This is one of the desserts that is a labor of love and worth every minute of labor! I made this for turkey day and it was amazing. Thanks of fine cooking for the inspiration!
For the pumpkin seeds
1-1/2 tsp agave syrup
3/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
For the crust
6 oz flour, more as needed
6 TBSP fine cornmeal
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
For the caramel
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 oz. butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c bourbon
For the filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 c brown sugar
2 large egg
2 large egg yolk
1 can (15 oz) canned pure pumpkin purée
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt
1 c half-and-half
Candy the pumpkin seeds
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat it with cooking spray.
Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds, stir, and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Cool on a rack until crisp, about 5 minutes, and then break into small clusters.
Make the crust
Pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Combine the egg, egg yolk, and 1 Tbs. ice water in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, adding more water, 1 tsp at a time, as needed, up to 2 TBSP. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help gather the dough into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle.
Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan without stretching it. Use the rolling pin to cut the dough the goes over the edge of the pan. Prick the crust with a fork in 1 inch intervals. Line with aluminum foil and fill with dried ben of theCover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Bake until the edges are firm, about 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the foil and beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake, rotating the pan once and popping any bubbles with a toothpick, just until the bottom is firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Make the caramel
In a 2-quart saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts and begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream (some sugar will seize) and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick enough that the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible, 7 to 9 minutes.
Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible again, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup. Pour 1/3 c of the caramel over the bottom of the cooled crust and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the caramel. (Leave the remaining caramel at room temperature.)
Make the filling and bake
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until well combined. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the half-and-half.
Slowly pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the filling has puffed slightly and its surface no longer appears wet, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack until the filling is completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.
If the remaining caramel is no longer pourable, warm it in a microwave in 20-second bursts, whisking between bursts, until pourable, about 80 seconds total. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the pie and spread it evenly. Arrange the pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the tart and remove the side of the pan. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
Serves 10 – 12.