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Pumpkin Praline Tartelettes With Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Today, it actually felt like Fall for the first time. There was a little chill in the air this morning as we left for work, and we actually had to wear a little cardigan this evening while watching the sunset. The kind of weather that makes me very, very happy… I have been impatiently awaiting a good reason to make fall favorites such as pumpkins, cranberries, pomegranates and so forth. It is rather unusual to pop by the neighbors' house on a hot humid day with pumpkin praline pies and have they exclaimed "yeah, we had been craving those!". I tend to bring more fruit filled desserts or frozen ones. However, when I walked up the stairs to the twins' house with a small box of these tartelettes, I knew everybody had fall on their mind and a little place for them. C. opened the box while we were chatting on the steps and before we knew it there was cofffe brewing and the other neighbors chatting things up with us while the kids were already devising their Halloween parade….oh yeah, this year it is a parade!!

I know you have had or/and made countless amounts of pumpkin pies before so why would I was poetic about these? Well, there are the first I make this season and that is something so be tlaked about after month of scorching ht summer days and temperature refusing to drop below 80 degrees at night. It just feels nice to say the words "pumpkin pie". The tartlets were further enhanced by homemade butter pecan ice cream showcasing the first pecans our tree gave us and the delightful Moravian cookies we brought back from Winston – Salem this past weekend. Thanks again Abby for all your suggestions: Sweet Potaotes and their sister restaurant, The Cotton Mill were both great destinations for dinners the Reynolda house and Old Salem were incredible and we threw in the battlefield in Greensboro for good measure!

Back to the tartelettes….all my favorites in a couple of bites: an almond shorbread crust, rich pumpkin and praline filling and a little touch of ice cream because…well…just because homemade ice cream rocks! For the praline, I used this paste I was given by another pastry chef in town, a sales rep. dropped two of and she wanted me to give her my opinion. Being as busy as the next person, I like the convenience of already made pastry "aids" like nut pastes and fruit purees and this particular one did not disappoint. You can also make hazelnut praline (caramelized hazelnuts) and grind it fine and use as such in the following recipe, but you can find good and affordable pastes on the internet nowadays that will your time more efficient in the kitchen. The dough is my go-to nut and butter dough inspired by Dorie Greenspan. Feel free to change the nuts in it, walnuts work as good as (even better in my taste) almonds. It needs to be rolled between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and kept as cold as possible, even when handling. Use your fingertips to pat and patch it if it tears. The filling is inspired by the same Richard Leach I love and admire so much, except that I do not have time this week to follow through with his beautifully designed plated desserts. It was my first try at butter pecan ice cream and it has now become a new favorite. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the custard for a couple of hours, beat it with an electric mixer and refreeze again, repeating the operation 2-3 times, until you get a proper ice cream consistency. Feel free to use your favorite cookies for the ice cream sandwiches (the Moravian cookies I used had a ginger flavor).

Pumpkin Praline Tartelettes with Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Makes 8 4 inch tartelettes

Almond Short Dough:
In a food processor, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup walnuts and 1 stick of butter, pulse until it resembles coarse meal, add 1 egg yolk and pulse until combined into a ball. Flatten the into a disk in between sheets of plastic wrap, refrigerate and roll it out to cut rounds big enough to fit into 8 mini tart pans. The dough gets soft very fast so you can flour your fingertips to push it up and down the sides and bottom of the pan.
Bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Let cool before filling them.

Pumpkin Praline Filling:

1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (I used canned)
¼ cup praline paste
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup milk
Pinch of salt
¾ cup heavy cream
3 eggs

In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until combines. Combine the pumpkin and praline paste and cinnamon and add to the egg mixture. Slowly whisk in the milk and the cream. Divide evenly among the tart shells and bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until the custard just starts to set. Let cool to room temperature.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream:

Makes 1 quart

2 cups pecans (1/2 lb), chopped ( I like mine coarse)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans in a shallow baking pan in middle of oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Add butter and salt to hot pecans and toss until butter is melted, then cool pecans completely.
Whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar and cornstarch, then whisk in the eggs until combined. Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add to egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly, and transfer custard back to the saucepan.
Cook custard over medium low heat heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon (do not let boil).
Immediately pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla, then cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. Stir together ice cream and pecans in a bowl, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Use your favorite cookies to make small sandwiches and serve along side the pumpkin tartelettes (which I decorated with chopped pecan brittle for their photo shoot)

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Anonymous October 12, 2007 um 5:48 pm

Where do you find the praline paste in the US? Otherwise, this is a recipe I really would like to taste. Beautiful, as usual!

Helene October 12, 2007 um 7:02 pm

Lolotte: I have given a couple of hot links in the post for the paste. It is easy to find here in the US.

Anonymous October 12, 2007 um 8:05 pm

I am so very excited for Thanksgiving, and I love all of the pumpkin recipes I’ve seen out there, but this one is especially fantastic!

Anonymous October 12, 2007 um 8:17 pm

Two of my favorites! Pumpkin tarts and butter pecan ice cream. We must be on the same wavelength. I just ordered hazelnut praline paste two days ago from lepecerie to make a buttercream filling. I’m glad to know that there is another recipe I could try it with. 🙂

Anonymous October 12, 2007 um 8:49 pm

These look absolutely delicious!

