True, Christmas has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean I’m not spending each and every day reliving the flavors, aromas, and memories of the holiday. I know I did a chocolate and peppermint dessert last year, but to me they’re the ideal Christmas flavors. There’s something wintery and festive about mint and chocolate that I just love, even if some people aren’t huge fans ahem Hallie.
With my flavor profile in mind, a recipe on the Bon Appetit website detailing gratuitous photos of showstopping desserts jumped right out at me — a simple dark chocolate tart with peppermint whipped cream topping.
I had originally intended to use a store-bought crust — gasp! — I know, but it’s a time saver in a pinch and my mom happened to have one in the freezer. But it, like many things in my parent’s fridge, was super old and crumbled when I tried to roll it out. So i was forced, forced I tell you, to make a home made tart dough. It’s dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Further crises occurred mere hours before Christmas dinner when it came to my attention that we didn’t have enough heavy cream on hand. Who runs out of heavy cream over the holidays? Alas, my dad had purchased a few extra cartons of coffee cream, not heavy cream, which sparked a great debate among my family as to the difference. Ever the problem-solver (ha, that’s hilarious) I stayed calm and altered the recipe to suit my ingredients. If you know me, you’re aware that I’m prone to kitchen meltdowns. But I feel I handled this one rather smoothly, right Mom? I only got slightly huffy when she suggested I make brownies instead. Brownies!? I love a fudgy brownie as much as the next guy, but it is hardly a show-stopping dessert.
So I took my par-baked tart shell out of the oven and began a comprehensive Google search to modify my recipe. Tyler Florence to the rescue! (um, I have literally never said that in my life). I used the recipe for dark chocolate tart filling, which required much less heavy cream, and added it to my tart shell. The mixture was quite intoxicatingly chocolatey.
Oh, and you know what’s the greatest baking invention ever and will make you look like a professional every time? The removable bottom tart pan. All you do is press the crust in, bake it off, and literally remove the bottom. Hence the name. The edges of the crust come out gorgeous and perfect every time. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
The finished product was dense and rich with a sweet, buttery flakiness from the crust and a burst of creamy freshness from the peppermint whipped cream. The topping couldn’t have been easier since it was just heavy cream (the precious bit I had left), powdered sugar, and peppermint extract whipped to a fluffy cloud-like state. A sprinkling of crushed peppermint candies gave it a festive finishing touch. Show-stopping indeed.