I know that fall doesn’t officially start until next Saturday, but in my kitchen it was pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin last weekend.  All of the recipes that I made each only called for about 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, but I couldn’t stand to throw any of it away, so I just kept baking until it was all used up!  That means a week of pumpkin-only recipes!  I figured you might need some new ideas to play around with before Thanksgiving rolls around anyway…..

My best friend since 7th grade, Nikki moved out of state last Saturday and so we went out for dinner with a few girlfriends to wish her well and came back to my house for dessert.  I wanted to make something from the new cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito called Baked Elements.  I have the other two Baked books and so I was so excited to receive a copy of their latest book to review.

The cookbook is organized by their favorite 10 ingredients, such as chocolate, caramel, booze and peanut butter.  There are so many amazing recipes from this cookbook that I will be sharing with you in the weeks to come because I literally want to make every one of them!  The book is filled with beautiful photos that will make you drool and a witty introduction to each recipe draws you in even more.  Whether you own Matt and Renato’s first two books, Baked Explorations and Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking, I highly recommend you pick yourself up a copy of their latest book.  How great would a set of all three of the Baked books be to give as a gift??

I saw a recipe in this book for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, and although I am not a cheesecake lover, I do enjoy the combination of pumpkin pie flavors with cream cheese, so I decided to use some of the recipe components and put my own spin on it as well.  I wanted to make a tart because I am a sucker for graham cracker crusts.  I also love the combination of pumpkin and cinnamon so I decided to base my tart on a cinnamon graham cracker crust.  I like my graham cracker crust to almost be thicker than what is inside it, and this recipe gave me just that.

The filling for this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart is a layer of spiced pumpkin whipped with cream cheese and topped with a traditional cream cheese frosting.  The result will remind you of a pumpkin pie with the smooth consistency and perfectly spiced flavor, but the cinnamon graham cracker crust will trick you into thinking you are eating a full-blown cheesecake.  Call it cheesecake.  Call it a tart.  I don’t care what you call it, just call it made.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart with Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crust and Baked Elements Cookbook Review
Recipe type: Dessert, Fall, Tart
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Perfectly spiced pumpkin cream cheese filling on top of a thick cinnamon graham cracker crust
  • For the crust
  • 12 whole cinnamon graham crackers
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • For the pumpkin filling
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (could use ⅓ less fat cream cheese)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup, plus 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp EACH, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, allspice
  • For the cream cheese topping
  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. For the crust
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch tart pan.
  3. Place graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until crushed into a fine powder.
  4. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until combined.
  5. Press graham cracker mixture into tart pan, pressing up around the sides slightly.
  6. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
  7. For the pumpkin filling
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  9. In the same bowl of the food processor (or another bowl with an electric mixer), beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  10. In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
  11. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese and pulse to combine.
  12. Pour mixture into crust and bake 18 minutes.
  13. Cool on wire rack.
  14. For the cream cheese topping
  15. In a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until combined. Add other ingredients and beat until smooth.
  16. Spread over pumpkin filling and refrigerate at least 2 hours before removing from pan,cutting and serving.
  17. Recipe adapted from Baked Elements

for the crust, process graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined

press into greased tart pan and bake

for the pumpkin filling, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth

in a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice

add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese and beat to combine

pour into crust and bake

make cream cheese topping and spread over pumpkin layer, refrigerate, cut and serve

*A copy of Baked Elements was provided to me by Stewart, Tabori & Chang (Abrams Publishing), but all opinions are, as always, my own.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Did you like this? Share it:

You may also like:

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (Gluten-free)
Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, The Picky Palate Cookbook Review and Giveaway!
Brown Butter Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

11 Comments ( Reply )

  1. Anna Johnson
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    This recipes sounds and looks amazing……. YUM. Love pumpkin season.


    • Mercedes
      Sep 22, 2012 @ 7:59 am

      Thanks Anna! I do too!


  2. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

    Yummmm, I was just looking for pumpkin at Trader Joe’s – didn’t see any yet, but I’ll keep my eye out!


    • Mercedes
      Sep 22, 2012 @ 7:59 am

      I’ve never used fresh pumpkin, but I would love to taste the difference!


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    This tart looks so, so good!


  4. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    I love the pumpkin graham cracker combination! This looks wonderful!


    • Mercedes
      Sep 22, 2012 @ 8:00 am

      Thanks Jessica, the crust was my favorite part of this tart, but it was all good!


  5. Cassie
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    My husband is such a cheesecake lover and I love pumpkin. These look so great!


  6. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    That tart looks INSANELY delish! Love pumpkin and that homemade cinnamon graham crust.


  7. luv what you do
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    What a fun recipe! I love it!


 Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: