With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to find a fun and decadent chocolate dessert for you. I searched the Internet and found a recipe on Epicurious that sounded fun. A chocolate tart spiked with Irish whiskey would be the perfect way to celebrate this Irish gal’s special day!
This tart filling is an interesting concoction with a nice flavor boost from the alcohol. It is somewhere between a soufflé and a lava cake. It has a crispy top layer that is fragile and breaks easily. It covers a delicate, soft and moist interior that is incredibly intensely chocolatey.
The crust is made with a blend of flour and almond flour, lending a lovely nutty flavor and a punch of protein. With lots of butter and some sugar, the crust winds up very tender and tastes like a sugar cookie. It is the perfect foil for the intense filling.
When you are making the crust, it will look like it is never going to come together, but if you let the food process continue to run, the mixture will suddenly turn into a soft dough. It is one of those miracles that makes you wonder how anyone who was making this by hand without a food processor would have kept beating the mixture long enough without giving up on it!
You will notice in my photos that even though the recipe calls for a large tart pan, that I also had small ramekins. My pan is only 1-inch deep and there was too much filling. So I filled the tart pan and put the extra in two ramekins. They only needed about 15 minutes in the oven to be done and they rose beautifully, then in true soufflé style, deflated as they cooled. I caught a few photos before they disappeared below the surface, LOL.
Not only is this a delicious dessert, just right for special occasions, but it is one of the best make-ahead desserts of all time. You prepare the tart right up to the point where you would bake it and then you pop the whole thing in the freezer. It can stay frozen up to a week, giving you plenty of time to work on the rest of your special meal. Put the frozen tart in a hot oven and bake about 30 minutes – your guests will love the dessert and you will love how easy it is to bake and serve!
While The Artist and I are celebrating the 19th anniversary of the day we met – yep, we met on St. Patrick’s Day – I hope you have a fantastic time celebrating the Wearin’ o’ the Green!!
You can substitute gluten-free flour in equal portions with the wheat flour. No additional ingredients are needed.
Kitchen Skill: Separating Eggs Safely
When you are whipping egg whites, there can’t be any fat or yolk in the bowl or the whites won’t whip correctly. The edges of the eggshell are quite sharp and can easily knick the yolks. The safer way to separate eggs is to crack them open and working over a bowl, pour the egg into one hand. Then carefully separate your fingers just a little, allowing the whites to pass through and into the bowl while keeping the yolk in your hand. Place the yolk in a second bowl and repeat with all remaining eggs.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1-1/2 cup (3 sticks) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1-1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 10 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup high-quality Irish whiskey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 tsp espresso powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 4 large eggs, separated (yolks in one bowl, whites in another)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Topping / Garnish
- Heavy cream whipped with sugar and vanilla to soft peaks
- Shaved chocolate
- Make Crust: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place all the crust ingredients in a food processor and process until they form a cohesive dough and it starts to clean the walls of the bowl, about 45 seconds. Transfer to an 11 x 2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and form into a flat disk. Press into the bottom and the sides of the pan. The best way to do this is to pinch off small pieces of the dough and press them into the sides of the pan. Smear those pieces down onto the bottom of the pan a bit. Break the rest of the dough into pieces and press onto the bottom making sure that all the surfaces are covered as evenly as possible. You can push it around a little to fill in any lower areas. Press the bottom dough into the side dough to form a seal.
- Poke holes in the bottom of the tart with the tines of a fork. This is called docking and will help keep the dough flat as it bakes; the holes allow steam trapped under the crust to escape. Place on a baking sheet - this helps you avoid pressing the bottom of the pan up while moving it around - and put in the hot oven. Bake until golden brown and you can smell it baking, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer tart pan to wire rack to cool. Do not remove the crust from the pan.
- Once baked the crust will taste like a sugar cookie! Do not be surprised if the sides of the crust sink after baking.
- Make Filling: In a measuring cup, combine the whiskey, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside while you melt the chocolate.
- On a kitchen scale, weigh the chocolate chips and set a heaping 1/3 cup of them aside. Place the remaining chocolate chips in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until mostly melted. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Pour in the whiskey mixture and whisk until completely incorporated. Return the pan to the heat and continue whisking constantly until the chocolate mixture becomes smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the sugar. When completely incorporated, increase the speed and beat until egg whites form stiff peaks and are glossy.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks and whisk into the chocolate mixture.
- Fold half of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture until there are no more white streaks. Stir in the reserved chocolate chips and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Make sure the mixture is completely blended. Pour into the baked tart shell.
- Place tart on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 3 hours. You can make it up to 1 week in advance; cover and keep frozen.
- Bake the Tart: When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375°F. Loosen the sides of the tart by pressing up the bottom. Set the tart in the pan on the baking sheet and place in the hot oven.
- Bake until the filling puffs up, some cracks may appear, and the crust is golden brown at the edges, about 30 minutes. If you check on the tart and most of it has puffed up but the center hasn’t, put it back in the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- When done, remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and place on a serving plate. Top with the sweetened whipped cream and sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top. Cut into wedges to serve.
- Yield: about 10 servings; 1 large tart
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