Chocolate Pumpkin Spiderweb Tart
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A chocolate spider’s web covers this pumpkin tart and chocolate spiced pastry, a great Halloween party dessert. If you want to serve this tart for other occasions such as Thanksgiving, just replace the spider web design by drizzling the chocolate topping over the top in any pattern you prefer or completely covering the top with chocolate by spreading thinly with an offset spatula.

With some left-over melted chocolate I made a few chocolate spiders decorated with orange and black dragees to add to the web.
Recipe type: Dessert | Custard Tart
Chocolate Spiced Pastry:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Pumpkin Filling:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Chocolate Topping and Chocolate Spiders:
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • About 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
Chocolate Spiced Pastry:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Add the butter pieces and gently mix with a fork to coat the pieces of butter with the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and some of the pieces of butter are the size of peas.
  2. Add the egg and use a kitchen fork to mix the flour and egg together. When the dough is mixed, it should feel just slightly moist and hold together when pinched with your fingers. Tip: If the dough is crumbly and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 teaspoons ice water, adding one teaspoon of water at a time until the dough is done and holds together.
  3. Form dough into one-6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours, or refrigerate up to 3 days before using.
  4. Remove the dough disc from refrigerator. If the dough is too cold and difficult to roll, let stand at room temperature for 5 to 15 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the chilled pastry to a 12 inch circle and fit into a 10 or 10½ inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press pastry against the sides of the tart pan. Trim excess pastry to ½ inch. Fold the edge of the pastry under and press gently around the rim to seal the edge, allowing pastry to extend ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan to allow for shrinkage. Lightly prick the bottom and sides with a fork at three-fourth or one inch intervals. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate tart shell until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  6. While tart shell is refrigerating, preheat oven to 350 degrees F, allowing 15 to 20 minutes for the oven to preheat before baking.
  7. Bake: Leaving the tart shell on the baking sheet, bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Tip: If the pastry edges have shrunk during baking, use a small spatula and gently press the hot pastry back up to the top edge of the tart pan, you must do this while the pastry is still hot from the oven.
  8. After removing baked tart shell from the oven, immediately sprinkle the 4 ounces of chopped chocolate evenly over the bottom of the shell. Let the chocolate sit for about 2 minutes to melt and then spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Set tart shell aside while making filling.
Pumpkin Filling:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk or fork until frothy. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt, stir well to mix. Pour mixture in the pastry-lined tart shell.
  2. Bake: Leaving the tart shell on the baking sheet, bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is lightly browned and the tart jiggles slightly if the pan is given a gentle shake.
  3. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire cooling rack at least 1 hour before adding the chocolate topping.
Chocolate Topping and Chocolate Spiders:
  1. Place the chopped semisweet chocolate in a small bowl, place on top of a pan of hot water to create a double boiler, stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the hot water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
  2. Place the melted chocolate in a small paper piping bag, seal the end, and snip off the tip to make a ⅛ inch diameter hole. Tip: Use a pastry bag with a decorating tip for piping. In place of a pastry bag, you can also use a plastic bag with a ziplock top; after the plastic bag is filled, cut a very small piece off one corner to pipe the chocolate out. To fill the pastry or plastic bag, place the bag, tip side down, in a glass, fold the top down over the edge of the glass. Spoon the chocolate into the bag, filling it no more than ⅔ full, unfold the top and secure with the ziplock top or with a twist tie. Keep the tip covered with a damp cloth when not using to prevent it from clogging.
  3. First, pipe about 12 evenly spaced lines (spokes) with the melted chocolate, radiating out from the center of the tart. Second, starting from the outside edge of the tart, pipe curved lines around the perimeter of the tart connecting each spoke. Continue piping the curved lines, spacing them closer together as you near the center.
  4. Let tart set until completely cooled and firm, another 1 to 2 hours, before cutting and serving. Cover and refrigerate within 8 hours.
  5. Chocolate Spiders (Optional): If you have any melted chocolate left-over you can create chocolate spiders to add to the top of the web. On a piece of parchment paper, pipe a small mound of chocolate about ⅜ inches in diameter for the body, and pipe another smaller mound of chocolate touching the first mound for the head. Pipe the spider legs out from the body. If desired, sprinkle dragees on top for decoration and additional color. Let the spiders sit until the chocolate is hardened and then gently remove from the parchment paper and place on the spider web.
  6. Optional: Just before serving, sprinkle the entire top of the tart with granulated sugar to make the spider web glisten
Adapted From: Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 2011
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 10" Tart with Removable Bottom Pastry: Chocolate Spiced Pastry Prep: Baked Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate
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