If I could have a dessert everyday for the rest of my life, I think it would have to be this tart. Okay, perhaps I cannot promise any sort of long-term commitment to this tart or any dessert for that matter; it’s a fickle world out there for desserts. But for the meantime, this one is my favourite. I found the recipe for this Chocolate Espresso and Mascarpone Tart on Martha’s website and I would like to claim that the recipe is a winning “Martha” recipe, however this one actually was a complete blunder.
The tart turned out beautifully, as I eventually learned how to read between the lines; the lines of non-existent instructions that would have been advantageous in aiding to complete the task. The recipe, that I obtained from the internet was so flawed and fraught with inconsistencies (a reoccurring theme I find with most of her internet recipes), I can’t say that Martha was much help.
At the risk of sounding like a little miss know-it-all, it was only until I started making my own deductions that the recipe made sense. The ever so perfect and seemingly immaculate Martha, with her pristine kitchen benches and her faultless ironed shirts on this occasion was more of a hindrance than a help. Her ingredients list was missing certain essential items and also included some that are actually not necessary at all. Let’s just say that I had to make an extra trip to the grocery store, midway through the recipe to purchase another tub of mascarpone cheese because “something” went awry with the original tub. I was only following instructions but this relatively simple recipe became a bewildering and time-consuming exercise that if ultimately did not pay off in the end, I would have probably discarded it altogether- recipe, tart and Martha.
But it’s safe to say that all is not lost, the recipe’s only redeeming quality was its final result and if you think about it, this is what matters most. After a tub of mascarpone cheese and some eggs going to waste, all I can say is the tart is sensational but don’t even bother with the recipe online. That’ll teach me to read a recipe all the way through before commencing, something I have been known not to do often.
Suffice to say, the tart was a booming triumph, despite the misadventures in the kitchen. I don’t think I would be giving this tart such glowing reviews if the end result even slightly mirrored the disaster that ensued from merely following the recipe.
The ganache topping immediately melts in your mouth and the crisp delicate chocolaty crust is absolutely delicious, I could easily eat the crust all by itself. I love the marriage of textures in this tart, and what does it for me is the combination of the crumbly pastry and smooth and creamy mascarpone filling and ganache. Make sure you use the highest quality chocolate as you will definitely taste this in your ganache and only the best will do. On a warm summer’s day, this tart is sure to melt fast, so my only advice is to make sure you eat it faster than the rate that it is melting! Here is the complete recipe.
Chocolate Espresso and Mascarpone Tart
220g bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao), roughly chopped
300ml heavy cream (45% milk fat)
2 tbsp ground espresso beans
THE PASTRY CASE
1 cup plain all purpose flour
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
110g unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp heavy cream
350g mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar
zest of one lemon
MAKING THE GANACHE
Place the chopped chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl, set aside.
In small heavy-based saucepan, bring the cream and espresso to a boil, carefully stirring until the cream has just boiled.
Pour though a fine sieve over the bowl of chocolate and let stand for two minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the cream and chocolate continuously until the mixture becomes smooth and silky.
Allow to cool to room temperature, about 1 to 2 hours.
MAKING THE PASTRY CASE
Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder into a medium bowl, set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined.
Gradually sift flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the cream and mixing after every addition. The mixture will be quite sticky.
Gather the dough into a ball and shape into a thick rectangle, wrap in clear plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour (or can be kept overnight).
Roll out dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper to about ½cm thick, enough to cover a tart pan 36x13cm.
Gently lift the dough, with the help of a rolling pin and transfer to the tart pan.
Press the dough into the pan and trim the edges using the rolling pin; use the left over dough to cover any holes or thin surfaces on the pan.
Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Before baking, prick the base of the pastry shell all over using a fork.
Line with some parchment paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice or beans.
Place in the oven for 18 minutes, then remove pastry weights and replace in the oven for another 2-3 minutes at 220˚C or until the shell has crisped up.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before unmolding.
NOTE: The dough can be kept in the freezer, tightly wrapped for up to one week.
MAKING THE FILLING
Place mascarpone cheese and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
Sift over icing sugar, making sure that all clumps are removed.
Mix the sugar and cheese until smooth.
ASSEMBLING THE TART
Whisk ganache on medium speed until soft peaks form. Ensure that the mixture is at room temperature, not warmer or colder, or else your ganache will seize or become grainy.
Using a flexible spatula, smooth mascarpone filling evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.
Then spoon your ganache over the top of the mascarpone, or if you wish, you may pipe the ganache over the filling.
Chill for 30 minutes before serving.