Essential Mocha Tart

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons instant coffee powder (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate squares, broken in half
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares, broken in half
  • ¾ cup heavy creamEssential Mocha Tart
  • 4 ounces coarsely chopped (or whole) hazelnuts, toasted lightly and cooled
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup hazelnut-flavored liqueur, such as Frangelico
  • 3 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream combined with 1 tablespoon sugar

Optional garnishes (choose one or combine options, as desired):

  • 12-16 whole hazelnuts, toasted lightly
  • 12-16 chocolate-coated coffee beans
  • About 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar or about 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (use a fine-mesh strainer to sprinkle on the tart)
  • Other dessert decorations, such as sprinkles or crystallized sugars

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt, coffee powder, chocolates, and ¾ cup cream.  Cook over low/medium heat just until the chocolates have melted, whisking frequently.  Remove from heat and let stand uncovered.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.  Coat a 1″ deep, 11″ tart pan with removable sides with cooking spray.  In a large processor, combine the hazelnuts, flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt until the nuts are finely ground.  Add the butter and combine well.  Pour into the prepared pan and press dough up the sides first, then press evenly all over the base of the pan.  Bake 10 minutes.

A couple minutes before the crust is done, whisk the liqueur, eggs, and vanilla in a 4-cup glass measure.  Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture well.  Leaving the tart pan on the oven rack, pull the rack out partly and carefully pour the chocolate mixture onto the crust (it will be very full—try to keep it level).  Carefully push the rack back in and bake 40 minutes, or until the center is set.  Remove and place the tart pan on a rack for 1 hour.  Chill at least 1 hour before garnishing.  Remove sides from the pan and place tart on a serving dish.

Whip the ½ cupessential slice cream and 1 tablespoon sugar until stiff.  Place in a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe 12 or 16 rosettes equally around the tart.  Place desired garnish on top of each rosette or sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, or other decorations.  Or, you may simply spread the whipped cream/sugar all over the top of the tart and decorate as desired.  For longer storage, cover and chill.  Let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving again.  Serves 12-16.

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