Holiday Tarts

So hard to pick from the Holiday Tarts!

Do you wrestle with the decision of which pies to make at the holidays? Pumpkin, pear, apple, or even pecan sound so good, but do you really need four whole pies? This time, I’m making six different holiday tarts, each one designed to generously serve one person. This way, everybody has a delicious quandary at the end of the meal.

They have to pick a holiday tart.

Give Your Guests a Choice

Honestly, you won’t have to spend much more time than if you made one pie. One dough, rolled out in six rounds, topped with simple fillings. It’s a little more work, but the payoff of six showy holiday tarts is worth it.

For some easy party snacks, try these Mandarin Chocolate Shots or Smoky Almond Butter Popcorn.

Make a fabulous signature cocktail for your party with my Slushy Lemon Thyme Cocktail.

Of course, I went with whole grain flour in the crust. White whole wheat or whole wheat pastry is soft and tender enough to make good pastry. You can either melt, measure and chill coconut oil to grate in, or use cold butter.

six holiday tarts, pumpkin, pear and apple

Six holiday tarts cooling on the rack

The rustic tart is so easy, and I’ve devised a way to keep the crust from getting soggy when you fill it with fruit. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour mixed with sugar under the fruit, and it will soak up the juices and thicken to a lush layer of flavor.

holiday tarts

Apple, Pear, Pumpkin, Casual and Delicious

The other trick is making a dense pumpkin filling with either cream cheese or chevre. It cooks to a smooth, less custardy consistency, and doesn’t make the crust soggy. It’s thick enough to be contained by the folded edges of the crust.

Apples from my friend's friend's trees.

Cranberry Apple, or do you want Ginger Pear?

I was lucky to have a few apples left from a bag I was given by my neighbor. She had visited her family and picked some apples from the apple trees that have been there for at least 50 years. I had a few Prairie Spy and Wolf River and Liberty Apples and I sliced them for these tarts. You can use any firm, tart baking apples, as long as they aren’t too big.

Heirloom apples for holiday tarts

In the back, a Wolf River with the long stem, on the right, Prairie Spy, in front, Liberty.

Bosc pears are perfect for this, they are not as juicy as many other varieties of pear, and they stay just firm enough as they bake.

Individual Apple Tarts

Cinnamon Apple Tart with Whipped Cream

Of course, you can make a coconut whipped cream, or whatever variation on whipped topping you enjoy. Ice cream would also gild the lily nicely.

Don’t put too much on, you’ll want to taste these.

The holidays come but once a year, might as well make a spread of mouth-watering holiday tarts.

Six Single Serving Holiday Tarts

Serve your guests a delicious dilemma. They will have to choose one of these tasty tarts, pumpkin, pear or apple, all differently topped. You just make one pastry dough and fill it six ways, and watch the raves roll in.
Course Dessert
Servings 6
Author Robin Asbell


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled, refined coconut oil or grass fed butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water approximately
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar


    Pumpkin Filling

    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup non-dairy cream cheese or chevre cheese
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons arrowroot
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

    Fruit Fillings

    • 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 4 tablespoons unbleached flour
    • 4 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
    • 2 small apples peeled and sliced
    • 2 small bosc pears peeled and sliced
    • 1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
    • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries


    • In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached flour and salt. Stir to mix well. Use the coarse holes of a grater or a pastry cutter to shred or cut the coconut oil or butter into the flour mixture. Toss the mixture and mix with your hands for a few seconds, leaving the fat in small pieces. In a cup, combine the ice water and vinegar. Using a fork to toss the flour mixture, drizzle in the water mixture until the flour is all moistened. Stir and gently turn and knead with your hands, just until a dough is formed. If the dough is dry, drizzle in a tablespoon of cold water just to make a firm but flexible dough.
    • Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, and form each piece into a disk shape. Chill for up to 24 hours. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment.
    • Measure the flour. Mix the Turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a cup, reserve. Prepare the sliced fruit and crystallized ginger. Mix the 4 tablespoons of flour with the 4 tablespoons of sugar and reserve. In a food processor, combine the pumpkin, cheese of choice, brown sugar, arrowroot, cinnamon and nutmeg and process. Scrape into a cup. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
    • On a floured counter, roll each round out into a 7 inch circle. Place a round on the prepared pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour-sugar mixture, and arrange sliced apples or pear slices, as pictured. Make four of these, and sprinkle a few cranberries on one apple tart, and crystallized ginger on one pear tart. Cover the apple tarts and the plain pear tart with cinnamon sugar. Form pleats as you fold the dough over the filling, picking up the edge and pulling it toward the center and repeating a section at at time. On the remaining two dough rounds, spread the pumpkin mixture, again leaving and edge to fold over. Sprinkle one with a few cranberries, leave the other plain. Repeat the folding of the rim to contain the pumpkin filling.
    • Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, then turn the pan, reduce the heat to 375 F, and bake on the top rack for 20 minutes. When the crust is golden brown, transfer the pan to a rack to cool.Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.