To say that I have a sweet tooth would be a *colossal* understatement. I love me some sweets. ALL the sweets. Of all those sweets, cream-based desserts have a special place in my heart. They're delicious and comforting. Whipped cream and pastry cream and custards... (*drools*) I also have a soft spot for chocolate and espresso...so this Mocha Tart is riiiiight up my alley.
This Mocha Tart has a chocolate shortbread crust filled with chocolate-espresso custard and topped with chocolate whipped cream! FIVE shades of chocolate whipped cream, to be more exact. 😀 The crisp, crumbly crust paired with the soft, creamy goodness of the custard and the whipped cream is a stellar combination.
This tart is everything that is right with the world. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say that it will help you to forget what's not going right in your world. This tart is comfort food. It's roll-your-eyes-forget-your-worries delicious.
Making the Mocha Tart Crust
The dough for the crust comes together easily in a food processor! After a little chill, the dough is rolled out to line the pan, chilled, then baked and cooled before filling it with the custard.
I used a 4" x 14" rectangular tart pan with removeable bottom for this tart (like this one here), but the recipe can also be made into a 9" round tart without any alterations to the recipe.
Making the Chocolate-Espresso Custard
The chocolate-espresso custard is the flavor star in this recipe! There are a few ingredients I used for the best flavor:
- Espresso powder is the easiest way to get the most espresso flavor in the custard! I've found it difficult to find espresso powder--especially one that isn't already hard as a rock--at my local grocery store. I use King Arthur Baking's espresso powder (link here), as it's very fine and made specifically for baked goods.
- You know me, vanilla bean paste is always a must! I just looove the flavor! You can substitute the vanilla bean paste with an equal measure of vanilla extract if you'd like. If you're looking to purchase vanilla bean paste and can't find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find it online here.
- Chocolate extract lends amazing depth of flavor to anything chocolate, so I highly recommend using it here! If you can’t find it locally, you can find some here. Or, even better, make yourself some Homemade Chocolate Extract for next time!
Let's Talk About That Whipped Cream
You can choose to make the whipped cream all vanilla bean, all chocolate, or go for the ombré look like I did. I know how insane it is that I made whipped cream five different ways for this tart. I'm a special kind of crazy, so I like that sort of thing. Feel free to dollop some beautiful vanilla bean whipped cream on top with a spoon and go to town.
That said, if you subscribe to my particular brand of crazy, Here are the notes on how I achieved the different shades of chocolate whipped cream, listed from lightest to darkest:
- Shade 1 (base recipe): ¼ cup cream, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste.
- Shade 2: Base recipe +1 teaspoon cocoa.
- Shade 3: Base recipe +1 teaspoon cocoa and 1 teaspoon dark cocoa.
- Shade 4: Base recipe +2 teaspoon dark (dutch process) cocoa and ½ teaspoon black cocoa.
- Shade 5: Base recipe +2 teaspoon black cocoa.
You will need to whip each shade separately for best results. I know, it's a lot of steps to do it that way. If you try to whip all the cream at once, then add the cocoa powder(s) afterward, the cocoa powder tends to clump, and the whipped cream doesn't have quite the right texture. Believe me, I tried. 🙂
We all need a little comfort in our lives, even when things are going well. I hope that you are all having a fabulous week, and that you'll bake this Mocha Tart just because you deserve it! 🙂
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Crust and custard recipes adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours (link here).
Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (see note)
- pinch salt
- 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted (I used 60%)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (see note)
- ½ teaspoon chocolate extract (see note)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
- Grease a 4" x 14" tart pan with removeable bottom (see note). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cocoa, powdered sugar, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine.
- Add diced butter and pulse until no large pieces remain. Beat egg yolk slightly and drizzle over the top. Process in long pulses until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together. Roll the dough large enough to line your tart pan. Transfer to tart pan and trim edges. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease some foil and line the frozen crust with it (you don't need pie weights because the crust is frozen). Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for another 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk to boiling.
- While the milk warms, combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, espresso powder, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add about ½ cup of the hot milk in a slow, steady stream to the egg mixture while whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs. Then add the egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk.
- Cook mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick. Once the desired thickness is reached, remove from the heat.
- Add melted chocolate and mix to combine. Add vanilla bean paste (see note), chocolate extract (see note), and butter and mix to incorporate.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl to ensure there are no lumps in the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly to the surface of the custard to ensure it doesn't form a skin. Refrigerate until chilled through.
- Once chilled, fill the prepared tart crust with the custard. Chill until ready to top with whipped cream.
For Whipped Cream (see note):
- You can choose to make the whipped cream all plain, all chocolate, or go for the ombre effect like I did. There are details in the recipe notes on how I achieved each shade of chocolate whipped cream that you see in the photos.
- Combine cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer (if making chocolate whipped cream, add the cocoa powder at this time, too). Using the whisk attachment, begin beating on low speed to start to incorporate the ingredients. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag to pipe onto the tart, or dollop on top with a spoon.Enjoy!