This Spiderweb Pumpkin Tart has a spooky look to it that makes it perfect for Halloween. A black spiderweb covers the top of the tart – and the design is surprisingly easy to make for something that delivers such a “wow” factor when you’re ready to serve it.
The tart filling is much like the filling for pumpkin pie, but a little bit denser. A thicker filling allows the design to hold its shape easily here. A small portion of the filling is separated out from the rest of the batch and mixed with some cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is just enough to give it a nearly black color, but it doesn’t give the finished tart much flavor because only a very small amount of filling is colored. The colored batter is piped on to the plain batter in a big spiral, and to make the design all you need to do is slowly run a toothpick from the center of the pan to the sides, straight through the filling and the swirl. I recommend gently tapping the pan on the counter a few times to smooth out any grooves that you might have made with the toothpick before baking.
The tart has a warm, spicy pumpkin flavor. It’s a much thinner layer of filling than you would find in a pumpkin pie, so it is less custardy than a pumpkin pie traditionally is. You also have a nice ratio of crust to filling with this tart. I definitely recommend using a buttery, shortbread tart crust or something like my Maple Sugar Shortbread Tart Crust, which is what I paired with this recipe. A Browned Butter Tart Dough can also be a good option.
I’ve included the instructions for making the spiderweb design in the recipe for the tart. If you don’t want the spiderweb (if you want to make this for Thanksgiving instead of Halloween) design on top, just skip over that part and pour the entire pumpkin batter into the tart shell. You won’t need to change the baking time at all.
Update: Check out my video demo of the spiderweb technique.
Spiderweb Pumpkin Tart
tart dough for one 9 or 10-inch tart pan
1 1/2 cups (15-oz) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll out tart dough and press into 9 or 10-inch tart pan (or simply press dough into the pan if you are using a crust that does not need to be rolled). Chill dough will filling is prepared.
In a large bowl, or a food processor, blend together 1 1/2 cups (15-oz) pumpkin puree, milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth and well-combined.
Transfer 1/4 cup of batter to a small bowl and whisk it together with the cocoa powder until smooth. Transfer to a small ziploc bag or a piping bag.
Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared tart shell.
Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag containing the chocolate filling and pipe a large spiral (4-5 rotations) over the top of the plain pumpkin filling.
Take a toothpick and, starting at the center of the tart, drag it gently through the filling towards the outer crust to create the spiderweb. I generally divide the tart in quarters, then divide those again to create a large web. Gently tap the pan on the table to smooth out any grooves in the filling.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the filling has set and the crust is a light golden brown.