The spiderweb pattern that I decorated my Pumpkin Tart with is an eye-catching design that is perfect for celebrating Halloween. I made a video tutorial that explains how to replicate the design, and in it I mentioned that you can use the technique with things besides pumpkin tart filling. For instance, you can use two colors of glaze or ganache to decorate cookies or cakes. You can also use chocolate syrup to top a homemade mocha or hot chocolate with a spiderweb to dress up the drink.
I think of this as a do-it-yourself kind of latte art, which you typically find only in coffee shops. It is done by carefully pouring steamed milk into shots of espresso to create an intricate pattern or design. It takes practice to do it well, and unless you have an espresso machine at home to practice on, it can be difficult to learn the technique yourself. This particular design is done using a swirl of chocolate sauce on top of steamed milk or softly whipped cream. Like the pumpkin tart design, once your chocolate swirl is in place, you simply drag a toothpick through the milk or cream, starting at the center of the cup and pulling towards the rim. The result is a spooky spiderweb that will take your drink to the next level.
A few tips for recreating this design:
- If you do have an espresso machine, steamed milk is a great way to go for this design. The steamed milk has tight bubbles that easily support the chocolate syrup.
- If you are using whipped cream, stop whipping it just before it gets to soft-peak stage, so that the whipped cream is soft enough to hold the spiderweb pattern.
- Only use a small amount of chocolate syrup, or it might sink to the bottom of your cup!
- You can use this technique on any kind of hot chocolate or mocha.
- Finally, watch the tutorial and see how easy the pattern is to make.
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.