Friday, June 28, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Tart - A Daring Bakers Challenge

I am pie and tart-shy! The last one (and psst...the only one) I baked was an Apple Pie way back in 2011!  But when you have to bake a pie for the Daring Bakers, you got to bake one. I am glad I did not shy away from the challenge and got decent results to boot - or to eat in this case!

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!

 Rachael gave us the options to bake either a Crack Pie (a rich, salty-sweet pie with a oat crust) or a French Chocolate and Caramel tart or an Italian  Crostata or a Double Crust fruit pie. Bake one of them or more! I chose to bake the French Chocolate tart, a buttery pastry with rich chocolate mousse as the filling. I loved the filling in particular, reminded me of Chocolate Pots De Creme. I did not make the caramel layer as I felt that would make it even richer and sweeter of course. 

The crust is a matter of technique, something which only practice can help improvise and learn. Considering that I baked the crust the second time in my life after 2 1/2 years, I would say it was a good enough attempt. The making of the Pâte sablée involved the fraisage technique, i.e, smearing the dough on the counter so as to help get a flaky pastry. I baked one 9'' tart and about 4 mini ones. Found that I could have baked the 9'' tart shell a little longer. The tartlet shells though were quite flaky, crumbly and buttery as well. That sure gave me a high!

The mantra, I learn is about keeping your ingredients COLD. Cold butter, ice cold water, cold tools, a cool marble counter, rolling pin. This is to help prevent the butter from melting, keeping it in bits and pieces even after the pastry is rolled out. The butter melts in the oven creating pockets in the pastry - your flaky layers. Working quickly, handling the dough gently throughout helps keep it tender.  Start with less water and add more if needed as more water can make your pastry tough.

For the Pâte sablée
The deviation I made here is resting the pastry overnight after mixing, and then a one hour rest after rolling.


Egg yolk - 18 grams / 1 large
Granulated or powdered sugar - 5 tablespoons/ 70 gm / 2½ oz ( I powdered granulated sugar after weighing)
All-purpose flour - 1¾ cups (420 ml) (250 gm) (8¾ oz)
pinch salt
Diced Cold butter (diced and then chilled), cut into 1/2'' cubes - 125 grams / 9 tablespoons / 4 ½ oz
Ice Cold water - 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) ( I used 2 1/2 tablespoons)

For the caramel 

Granulated sugar - 7 tablespoons (105 ml) (100 gm) (3½ oz)
Whole cream, hot - 7 tablespoons (100ml

For the chocolate mousse

Eggs - 96 grams / 2 large
Whole milk  - 7 tablespoons / 100ml
Powdered sugar - 75 grams /1/3 cup / 2½ oz ( 50 grams gives mousse just about sweet)
Whole cream ( I used Amul, 25%) - 200 ml / 13 tablespoons
Dark chocolate, broken into pieces -  200 grams / 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 7 oz

For the pastry : Cube the butter first and then chill it, so that its really cold. Chill your pastry cutter or bench scraper or knives and a large metal bowl as well.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. ( If resting the pastry like I did, wait until later) Grease a 9"/24cm or 10"/26cm tart pan, ideally a fluted metal one with a removable bottom.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and sugar together with a teaspoon of the water until pale and fluffy, for about 2 minutes with a fork. Set aside.

3. Sift the flour and salt together into a mound on a work surface.

4. Scatter the diced butter over the top of the flour. Quickly toss the butter in the flour so it's all coated, then, using your fingers, rub it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. ( I used a cold metal bench scraper to do this, till I had some small flour mixture like bread crumbs and some with slightly larger pieces).  If you feel your butter going soft, try refrigerating the entire mixture in the metal bowl covered for sometime till the butter is cold again.

5. Gather the flour mixture into a mound and make a well in the center.

6. Pour the egg mixture and the rest of the water into the well. Working quickly, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour, first with your fingertips then with a bench scraper until just mixed but not brought together.

7. Gently gather dough together into a rough ball between your palms. If it stays together, it is sufficiently moist. If it doesn't stay together, add a teaspoon more water and repeat the process.

