I created this tart with Valentine’s Day in mind. If your special person isn’t a sociopath and loves chocolate, this recipe is THE ONE. Chocolate shortcrust pastry, dark chocolate ganache enriched with espresso, topped with mounds of toasty cardamom meringue. Plus, it’s pretty.
This was my first time playing around with meringue, and let me tell you. It’s not as complicated as it looks. And making ganache is super-duper easy-peasy. The pastry took the longest to make out of the three components, due to it chilling 3 times, but you can definitely make it ahead of time to make things go a little faster. You can even substitute the pastry for a ready-made chocolate cookie crust, but I prefer the shortcrust. It also turns it into a fully-homemade labor of love that looks (and tastes) pretty impressive.
Dark Chocolate-Espresso Tart with Cardamom Meringue
For shortcrust pastry:
- 1 1/3 c all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 1/3 sticks of butter, cold and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 340g dark chocolate chunks, 60% cacao
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup heavy crean
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp vanilla
2. Dump onto lightly floured surface and form into a solid, flat disk. Wrap in cling-wrap and let rest in fridge for 1 hour up to overnight.
3. Chill, bake and chill again: Take out chilled dough and roll out into a 12 inch circle. Loosely roll onto a floured rolling pin, then unroll it into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a knife to trim away any excess dough. (No tart pan? You can use a spring-form pan like I did, and push the dough half way up the sides. Just make sure the dough is a very even height all the way around.) Put the tart into the freezer for 30 minutes to reduce shrinkage while baking. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375.
4. Blind bake the dough: Remove dough from freezer and line with parchment or foil. Weigh down with pie weights, or dried rice/beans. Bake for 20 minutes, remove weights and parchment/foil, and continue to bake for 10 more minutes. Chill in freezer while making the ganache.
5. Fill a small pot with a few inches of water and set on medium-high. Place a heat-proof mixing bowl over top and add in all ganache ingredients. Stir every 30 seconds or so.
The double-broiler method gently melts all the ingredients together until they look like this:
Be very, very still, my chocolate-loving heart.
6. Try not to eat all the filling as you pour it into the chilled tart shell. Place in the fridge to cool. This takes at about an hour to set. If not serving for a while, it can rest in the fridge until then.
7. 15-20 minutes before serving, make meringue: Set up the double-broiler situation again, this time swapping a stand-mixer bowl for the heat-proof mixer bowl. Add in your room-temperature egg whites, being very careful to not get any egg yolk in the mixture. Add in the sugar and whisk constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
Transfer bowl to stand mixer, and add in the vanilla and cardamom. Using the whisk attachment, mix on high until meringue fluffs and forms peaks that stay in place when beater is lifted. It should look glossy, and leave trails when mixed. If you over-mix, it will turn dry and grainy, and you won’t be able to create those pretty swirls. It should take around 5-7 minutes.
7. Dollop onto chilled ganache tart. Don’t be afraid to pile it on, and pile it on high! Using the back of a spoon, create swirls in the meringue. If you have a culinary blow torch, great! Use it to gently toast the top. If not, no problem- broil in the oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until peaks are brown and meringue is golden. Dust with cocoa and a teeny pinch of cardamom.
8. Serve and be prepared for compliments. If you want to pair this with a fruit, sliced figs would be perfect!