LizNoVeggieGirl October 12, 2007 um 10:53 pm

Ah yes – it felt like autumn for the first time here today, as well (it was a nippy 40 degrees outside! brr!). Oooh, as always, your tarlet looks smashing – love the festive pumpkin/praline/pecan flavor combination :0)

Suzanne October 13, 2007 um 1:02 am

OH too yummy–got to try these!

Amy October 13, 2007 um 5:31 am

Recipes like these make me excited for fall! These tartlets are gorgeous and sound absolutely amazing!

Anonymous October 13, 2007 um 6:56 am

Quand je disais à ma maman qu’on pouvait aisément faire des tartelettes à la courge et qu’elle ne me croyait pas…. Il faudrait qu’elle vienne sur ton blog. Elle ne maîtrise pas Internet donc ce n’est pas demain la veille mais je crois bien que je vais imprimer ta jolie recette pour lui prouver que le potiron ou la courge sont destinés à autre chose qu’à des soupes!

Peabody October 13, 2007 um 9:50 am

Much swooning. Butter pecan is my favorite ice cream and I love all things pumpkin…mmmm. The perfect dish for me.

MyKitchenInHalfCups October 13, 2007 um 11:01 am

Thank goodness it’s cooler as we head back to Dallas today. I’m thinking soup and pumpkin!! Love these little tarts of pumpkin: that Pumpkin Praline Filling looks over the top. But you’re always going over the top!

Aimée October 13, 2007 um 1:37 pm

A wonderful use of pumpkin, Helen. I wish I was your neighbor! 🙂
Happy fall to you- enjoy the baking.

Kalyn Denny October 13, 2007 um 2:31 pm


Cynthia October 13, 2007 um 5:27 pm

It must be such a pleasure to be your neighbour as you are always creating these oh-so-good- goodies!

african vanielje October 13, 2007 um 11:14 pm

Your posts never fail to start me salivating. Thank you

Eva October 14, 2007 um 4:17 am

I think I’ve got the wrong kind of neighbours – so far nobody has shown up on my doorstep with such little beauties…

Belinda October 15, 2007 um 12:18 am

Little pumpkin tarts…who could resist?! I admit to oddly liking pumpkin pie at ANY time of the year, but definitely, this time of the year is just perfect. 🙂 These look so, so scrumptious!

Lesley October 15, 2007 um 12:25 am

This will be on my Thanksgiving menu…yum.
And I love L’Epicerie…you can find all that hard-to-find stuff there…

Abby October 15, 2007 um 12:46 am

I’m so glad you had a nice time! I know it was hot, but it was dry and that’s the main thing for traveling! My grandmother used to make the molasses cookies herself, and believe it or not, she could roll them much thinner! (She was a true Moravian – I’m still working on that skill!)

Hope you can come again sometime!

Mallow October 15, 2007 um 1:38 am

Pumpkin and praline – how autumny and tasty! I wish it had shown up on my doorstep!

Kelly-Jane October 15, 2007 um 7:50 am

What darling little tartlettes! and butter pecan sounds so good too.

Parisbreakfasts October 15, 2007 um 9:26 am

You’re still the BEST!
Paris pastry chefs would have to run in place to keep up!

therapydoc October 15, 2007 um 12:12 pm

Now that’s just decadent.

Cheryl October 15, 2007 um 4:09 pm

That shortbread crust looks amazing. I will have to try it soon. I would kill to be your neighbor.

Anonymous October 15, 2007 um 6:46 pm

That sounds so amazing. Beautiful photos too!

Annemarie October 15, 2007 um 9:21 pm

This sounds like a lovely, indulgent spin on your regular pumpkin pie. I also love the fall and am very glad it’s here, though I’m a pessimist enough to know that winter is just around the corner!

Chris October 16, 2007 um 12:12 am

Wow – this looks fabulous! I can’t wait to break out my first can of pumpkin…this is will be perfect for the fall! I have a suspicion it will become a fast favorite. Thanks!

Truffle October 16, 2007 um 12:46 pm

So elegant! They look delightful and I can almost taste them. Makes me wish we were heading into the cooler months here. You’ve given me season envy!

Rosa's Yummy Yums October 16, 2007 um 1:13 pm

How funny! I was just looking at that recipe I had printed and thought that it must be great… Now I see it here! Really interesting and scrumptious, wow!



Patricia Scarpin October 16, 2007 um 1:27 pm

Wow, Helen! These look so good!
Pumpkin is used here to make a sort of sweet, in which large cubes of pumpkin are cooked and then kept in a sugar syrup. I should try baking with it!

Unknown October 16, 2007 um 5:09 pm

I have an irrational fear of making pie crusts of any kind, but these sound so fantastic it may be time for me to brave the tart shell.

Yay fall!

kickpleat October 16, 2007 um 7:44 pm

oh my goodness, this looks amazing! i’m excited with the start of autumn and pumpkin season too!

kellypea October 16, 2007 um 10:56 pm

Butter pecan ice cream is my favorite. Yes, even better than chocolate. I can’t wait to try this for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. I’ve been reviewing recipes and wanted to try something new. Thanks for the great links.

CJ S. October 22, 2007 um 4:37 pm

Can you make Praline Paste yourself? Do you know a recipe to do that?

Phoenix Ascending November 9, 2007 um 3:00 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! These will be a lovely addition to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m sure it will elicit the customary "That’s an interesting flavour from my in-laws" but I will enjoy every luscious bite.
BTW, I also used the links for the praline paste. While there I found one of my all-time favorite things – chestnut spread. Mmmmm.

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