8. Using the palm of your hand, push away from you to smear the dough across the work surface, gather it up and repeat until it comes together into a smooth, soft ball. ( I smeared the dough in parts smearing each part only once gently) You aren't kneading, you are using the smearing action to bind the elements of the dough without developing the gluten in the flour. The dough ball shouldn't spring back when pressed. At this point, I have wrapped the dough in cling film and refrigerated it overnight. After resting the dough, place it on the counter for sometime if its not malleable enough to roll. Excessive pressure while rolling will make the flaky layers disappear!

9. Lightly flour your work surface and lightly roll the dough out to about 3mm thick ( mine was rolled into a 12'' diameter circle, used scraps to make tartlets) in a circle to fit your pan. Press the dough gently into the pan, prick all over the bottom with a fork. I have covered this again airtight and refrigerated for about 1 hour.

10. Line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights and bake until set, around 9 minutes. Remove pie weights and paper and bake another 6 minutes, until dry. Mine took longer - a total of about 20 minutes, longer would have been better. Pricking the base and baking without the weights till the crust turned golden brown around the edges seemed to work best for me. I baked the tartlet shells for 18 minutes.

11. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Leave the oven on.


For the caramel ( I skipped this)
1. Spread the sugar evenly across the bottom of a small, heavy-based, non-coated saucepan (it needs to be metallic so you can see the color). Heat over a medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar starts to melt and becomes liquid around the edges. Once about a quarter of it has melted, gently stir continuously with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until it turns a deep amber color, a few minutes depending on how high the heat is.
2. Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all (100ml) of the hot cream into the caramel, stirring continuously - it will splutter and steam so be very careful as it is extremely hot. The cream needs to hot and poured very slowly, otherwise the caramel will seize. Keep stirring until it stops bubbling and is well combined then set aside to cool.

For the chocolate mousse

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the milk and sugar.

2. In a small heavy-based saucepan, bring all (200ml) of the cream to a boil.

3. Remove cream from heat and add the broken chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Let cool a few minutes. I cooled it to almost room temperature.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula to obtain a smooth cream.

5. Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked tart shell.

6. Gently pour the chocolate cream over the caramel so you don't disturb it.

7. Place the tart into the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center. Mine took about 28 minutes, the tartlets about 18 minutes. Do not over bake or the texture of the mousse will be firm.

10. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. If using a tart pan with removable bottom, un mold before serving. I prefer serving this at room temperature, sliced into thin wedges.

Loved the ease and simplicity of the creamy mousse filling and the pastry dough as well. I am sure to be using both the recipes again!  Need to work on keeping the base as crisp as the sides once baked. Loved doing this challenge, thanks for pushing me to bake these Rachael!

Guess I will be baking more pies and tarts after all!


Corporate to Kitchen said...

seriously looks amazing. I am just drooling over these pics. The tart base has turned out perfect & not bad trying out after 2.5 years. I love the mousse & I am sure must have tasted heavnly

baker in disguise said...

OO delish!! I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing pics of chocolate mousse fillings!

I hear you on the caramel layer making it richer and sweeter.. that's why once I added coffee to the caramel layer... if you are a coffee lover.. it cuts through the sweetness!!

chef and her kitchen said...

that tart with all the chocolate goodness is quite tempting..i wish i can grab a slice

Hari Chandana P said...

looks super delicious!!

MyBakingDiary said...

Suma your tarts look spot-on!! Though I've never liked the tarts that we get in bakeries...your's looks really tempting.....will try for sure!

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful tarts, Suma. Love that goey filling!

Anonymous said...

Your pie family look so beautiful and I love the cherries on top! Thanks so much for baking with me this month :)

Gouri. said...

chocolate mousse tarts ,crispy crusts with chocolate and caramel ,yumm..

Priya Suresh said...

Tart and chocolate are my weakness, obviously i wont hesitate a second to invite myself to ur place to enjoy that irresistible tart.

Unknown said...

Hello! Thank you for sharing with us your recipe, I'll definitely try this at home, I was really looking for something new for my kids who always go to school and I really wanted to bring with them my home made recipe as their snacks because I don't want them to buy anywhere in canteen or outside the school. I have already copied it in my recipe notebook. Thank you so much for this and I'm looking forward for you more recipes to post♥

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Unknown said...

I love the pie recipes on this site. I can't wait to make this delectable and craving pies.