Chocolate Peppermint Tart

I take my Christmas desserts very seriously. The Christmas lunch, after all, is one of the few meals a year where my family is all together, and therefore is deserving of an array of appetizers, lasagne, a turkey, at least four side dishes, and of course, at least three desserts. I tend to choose my dessert recipes far in advance and test them out beforehand to make sure they are top notch.

This super elegant Chocolate Peppermint Tart will hands down be on my menu this year. It is absolutely delicious, the kind of delicious that leaves you speechless for a couple of seconds when you first try it (not kidding here -- my colleagues who taste tested this all had the same reaction). So what makes this so good?! The filling is dense and smooth and truffle-like, and intensely chocolate-y, topped off by a bittersweet ganache glaze that ups the chocolate factor and gives the tart a shiny, elegant finish. All of this  is poured in to a slightly crunch chocolate cookie crust which contrasts nicely with the creamy filling. The hint of peppermint adds a nice brightness to the tart (who doesn't love chocolate and mint?!) and keeps things seasonal. A couple of notes: this dessert can also be made in advance, and if you're not a peppermint fan, feel free to leave out the extract -- I have made this as a plain chocolate tart and it is delicious that way as well. Do remember to cut the pieces small, as this is quite a rich dessert. Lastly, I would recommend garnishing the edges of the tart with some crushed candy canes -- I would have done so myself, but candy canes are hard to come by in Italy! Enjoy everyone! 

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT TART

For the crust:
1 ½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
8 1/2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar 
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the glaze:
½  ounces semi sweet chocolate
2½ tablespoons heavy cream
1¼ teaspoons corn syrup
1¼ tablespoons warm water

Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). In a small bowl stir together cookie crumbs and melted butter until combined and crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture evenly in base and up sides of tart pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter together in skillet over low heat (you can also use a double boiler for this -- that would be the better option! -- but I don’t have one in my kitchen here). Let the chocolate and butter mixture cool slightly.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine all of the ingredients. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the tart until the filling is slightly puffed and set around the edges, and the center jiggles slightly (note that the filling will continue to set as the tart cools), 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tart cool about 1 hour.

To make the glaze, combine the remaining chocolate, cream, corn syrup, and water in a small pan and whisk together until melted and well combined. Immediately pour the glaze onto the center of the tart, and with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the glaze evenly over the top of the tart.  Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour. Serves 12.











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