Spiced Butternut Maple Bacon Tarts

Spiced Butternut Squash Bacon Tarts Recipe

To license this image please contact me at nicole@thespicetrain.com.

As you can see, I am happily ignoring the World Health Organization and am serving up some yummy bacon today!

These little tarts are an easy and pretty side dish that works well with any poultry and as long as you have a muffin tin and a mandoline you’re in business.

You start by making a quick and easy tart dough. While that’s chilling in the fridge you cook a bit of bacon and then make a sauce from the bacon fat (yum) along with maple syrup and pumpkin spice. Then you line the cups of your muffin pan with the tart dough, shave some butternut squash and layer it into the cups along with the bacon and the syrup. Once the tarts are baked you sprinkle a few thyme leaves on (don’t skip this part, the thyme is essential to round out the flavor). That’s all there is to it. You can serve the tarts on Thanksgiving as an alternative to, say, sweet potato casserole but they are great any other time of the year as well.


Spiced Butternut Maple Bacon Tarts Recipe

serves 6


This recipe is for one 6-cup muffin tin.

For the crust:

  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 4 tablespoons butter

For the filling:

  • the neck portion of a small butternut squash
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • handful of fresh thyme leaves



For the crust:

  1. Combine vinegar and milk. Set aside.
  2. Whisk flour and salt together, then cut in the shortening and the butter with a pastry cutter.
  3. Add the milk/vinegar mix and bring the dough together into a ball.
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

For the filling:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Fry the bacon in a cast iron pan until it starts to get crispy.
  3. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
  4. Add the maple syrup and the pumpkin spice to the bacon fat, stir well, bring the mix to a full boil, then turn the heat off.
  5. Peel the squash, then shave it using a mandoline. Make the slices so thin that they fall apart and can easily be crunched into the tart shells.
  6. Grease the muffin tin, then roll out the dough and fit it into the cups.
  7. Layer squash slices, bacon and syrup into each tart and bake until the crust turns golden-brown (about 25 minutes).
  8. Sprinkle the thyme leaves onto the tarts and serve.


Food Photography and Styling: All right, by popular demand, photography and styling notes are back. Thank you for your feedback, everyone, I always appreciate when you tell me what you think, it helps me make this blog better. So, while these tarts have a strong fall/holiday bend to them I wanted to make sure to bring across that they are a general side dish, suitable year-round, so I didn’t put them into a fall or festive set and instead placed them into a very neutral scene. The fabric is a linen napkin that I bought at Pottery Barn a while ago and I loved its wrinkled texture in this photo. The three tarts looked a little stiff when they were whole so I cut a bite out of one of them and laid the fork on the plate as well to imply action. I lit this photo from the back, using my strobe.

Nikon D600, 105mm, f/8, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight.


    • Nicole B. says:

      I completely agree, and I was just thinking of camping, I can’t imagine sitting outside in the woods in the morning with a steaming hot cup of tea, watching the sun come up and not smelling and tasting freshly cooked bacon! Thank you guys so much for coming by! :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Karen, that is so nice of you to say! It was great to meet you too, looking forward to hanging out again! :)

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