Many of us will be celebrating Christmas this weekend. I will hosting a Christmas Eve dinner in my home as we have done many times in the past, but this time it will be little different. The crowd will be a little smaller since my parents have gone South this year for the winter. Normally, I serve the All-American Peppermint Stick Torte with Fudge Sauce, but since there will be fewer mouths at the table, I thought I would change things up with this festive tart. Yes, another tart. Don't get me wrong, I love my cakes and cookies, but tarts hold a special place in my heart, or should I say, my belly:)
I found this recipe five years ago in Bon Appétit. I was smitten with it then and still am today. I make my favorite tart dough, then fill it with a luscious chocolate filling to which just a touch of espresso powder and peppermint extract are added. Candy canes are crushed and sprinkled over the top of the chocolate lending a bit of texture and obvious minty flavor. The original recipe called for 3 1/2 cups of whipping cream for the top!?! That seemed a little excessive in my opinion. I reduced it by more than half and there is still plenty of whipped cream for it to hold the title of whipped cream tart. Top it with a few more crushed candy canes and you just might hear sleigh bells in the distance.
If you are a reader, you know that I enjoy sharing my Sunday dinner menus along with a recipe. Since this Sunday is Christmas, I will be backing away from the computer and camera (o.k. maybe not the camera) to spend quality time with my family and yes, there will be a Sunday dinner with a good recipe or two that I will eventually share. So, in lieu of a Sunday dinner menu, I will leave you with our Christmas Eve menu. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Hot Onion and Cheese Soufflé Dip with Crostini
Aged Top Sirloin Roast with Herb Butter Sauce
Roquefort Potato Gratin
Mushrooms Sautéed with Garlic, Herbs, and Bread Crumbs
Chocolate and Peppermint Whipped Cream Tart
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Whipped Cream Tart
For the Tart Dough
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
9 Tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 extra large egg
For the Filling
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
For the Topping
1 2/3 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 Tablespoon crushed candy canes
For the Tart Dough
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour. Process in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas. Add the egg and process in long pulses, about 5-7 seconds until the dough has started to clump. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the surface. Using the plastic wrap and the back of your hands, gently press the dough into a disk. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If refrigerated overnight, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle, flouring the dough and surface as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over an 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit the dough into the edge of the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Place the tart onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.Line the tart pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a rack to cool completely.
For the Filling
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate; whisk until smooth. Add the espresso powder and peppermint extract and whisk to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle the top with the crushed candy canes. Chill until set, about 3 hours. (Can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.)
For the Topping
In a large chilled bowl, beat the cream, confectioners' sugar, and extract to stiff peaks using a whisk or hand-held mixer. Transfer the filling to a piping bag (I didn't use a tip) or a plastic bag with 3/4-inch cut off the corner. Pipe 2-inch long ovals of whipped cream side by side around the edge of the tart. Pipe more ovals inside that ring to form a second ring; pipe more ovals in the center. Chill for at least 30 minutes and/or up to 3 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the tart with the tablespoon of crushed candy canes. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2006