I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I hope the holidays were good to you and your family. Like many people do each year, I made some New Year's resolutions. In addition to the usual stuff like exercise more, eat healthier, spend less, save more, I have a couple resolutions that are not so usual.
Stop buying shoes. I just counted and I have 34 pairs of shoes. Thirty four may not seem like a whole lot, but I guess it is if you consider the fact that I don’t have to dress up for work. I can wear pretty much whatever I like to the office, so it's not like I have the excuse of needing work shoes vs. non-work shoes (casual, dress, sports). I've worn each pair at least once this past year so it's not like they are just taking up space in my closet. But I really only wear 8 or 9 pairs most of the time. I blame all those shoe websites that offer free shipping and free returns. Those sites just make it soooo easy to shop from home.
Learn to make macarons. I never hesitate to buy one (or two) of each flavor from Miette whenever I'm at the Ferry Building. It can really add up considering they cost $1.50/each. Although having so many trial batches of macarons around the kitchen won't help me stick to the "eat healthier" resolution, it will help with the "spend less".
Now this pie might not be the best way to kick off the new year, but that's exactly the point. Co-hosts Nic of Bakeologie and Carrie of Cooking With Carrie chose "Resolution Breaker Pie" as the theme for this month's "You Want Pies With That?" event. They wanted us to create a pie or tart so irresistible that we just can't help but to throw our resolutions out the window and just indulge.
I decided that my tart must have chocolate and coffee. To make it even more decadent, I used Oreo sandwich cookies for my crust. Using the Oreo cream filling along with some butter helps to hold the cookie crumbs together.
The next layer is dark chocolate ganache. Nothing but chocolate and heavy cream. Oh yeah!
I topped the ganache with a creamy espresso mascarpone mousse. Mascarpone is a rich cow's milk cheese that has about 60-75% fat. It's sometimes referred to as Italian cream cheese. Mascarpone has a mild flavor that is less tangy than Philly cream cheese. It's more like heavy cream than cream cheese. The espresso mousse reminds me of a less intense espresso ice cream.
To make my tart even more tempting, I topped the espresso mascarpone mousse with ground pecan pralines. The praline added a nice crunchy contrast to the smooth and creamy mousse. And I love the combination of pralines with espresso.
I finished the tart with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate. The tart was really delicious and even better than I imagined it would be. Now that's what I call a resolution breaker.
Chocolate Espresso Praline Tart
(makes one 10-inch tart)
28 Oreo brand sandwich cookies
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1. Process cookies in food processor until fine crumbs form.
2. Add melted butter and pulse until just moistened.
3. Press crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (My tart pan has a 10-inch diameter and the sides are 1-inch high.)
5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used a 71% chocolate)
4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil.
3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
4. Stir gently until combined.
5. Pour ganache over crumb crust.
6. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Espresso Mascarpone Mousse
8 ounces mascarpone, softened at room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp finely ground espresso beans
1 tsp instant espresso powder (dissolved in 2-3 tsp heavy cream)
1 tsp powdered unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp water
4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, beat mascarpone, sugar, ground espresso beans, espresso powder / heavy cream mixture until creamy, about 10 seconds.
2. In a small heat proof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water.
3. Let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Set gelatin in a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until dissolved. (Keep gelatin warm while you beat the cream.)
5. Beat the heavy cream until it begins to form soft peaks.
6. Add the vanilla and warm gelatin. (It's important that the gelatin is warm or it will clump when added to the cream.)
7. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
8. Fold whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
9. Spread mousse over the chilled ganache / crust.
10. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
1/2 cup store bought or homemade pecan pralines (or candied pecans)
1. Grind pralines in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Some larger pieces are okay.
2. Sprinkle over chilled mousse.
Drizzle with melted chocolate and serve. Store tart in refrigerator for up to 3 days.