We have an ongoing debate every holiday around here about which pie is better, pumpkin or pecan. I like them both, but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick…both? Is that an option? I think it should be, so I made something that combines the two. Well, kinda.

These bite-sized tartlets are more on the pumpkin side, but they have a pecan crust that gives you the nuttiness you’re looking for in a holiday dessert. And then they get an extra bit of edginess with a sprinkling of coarse Colima Sea Salt, and crunchy cacao nibs. Yum.

The filling is an easy mix of canned pumpkin puree, eggs, and maple syrup, with the addition of my favorite new Pumpkin Pie Spice from Ava Jane’s Kitchen. It’s the freshest blend of pumpkin pie seasoning I’ve ever tasted. While the ones you buy at the grocery store taste kind of flat and dull, this one is bright and spicy. It makes a huge difference.

The crust is coarsely chopped pecans and maple syrup. It’s simple, but delicious. Press it into your tin, top with the filling and bake. It’s so easy. These aren’t super sweet, and taste like pumpkin instead of sugar.

You’ll need a mini muffin tin for this, and some mini cupcake liners make it so easy to remove these from the pan. Trust me — I tried it both ways, and the muffin liners are the way to go. You can use mini chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs for a sweeter more traditional version, or leave them off, but the chocolate flavor really pairs nicely with the sea salt, and it looks pretty too.


Salted Cacao Nib Pumpkin Tartlets
Makes 2 dozen tartlets


Pecan Crust:

1 cup toasted

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pinch salt



1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons AJK Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup cacao nibs

Colima Sea Salt, for finishing



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the crust, put the nuts in a food processor with the maple syrup. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped and can be pressed together into a crust, but try not to process them too much so that you have some crunchy texture.

Spray cooking spray in a mini muffin tin or line with mini cupcake liners, and press a teaspoon of the nut mixture into each of the cups.

To make the filling, whisk all of the ingredients except for the cacao nibs in a mixing bowl until combined and smooth. Spoon the mixture into muffin tin evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are no longer shiny and puff up slightly. Sprinkle with the cacao nibs and Colima Sea Salt. Allow to cool completely before serving.


Easy to Download PDF: Salted Cacao Nib Pumpkin Tartlets