Spooktacular Pumpkin Tart

Recipe by Lisa Zerdes, Weavers Way Member and Professional Pastry Chef


For crust:

  • 9 (5 x 2 ¼ inch) chocolate graham crackers, finely ground (1 cup)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For filling:

  • 1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin
  • ¾ c packed light brown sugar
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp orange zest from 1 medium orange
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped for decoration
  • 1 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom

Serves: 8

Halloween, autumn, fall, pumpkin patch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. The kitchen smells like fall while this tart bakes, the air sweet and spicy.

A little history of the pumpkin pie:

Early American settlers (1621) made their version of pumpkin pie by simply baking a whole hollowed-out pumpkin filled with milk, honey and spices. It was baked in the hot ashes of a fire pit.

Later on (1651) a famous French chef Francois Pierre la Varenne, published a recipe “Tourte of Pumpkin” which included a crust. 

By the 1670’s recipes for “pumpion pie” started appearing in English cookbooks. It wasn’t until 1796 that the truly “American” style pumpkin puddings were being baked in a crust resembling present day pumpkin pies.


Preheat oven 350° with oven rack in the middle

Make crust:

Stir together finely ground graham crackers, butter, sugar and cinnamon and press evenly onto bottom and side of tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes until firm. Cool on rack 15 to 20 minutes.

Make filling:

In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, mascarpone cheese, eggs, spices, salt and orange zest. Pour filling into cooled crust just to the top edge.

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

Melt chocolate for decoration:

Place chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water: heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Transfer chocolate to a parchment paper cone. Pipe about 15 evenly spaced lines from one end of the tart to the other. Pipe curved lines around perimeter of tart connecting each spoke. Continue piping curved lines spacing them closer together as you near the center. Refrigerate tart until set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.