When you start a blog of your own, you suddenly start to see the blogosphere in a different light; it opens your eyes. I’ve been using blogs as a source for answers to questions both in my professional and personal lives for years now and it wasn’t until I started my own that I realized that bloggers are a community of people. They help and encourage each other, they support each other; they are a cyber family of sorts. They also do things together. I had no idea this was happening until I started my own blog and began following other bloggers with similar interests on Twitter. What an eye opener this all has been!
Recently one of the uber talented people I follow on twitter and who’s blog I read, Abby Dodge proposed a cooperative project called bake together. The idea is to bake her recipe for a Chocolate Truffle Tart from Fine Cooking but to change it up, putting your own spin on it. I took one look at this recipe and knew I HAD to do this! And I new exactly WHAT I was going to do TO it!
I chose a take on a group of flavors I found some time ago, I don’t remember where, for an anti-inflammatory drink. The drink itself also includes pineapple but its the sour cherry and ginger aspect of the drink that I felt would work well in the tart. i substituted ginger snaps for the graham crackers and kirsch for the rum. I also added a bit of instant espresso powder to the chocolate and topped the tart with a homemade cherry compote (recipe coming soon) and crystalized ginger.
I made it on Saturday and brought it to a makeup party my daughter-in-law was having that evening…untested! I know, I’m crazy. My family are often guinea pigs for my culinary creations but this time there would be people I didn’t know in attendance. I’m EXTRA crazy.
Thankfully the tart came out great, nobody choked and everyone loved it! Whew, what a relieve!
Chocolate-Cherry Truffle Tart (Adapted from Abby Dodge)
For the Crust
5 ounces finely crushed ginger snap cookies
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
1 cup half and half
½ tablespoon instant espresso powder
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon kirsch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
For the Topping
1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of the cherry compote liquid or 1 tsp kirsch (unless you want it really boozy, then use the 2 teaspoons)
Finely chopped crystallized ginger
Sour Cherry Compote
To Make the Crust
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and have ready a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, ground ginger and sugar until well blended.
3. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs mixing until well blended and evenly moist.
4. Dump the mixture into the tart pan and press evenly onto the bottom and sides of the pan. I used the bottom of the measuring cup to press the crust down into the pan.
5. Bake until fragrant and slightly darker brown, 10 to 12 minutes and set on a rack to cool.
To Make the Filling
1. Dissolve the instant espresso power in the half and half. (Note: The brand I use is so finely ground that all I need to do is stir to dissolve)
2. In a heatproof medium bowl, melt the chocolate, half and half mixture and butter over simmering water (alternatively you can melt the chocolate in the microwave). Remove from the heat and add the kirsch, vanilla and salt, whisking until well blended. Set aside, whisking occasionally, until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 1 hour. (For faster cooling, refrigerate the filling until thickened to a pudding consistency, about 30 minutes, whisking and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every 5 minutes.)
3. With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the crust and spread evenly. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until the filling is set, about 4 hours and up to 1 day before proceeding with the recipe.
To Make the Topping
1. In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, heavy cream and sugar.
2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment beat on low speed until smooth.
3. Add the compote liquid or kirsch and increase speed to medium high and beat until cream is thick and holds firm peaks.
To Assemble/Decorate theTart
1. Put cream into a piping bag fitted with a large tip of your choice and decorate as desired, leaving a space in the center for the cherry compote.
2. Add compote to center of tart and sprinkle with crystallized ginger.
3. Cover loosely and refrigerate up to 8 hours.