While pies might be the most popular all-American dessert on any Thanksgiving or holiday table this year, tarts are just as tasty, beautiful and impressive. A tart consists of pastry dough on the bottom and some type of fruit, nut or custard filling. Tarts are basically pies, (just minus the top crust). Some folks might even argue that they're easier to make, which is always a plus when you have a long list of food to make!
This time of year, make the most out of seasonal flavors and fruits like apples, plums, pears and cranberries and be sure to include them in your tart. You're bound to impress all your guests without hours spent in the kitchen. Try out these 15 autumn tarts!
1. Simplest Apple Tart
This gorgeous apple tart is a great alternative to the classic apple pie. Sliced apples, preferably Golden Delicious or even Granny Smith, are placed inside a simple buttery crust, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, and baked until golden brown.
The best part about this tart is that after it's baked, a homemade glaze made out of apple peels and cores is brushed on top. Pretty cool, right? Who would've thought you could make good use out of the entire apple!
2. Sweet Potato Tart
Even though sweet potato casserole is one of the greatest side dishes during Thanksgiving dinner, that doesn't mean this vegetable cannot be used in dessert! Sweet potatoes are yes, naturally sweet (hence their name) and this sweet tart is similar to pumpkin pie. Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream!
3. Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart
This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. The addition of the brown sugar almond custard is a nice creamy touch along with hints of warm molasses flavors in this dessert. This custard tart will add some festive colors to the table too.
4. Plum Tart with Lemon Shortbread Crust
Plums are the kind of fruit that can be easy to pass by at the farmers market or grocery store. However, they're a great fruit to use in this autumn fruit tart, especially when paired with a lemony crust.
The crust is really simple and there's no rolling involved, just press into a pan with your hands or a flat-bottomed cup. This tart is picture perfect in my opinion.
5. Pear Tart
This pear tart is so easy and requires just four ingredients. You can use store bought or homemade pie crust and this baked tart can be made in a standard tart pan or rustic and free form. Similar to the apple tart mentioned above, this pear tart is brushed with a homemade pear glaze, which really takes this to the next level.
6. Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Gingersnap Crust
This tart is another take on a traditional pie served during the holidays- pumpkin pie. The filling is creamy and full of spices like cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Extra flavor is added from the fresh ginger mixed into the filling. So festive!
7. Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tart
I love pecan pie, but when you add dark chocolate and bourbon to this tart, there's no going back to traditional pecan pie! It's sweet and decadent and perfect for any holiday dessert table. This is also a great recipe that you can make ahead of time because it freezes well. Just make sure to wrap tightly.
8. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart
This tart with its gingersnap and pecan crust will look beautiful and appetizing on any table. The filling is a spiced cheesecake filling and it's topped with tart sautéed apples.
Once the tart is finished, it's placed under the broiler to get nice and caramelized. If you're tight on time, this tart can be made the day before and left in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
9. Cranberry Walnut Tarts
These individual tarts are simple to make and it's tempting to have more than one! Good thing this recipe makes three dozen tarts.
The pastry dough is flavorful and tender due to the cream cheese and is rolled out and cut with a star cookie cutter. The fresh cranberries in these tarts will brighten up any table!
10. Bourbon and Butterscotch Nut Tart
The hint of bourbon (if you do not want to use bourbon, vanilla extract is fine) in this filling goes along perfectly with the pecan shortbread crust and butterscotch nut filling. Any assorted nuts will do for this (hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios) just make sure they're unsalted because when this tart is all done, sprinkling with flaky sea salt is highly recommended!
11. Brie and Pear Tart
This sweet and savory tart would be the perfect dessert or appetizer for your holiday gathering. It's easy to make and you can use store bought or homemade pie dough. Slices of Brie cheese are pressed into the rolled out dough and then topped with thin pear slices arranged to look like a flower. A sweet mixture of brown sugar and pear brandy is drizzled on top before baking this elegant tart.
12. Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Tart
Who would've thought that dark chocolate and pumpkin would be the perfect match? Satisfy your chocolate craving paired with traditional pumpkin pie filling for this amazing tart. The crust is simple and chocolatey and doesn't need to be rolled out so you'll have this dessert put together in no time. Serve with whipped cream.
13. Rose Apple Tart
Isn't this apple tart stunning? Apples are sliced really thin and then soaked in a simple syrup (simple syrup is made by dissolving sugar into water and lemon juice) so they do not turn brown. Once all the apples are sliced, line up between 6-8 apples and then roll the slices until a flower is formed and place on top of the tart.
For this recipe, the filling is homemade applesauce, so if you're an apple fanatic, this recipe is definitely for you. If you do not want to do an applesauce filling, I'm sure pastry cream would taste delicious too!
14. Brown Sugar Butternut Squash Tart
Yes, this might sound a little weird, but butternut squash is naturally sweet and pretty similar to pumpkin and sweet potato. The squash is sweetened with a little brown sugar along with butter and nutmeg.
And don't be turned off by the shredded mozzarella cheese in this recipe, it actually works and it will bring some savory flavors to this dessert. I mean, this isn't the first time cheese was used in dessert-have you ever tried apple pie with cheddar cheese crust?
15. Cranberry Blueberry Shortbread Tart
This fruity dessert has sweet blueberries (frozen or fresh will work) an tart cranberries on top of a shortbread crust. A simple lemon custard is also poured over and then baked to make this beautiful tart. Dust with powdered sugar. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser.