rectangles. Stuff the edges of these smaller tarts in the similar manner with remaining chopped apples and cranberries.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the center is almost set.
Cool puff tarts completely before assembly (before you add chocolate bugs)
The pumpkin filling for this recipe was inspired by a part of recipe by Paula Deen published on SeriousEats.com (the portion about pumpkin filling).