Drunken pumpkin bourbon tart. Exactly the sort of Thanksgiving dessert that will make the relatives a heck of a lot more tolerable.

This drunken pumpkin bourbon tart instead of the traditional pumpkin pie is something of a party trick.  See, “drunken” is something of a misnomer, unless you’re referring to the Thanksgiving cook who’s kicked back one too many bourbons as she bakes to ease her nerves Thanksgiving morning. (Good luck pronouncing this pie to guests if this cook is you. Drunken pumpkin? Punken drumkin? Drumpin punkdrunk?!) But really, drunken isn’t what you can expect of guests after dessert, at least not on account of this pie. Unless you think they’ll get tipsy off less than a teaspoon of bourbon, which is tantamount to what each slice contains. Maybe just “merry.” ‘Tis the season, after all.Renee Schettler Rossi

A slice of drunken pumpkin bourbon tart on a white plate with a fork beside it and a mini pumpkin and leaves in the background.

Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Tart

5 from 1 vote
Drunken pumpkin bourbon tart. Exactly the sort of Thanksgiving dessert that will make the relatives a heck of a lot more tolerable.
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories331 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours


  • 1 recipe for a single-crust pie crust refrigerated for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 egg wash (just blend 1 egg yolk, a teensy splash of water, and a pinch of salt together)
  • 1 pie pumpkin any size
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll the dough outward from its center into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Loosely fold the crust into quarters and transfer it to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Delicately unfold the crust and gingerly press it into the tart pan, letting the excess crust hang over the edge of the pan. Trim off the excess dough by running your rolling pan over the top of the tart pan. Refrigerate the crust for at least 20 minutes. Line the tart pan with a double layer of foil or parchment paper and fill it with pie weights, old dried beans, or pennies. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and lightly brush the bottom, sides, and edges of the tart with egg wash. Return the tart pan to the oven and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden and nearly fully set. Place the tart pan on a cooling rack. Keep the oven on.
  • While the crust is baking and cooling, split the pumpkin in half and scrape out the pulpy seeds. Turn the pumpkin halves, cut-side down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake about 45 minutes, until the flesh is soft to the touch and beginning to implode. (Note: If you bake the pumpkin and tart shell simultaneously, place the pumpkin below the crust.) When the pumpkin is done, let it cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C).
  • Scoop 2 cups of the cooled roasted pumpkin flesh from the pumpkin halves and place it in a large bowl. Using a hand-held mixer on medium speed, blend the pumpkin for 2 minutes until smooth. Add the eggs and brown sugar and blend together, still on medium speed, until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to blend until fluffy, aerated, and completely incorporated.
  • Place a rimmed baking sheet on the center oven rack, pull out the rack slightly, and then place the tart pan on the baking sheet. Carefully pour the custard into the tart crust, filling it no more than 1/4 inch from the top of the tart crust. (Note: If you have a bit of custard left over, pour it into a small oven-proof bowl or ramekin and bake it along with the tart until it’s set. It makes a wonderful midnight custard snack!) Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F (163°C) and continue to bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard has just set and quivers slightly to the touch. Transfer the tart to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to overnight before slicing and serving.
Tart Love

Adapted From

Tart Love

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Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 331 kcalCarbohydrates: 31 gProtein: 5 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 10 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 131 mgSodium: 445 mgPotassium: 177 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 17 gVitamin A: 581 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 65 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Holly Herrick. Photo © 2011 Hélène Dujardin. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The pie itself was amazing. Now, this is not your normal pumpkin pie taste. At least, not what I was used to. I am not a fan of bourbon, yet a hint of its taste, along with the spice combination and the fresh pumpkin, blended tremendously well. It was less sweet than most other pumpkin pies I have tried before, which I liked. Actually, I think a glass of port to go along with this pie would be a perfect combination. In terms of fresh pumpkin quantity, I forgot to measure the pumpkin prior to cutting it, but I used exactly half of a large pumpkin, so hopefully this will help. Baking is not my strength, so I was really worried about making the crust. But the explanations were very helpful, and I was actually able to make it to perfection.

My in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie is their favorite, and they are very hard to make happy. You may have heard the comment before, “If mama ain’t happy…” Well, in this family, when Mimi ain’t happy, we all suffer. Well, not this year! Thanks to this pie, we are going to have a great holiday. I used a pie pumpkin about the size of a cantaloupe and had plenty to make the pie. If you have not done this before, it is so easy, you will never go back to canned. The bourbon is just enough to compliment the molasses, pumpkin, and spice flavors but not so much that the first thing you think is, “This pie has bourbon.” The texture is perfect—light and creamy. I am so excited to have this on Thanksgiving day and see the reactions. Thanks for a great recipe.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Amazingly similar to Maude Howe Elliott’s recipe from the early 20th century, a traditional Yankee recipe that called for rum, not bourbon. A family favorite for years. Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Gonna drink the Bourbon and make this with Kraken Black 94% Rum. Just goes better in pumpkin, to me. Will change the molasses, to maple or brown sugar.

  3. If I really hate molasses, can I just leave it out, or should it be replaced with another kind of “syrup”? I’m guessing it’s more for flavor than sweetness. Thanks!

  4. This recipe looks great however, I want to try it with Kabocha Squash. I think that squashes are interchangeable but I’d like to get your input. Also, if in a pinch for time and one needs to use the canned pumpkin, how much canned pumpkin would one need for this recipe? Finally, I want to top this with a Pumpkin Chiffon for contrasting textures color. How would the chiffon hold up in a piping bag? Would it deflate the chiffon? Also, if I added bourbon to the chiffon, would the bourbon be added to the gelatin/water stage or, added later in the recipe like one would add vanilla?
    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    1. Hi Cheryl, yes, I do think that you could use Kabocha squash in this recipe. I would use the same amount of squash puree as pumpkin puree—2 cups. As far as the chiffon topping, it is hard for me to say since I’m not familiar with your recipe, but I can say that whipped cream would be lovely.