Monday, July 30, 2012

Dark Chocolate Mousse Tart

Intense. That's one word that perfectly describes this dark chocolate mousse tart. Intense colour, intense flavour and intensely ... satisfying too. If you've visited this blog lately, you'll know full well how I've been consumed with making pastry off late. Pies, tarts, puffs ... that's about all I've been making for the last couple of weeks. And so, when I watched Mindy, a contestant on Masterchef Australia (season 4) make a chocolate mousse tart with a chocolate shortcrust pastry shell, I knew I had to give it a go. A chocolate crust: wow! (Mindy went on to win the challenge and her tart was featured on the cover of the Masterchef magazine — didn't know there was such a mag. But you can check it our here). 

So anyway, I decided to follow her recipe for two reasons: first, it looked bloody good — chocolate on chocolate? I mean who can resist, right? Second, while I love watching episodes of Masterchef (the Australian one, not the American version),  I am always curious about how good the dishes really are. I mean, the ones that the judges rave on about. The abilities of the home cooks are without a doubt gasp-worthy but I just wonder how the dishes actually taste. So, by trying out Mindy's recipe, I'd be able to satisfy my curiosity.  

I followed her recipe with minimal changes: she poured a caramel orange syrup over her tart, I chose to drizzle a spiced orange syrup instead. Also, she used 3 egg yolks on top of 2 whole eggs, I just used 2 yolks as I had just four eggs left at home.

The instructions in Mindy's recipe were easy enough to follow. The crust used a fair amount of cocoa powder which was combined with flour, icing sugar and ground almonds. It's a shortcrust pastry: chilled butter is rubbed into the dry ingredients and then a liquid (in this case an egg) is added to bind the dough together. The pastry was rich and very chocolaty. It was also a little more wet than your regular shortcrust shell. I liked the taste: it wasn't too sweet ... in fact it wasn't sweet at all, allowing the chocolate to be the star ingredient and flavour. I might try using ground hazelnuts instead of almonds the next time as I think hazelnuts go so well with chocolate. (I did try using hazelnuts and it was brilliant. I think I'd go with hazelnuts in future. It also combines well with the cocoa and flour and you don't see specks of beige as with the almonds). But, yeah it turned out to be a really nice crust.

The end product was a deeply satisfying chocolate treat. Rich, warm and comforting and "super yum", as the judges on the show eloquently described it. Super yum indeed.

Chocolate Mousse Tart
(Adapted from Mindy Woods recipe from Masterchef)

For the pastry
100g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
60g icing sugar
20g ground almonds
90g butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg

For the mousse
275g dark chocolate
140g butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks (the original had 3 egg yolks)
110g castor sugar
zest of one orange

Orange syrup (not from the original recipe)
3 tbsp castor sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp water
1 star anise

For the pastry, whisk the flour, sugar, ground almond and cocoa together in a bowl. Add the cold butter and rub into the flour mixture with fingertips until you get what resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg and bring the crumbs together to form a dough. It will be slightly (just slightly) wet. Shape into a disc and chill for at least 30 mins.

Once chilled, place the disc in between two sheets of non grease paper and roll till about 4 mm thick. transfer onto the tart pan (10-inch) and gently mould to fit the pan.

Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork and chill for 15 mins. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C. Pre-bake the crust for 15 mins, until the base of the pastry has dried and hardened a little.

For the filling, add he chocolate and butter in a bowl and place the bowl above a pot of simmering water. Stir until both the butter and chocolate melts and becomes a shiny ganache. Remove and let cool.

Turn the heat off the water but keep the pan on the stove. Add the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and place the bowl above the steaming water. Whisk with an electric hand held mixer or a balloon whisk till the mixture almost tripled in volume and you can form ribbons with the mixture. Stir in the zest.

Add to the cooled chocolate ganache (in three installments) and fold in gently.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust and bake for 18 mins. Remove and cool.

Make the syrup: add all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens. Drizzle over tart.

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