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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart

Last week I saw Martha Stewart on the Today Show featuring some sweet and savory pumpkin dishes. The first thing that caught my eye was this pumpkin tart, mainly because I loved the spider web design! Since I've been trying to come up with a dessert to make in my new mixer and take to lab meeting, this was perfect. First of all, the mixer is awesome!!! Love it! It mixes so wonderfully and is very easy to operate and clean. I can't wait to start challenging it with meringues and yeast doughs!

This tart was pretty simple to make, and even the design was fairly easy. I guess I didn't use enough flour when rolling out the crust dough because it was a bit sticky, so it started to fall apart when I transferred it to the tart pan. I simply just pressed it together like you might do for crumb type crusts, and it was fine.

Now for the taste: The crust has some nice spiciness to it because of the cinnamon and cloves. I thought the spices paired nicely with the chocolate; it almost tasted like gingerbread. One thing I loved about the crust was the layer of chocolate on top - seriously good. One member of my lab even commented that the crust can be used for a number of recipes. The pumpkin filling was really delicious - with all of the 'moistness' and spiciness you expect from a pumpkin pie. I really, really like this dessert. I think the combination of chocolate and pumpkin is fantastic. It was simple to put together, and everyone loved it - especially the design!

Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
8 ounces creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Chocolate crust (see below)
2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate (I just used Baker's)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, creme fraiche, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve set over a clean bowl; discard solids (I am realizing as I type this that I totally forgot to do this!!! Oh well - one less thing to clean!) Pour filling into prepared crust.

2. Bake until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool at least 30 minutes.

3. Set a heatproof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate in bowl, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.

4. To decorate: dip a spoon in melted chocolate, then drizzle chocolate over tart, forming decorative stripes. Alternatively, to achieve a spider web design: Make a cone out of parchment paper. I just Googled how to do this and followed some unclear instructions, so I'm linking a video (which I have not watched yet) because I'm sure it's easier to understand than what I read. Once the cone is made, fill it with the melted chocolate and pipe onto tart. I drew the long lines across the entire tart - like you would slice a pizza - then drew in the curved lines to connect the long lines. Make sure to be careful that the chocolate doesn't come out the top of the cone. You may also want to let the chocolate cool off a little bit before doing this, or wear gloves, because the cone gets hot! :)

5. Refrigerate until well set, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Chocolate crust

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
4 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli chips)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Add butter; mix on low speed until butter is the size of small peas, about 5 minutes. Add egg; mix until ingredients come together to form a dough. For those of you without a stand mixer, since I was in your situation just a week ago and appreciate alternate directions, I'm sure this would work in a food processor or using a pastry blender/cutter by hand.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured working surface, roll out dough to just thicker than 1/8 inch. Brush off excess flour; transfer dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pan; trim excess to make flush with edge. Lightly prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Bake shell until firm, about 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle chocolate over bottom of shell; smooth with a spatula.


  1. How wickedly superb! I love it!

  2. i could just eat the crust! nice work. i have no decorating skills...

  3. Gorgeous! Great job on the web and I can only imagine it's wicked tasty.

  4. ohhhh adorable. Wish I could eat some..but my diet would yell at me! lol

  5. This is so cool and looks delicious.

  6. This looks so delicious. I absolutely love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate. The web design is really cool too. Great job! I wish I went to lab with you, then I could've tried a slice!

  7. This looks soooo good! And that spider web is gorgeous! Glad to see you are finding uses for your new mixer!

  8. That is beautiful!! Chocolate and pumpkin sound so delicious!

    And I am LOVING your mixer...what a gorgeous color!

  9. The spider web is so cute!! Love the chocolate and pumpkin combo. A delicious way to christen your new mixer!

  10. MTM, sorry I had to go back to STL. I would have loved a piece of this tart...Can't believe you roll out dough in your very small kitchen, and make it look SO GOOD.

  11. Hello Meghan,I landed here thru Kalyn's blog. You have an amazing blog. I already know what Iam going to try next - the orange chicken and the spidy cake :)
    Iam so proud of you - a PhD student!!I always like it when women give importance to education. All the best for your studies.

  12. LOVE that spider web design and it sounds so super delicious! I'm glad you found the perfect way to use your new mixer for the first time :)

  13. Looks so gourmet--except I hate spiders, eek! :o)

  14. ok this is just TOO cute! i might have to try this one for halloween!

  15. has anyone ever tried this with a store bought frozen pie crust? don't have time to make a crust.


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