Despite all my Christmas recipes, my decorations, and my tree, I don't know if I'm actually ready for Christmas...
There's a very good reason for why I'm not ready and I've mentioned in a few times in previous posts and I hope I'm not sounding too whiny - but I'm working like cah-raaazy. Every day is a 12 hour work day. Well, sometimes it's not - yesterday was 14 hours.
So please forgive me because I barely have enough time to microwave leftover mac and cheese and get 6 hours of sleep before I'm off to work again. It's hard to work in Christmas cheer when I'm eating leftovers in a tupperware container over the sink. So glamourous.
But Christmas is coming whether Im ready for it or not, so I better get my head in the game.
If you're feeling a little bit like me or maybe it just doesn't feel like Christmas yet, try out these tarts. They might help. A crisp and buttery crust, a silky dark chocolate custard, topped with a cute little dome of peppermint white chocolate crémeux, and sprinkled with crunchy caramelized cocoa nibs to give a little hint of bitterness to contrast all that sweet. I think I checked all the boxes with this dessert... creamy, crunchy, sweet, bitter, chocolatey.
Mint Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs
Recipe adapted from Elements of Dessert
145 g all-purpose flour
350 g cake flour
240 g butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean
3.5 g salt
180 g icing sugar
35 g almond flour
100 g eggs
Dark Chocolate Custard
Recipe from Cook with Jamie
242 g heavy cream
106 g whole milk
20 g sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
177 g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
White Chocolate Peppermint Crémeux
40 g egg yolks
166 g heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
73 g white chocolate, finely chopped
2 g peppermint extract
1 gelatin sheet, bloomed
Caramelized Cocoa Nibs
35 g sugar
10 g water
100 g cocoa nibs
For the sablé, sift the all-purpose and cake flour together.
Cream the butter, salt, icing sugar, and almond flour together on medium speed in an electric mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mix. Mix until a homogenous mass is obtained, about 2 minutes.
Stop the mixer, add the eggs and mix for a few seconds on low speed until the eggs are completely incorporated.
Stop the mixer, add the sifted flours, and mix for a few seconds, pulsing the mixer at first to keep the flour in the bowl. Mix just to obtain a homogenous mixture.
Shape the dough into a flat square and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven 325 F.
Roll out the dough to 3mm, then chill again until slightly firm. Line your tart shell by placing a piece of dough on top of each mold. Gently push the dough in with your fingertips until it conforms to the shape of the mold. Make sure that the dough is lined up with the mold. There will be some that protrudes from the rim of the mold. Do not cut it yet. Freeze the tart(s) until the dough hardens.
Once the dough is hard, use a paring knife to trim the excess off the top of the molds.
Dock the dough with a fork and line with parchment paper and baking weights/dried beans/rice. If the dough is still frozen, bake it; otherwise re-freeze it. Bake until dry, but has not developed colour yet, about 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and baking weights form the tart and bake for a further 5 to 7 minutes, until the tarts are very lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
For the filling, combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the pot and heat over medium heat.
Scald the milk mixture, remove from heat, and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate has melted and cooled slightly. Add the egg and whisk again to incorporated. Transfer to a pitcher or similar vessel.
Place your tart shells in the oven and pull the rack out slightly. Carefully pour the chocolate mixture into your shells and slide the rack back in place, making sure not to spill the filling.
Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until there is a slight jiggle in the middle of the custard. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
For the white chocolate crémeux, place the heavy cream in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until slightly paler in colour. Place the white chocolate in a large bowl.
Once the cream mixture has just come to a boil, pour a small amount into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the remaining cream into the yolks, then return to the saucepan. Over medium-low heat and stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, cook the anglaise until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
Strain with a fine mesh sieve into the bowl with the white chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then slowly stir to melt the chocolate and emulsify. Add the peppermint extract. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add to the mixture, stirring to dissolve. Place over an ice bath and cool to room temperature.
Place a 2.75 inch diameter demi sphere silicone mold on a baking sheet. Pour 40 g of white chocolate cremeux into the silicone molds (they will not be full) and freeze until completely frozen.
For the caramelized cocoa nibs, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Dissolve the sugar over low heat, then increase the heat to high. Once the mixture has reached 116 C, add the cocoa nibs and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula. Continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes, about 4 minutes. Spread the cocoa nibs into a baking sheet lined with a silpat and let cool completely. Break up any large clumps of cocoa nibs and reserve in an airtight container.
To assemble, unmold a demi sphere and place it on the chocolate tart. Let the demi sphere thaw in fridge for about 30 minutes. In the space between the edge of the demi sphere and the tart shell, sprinkle caramelized cocoa nibs.