Ghost Tarts with Sweet Orange Brown Sugar Filling

These frightfully delicious tarts are the perfect homemade treat for your Halloween party. Beneath the sweet, glazed exterior, there lurks a startlingly rich orange and cinnamon filling waiting to surprise your taste buds. What’s not frightful is they’re nut-free and vegetarian!

Prep Time
25 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes chilling time
Bake Time
20 to 25 minutes
Ghost-shaped tarts, some decorated with black icing faces drawn on white icing, some undecorated

Large bowl OR food processor with the metal blade attachment

Scale OR dry measuring cups

Measuring spoons

Pastry blender/cutter

Small bowl x 3

Whisk OR fork

Plastic wrap

Rolling pin

Parchment paper

Ghost-shaped cookie cutter (at least 3½ inches)

Baking sheet x 2

Medium bowl

Rubber spatula OR wooden spoon

Pastry brush (small)

Skewer OR fork

Small spoon OR offset spatula


Wire cooling rack

10 to 12 tarts (3.5-inch cookie cutter)
For the pastry dough:
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp (266 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt
  • ¾ cup (170 g) butter, cold, cubed (½-inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup (46 g) vegetable shortening, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) milk, cold
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
  • ½ cup (109 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (11 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) orange zest, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) water
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup (120 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) milk or heavy cream
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract (optional) (see Chef’s Tips)
Garnish (optional):
  • Black nonpareils (sugar pearls)
  • Candy eyeballs
For the pastry dough:

Step 1

In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, whisk together the all-purpose flour, the Redpath® Icing Sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined.

Step 2

Add the butter and shortening to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender/cutter or hands (or if using a food processor, pulse several times), cut and work the fats into the flour mixture until mixture looks like coarse sand with pea-sized lumps of butter and shortening scattered throughout. The mixture should hold together when squeezed.

Step 3

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Drizzle mixture over the flour-butter mixture. Stir or process just until combined.

Step 4

Divide dough in half (approximately 300 g for each half). Shape each portion into a flat rectangle; wrap well in plastic wrap.

Step 5

Place into the fridge to chill; at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Step 6

Remove dough from fridge about 15 minutes before rolling.

Step 7

On a lightly floured work surface, or between parchment paper sheets, roll each portion of dough out to ⅛-inch thickness. Carefully place each portion of the rolled-out dough onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet.

Step 8

With a 3½- to 4-inch ghost-shaped cookie cutter, cut out an equal number of ghosts from each portion of dough. Remove excess dough; dough scraps can be chilled again and rerolled if desired. Note that the resulting pastry may not be as flaky or tender as the once-rolled dough. 

Step 9

If dough is getting too soft or warm to work with, place the baking sheets of dough into the fridge to chill.

For the filling:

Step 1

In a medium bowl, combine the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add in the orange zest, stir to combine.

Step 2

Add and stir the melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract into the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

For the egg wash:

Step 1

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. 

To assemble:

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Step 2

Remove the ghost pastries from the fridge. Carefully flip over half of the ghosts (for example, if you have 20 cut-outs, flip over 10 pieces, preferably on one of the baking sheets). With a pastry brush, very lightly brush all of the ghosts with the egg wash.

Step 3

Place about 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar filling into the centre of the ghosts that were not turned over. With a small spoon or offset spatula, evenly spread the filling, leaving about ½ inch of the edges free from the mixture. Place a ghost cut-out over each filling, egg wash side down, and press the edges together to seal. Press all edges again with the tines of a fork to ensure tarts are sealed completely.

Step 4

Space the tarts about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet and place ghost tarts into the fridge to chill; at least 30 minutes.

Step 5

With a skewer or fork, poke 6 to 8 holes in the top layer; these vents will allow the steam to escape and help prevent the tarts from bursting. Use the remaining egg wash to lightly brush the tops of each tart. Place into the preheated oven and bake until pale golden; 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 6

Remove from oven and allow tarts to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before placing on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:

Step 1

In a small bowl, whisk together the Redpath® Icing Sugar and salt until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of liquid (milk or heavy cream) and vanilla extract. Add the additional liquid, if necessary. Glaze should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and remain white, but thin enough to spread easily with a small spoon or offset spatula.

Step 2

Spread a small amount of the glaze onto each completely cooled ghost tart. If using, place two black nonpareils or candy eyeballs for the eyes before the glaze hardens. Allow glaze to set before serving; about 15 minutes.

Step 3

Completely cooled ghost tarts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Ghost Tarts - hero web 2.jpg