There are some desserts that you make to please, and there are some desserts you make to impress. Lately, I’ve been wanting to make the latter kind. It’s finally the holiday season, the time for fancy desserts – in fact, given my current baking inclinations, holiday desserts are going to be my December baking project. But last weekend my desire to impress was thwarted by my general clumsiness – well, that and some new jeans that are a little too long, and a pair of stilettos.
So there it is, above – a double chocolate mint tart. A chocolate cookie crust, filled with chocolate ganache, topped with a layer of white chocolate mint mousse, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It was my own creation, which I was taking to one of the many pre-Thanksgiving parties I attended this year.
Too bad I tripped on my walk to the metro carrying this tart – in classic Jenna fashion, I fell flat on my face, arms and legs akimbo (I trip like this at least twice a year, if not more). My tupperware container flew from my hands and landed upside down, several feet away. One passer by stopped his bike, exclaiming in a worried tone “Oh my god – are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m okay,” I replied. “But I don’t think my dessert is okay.” After all, bruised knees will heal. I could not say the same for my tart.
Most of the tart ended up on the roof of the tupperware container, and I was able to scrape the filling back into the tart shell when I got to the party. But folks, it was not the same. Instead of lovely layers of cookie, ganache and mousse, everything was mixed together – more like a trifle scraped into a tart pan.
It wasn’t all bad – even in its uncomposed state, the tart was pretty delicious – in fact, it a hit at the party. Part of my problem with a lot of chocolate desserts is that they’re too heavy, so intensely chocolatey that I can only eat a couple bites. But this is a chocolate dessert that doesn’t overwhelm – the intense chocolate ganache layer and the rich chocolate sauce is offset by the creamy, minty, white chocolate mousse. The crunchy chocolate cookie crumb crust is the perfect foil to filling – in fact, every time I make a crumb crust, I fall a little more in love with them.
I guess that’s another point in this dessert’s favor – it was suprisingly resilient, even in the face of klutziness. But I really want someone else to make this for a holiday party – so it can be served in its proper, impressive fashion.
And if you do, I suggest you save your stilettos for another night.
Double Chocolate Mint Pie
Adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Epicurious
- You’ll need to start this the day before you intend to serve it, to let everything set up.
- I am actually a milk chocolate fan (sacrilege, I know), and I like to use half milk and half bittersweet chocolate in my ganache. If you’re a dark chocolate fan then by all means use all bittersweet chocolate.
- Yes, I realize the mousse contains uncooked egg whites. No, I do not think that they will kill me. But if you think they will kill you, then this tart is not for you.
For the crust:
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
5 tbs melted unsalted butter
1 tbs sugar
For the chocolate ganache:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup + 1 tbs heavy cream
2 tbs butter, softened
For the mint white chocolate mousse:
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the chocolate drizzle:
1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbs butter
3 tbs heavy cream
1. Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine cookie crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a small bowl. Pat mixture into a tart pan, so that it evenly covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake crust in the oven until toasted – approximately 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Make ganache:
Place chopped milk and bittersweet chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small sauce pan, heat cream over moderate heat to the boiling point. Whisk cream into chocolate until smooth. Let cool completely, then stir in the butter. Transfer to the refrigerator to set (around 6 hours, or overnight).
3. Make mousse:
Combine white chocolate and 1/4 cup whipping cream in large bowl. Heat mixture in the microwave (use a low power setting) until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let mixture cool until lukewarm, about 15 minutes.
Beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream, vanilla and peppermint extract in large bowl until peaks form. In another medium bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in whipped cream. Chill overnight.
4. Assemble tart:
Remove ganache and mousse from the refrigerator. Both will be slightly stiff, so stir each with a whisk or spatula a couple times, until they loosen slightly. Pour ganache over crust, smoothing with a spatula so that it covers the entire bottom. Pour mousse over ganache, smoothing the top with a spatula.
5. Prepare drizzle and decorate tart:
Place chocolate in a small bowl and melt in microwave (use a low power setting). Place cream in another small bowl and heat until hot (but not boiling). Whisk cream into chocolate. Whisk in the butter. Let cool. Dip a fork into the mixture and flick over the tart in appealingly messy patterns.
Place assembled tart in the fridge for another hour or so, to firm up, before serving.