There’s something slyly seductive about the pairing of smooth, rich chocolate and a good, smoky whiskey. A well-made chocolate tart for dessert is almost like an elegant little black dress – chic, simple, and irresistible to pass up, rather like Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Splash in a little booze and you’ve got the makings of Holly’s wall-to-wall party in her cozy Manhattan flat. Well, maybe not as raucous – but you get the idea. I may be getting a little carried away – I will seize any opportunity to throw a little Audrey into anything!
This week, Baked Sunday Mornings highlights Baked’s Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart, crowned with soft, billowing Whiskey Whipped Cream. I’ve been looking forward to making this recipe since I first received Baked Elements, as I’ve gradually become a pretty big fan of tossing whiskey into – well, any dessert, especially good whiskey!
Honestly, you will find that the best thing about this tart is that it lives up to its name for being ‘simple’. You start by making a super-buttery crust with homemade or pre-made shortbread cookies, crushed to fine crumbs in a food processor. I used a box of Archer Farms Shortbread Cookies I found at Target, but you could also go with Lorna Doone cookies, if you are taking the pre-made route. Combine the crumbs with melted butter, a touch of granulated sugar and salt; press this into a springform pan. As the crumb crust seemed a little more ‘tacky’ and sticky than a typical crumb crust (there’s a ton of butter in it, what with the butter cookies AND butter), I found it most helpful to use a metal measuring cup to tamp down the crumbs and press them against the sides of the pan; the crumbs stuck less to the metal than my fingers. As with most crumb crusts, pay heed to the instruction that you should place the springform pan on a sheet pan, as excess butter in the crust does tend to seep out of the bottom of the pan when baking. You will have a smoky, greasy mess in your oven if you skip this suggestion (take it from one who knows!). I ended up baking my crust a touch longer than the recipe suggests; after 12 minutes, it still looked rather shiny, soft, and greasy rather than dry. I think I took it to about 17-18 minutes, but do keep an eye on it, as you don’t want it to over-brown.
The luscious filling is made by combining milk (whole or 2%, which I used and it worked just fine) and heavy cream; heating this almost but not quite to the point of boiling or scalding. Pour the milk/cream mixture over a combination of bittersweet (or dark) and milk chocolates, allow the chocolate to melt, then whisk to form a sort of loose ganache. As with any chocolate, using quality chocolate yields the most favorable results. I typically use Ghirardelli chocolate baking chips and they work perfectly fine – and do not contain fillers, like most chocolate chips do (check the ingredient list). Make a ‘slurry’ – a thickening mixture – of one egg plus one egg yolk, a tablespoon of flour, and 2 tablespoons of whiskey. My current whiskey of choice is Knob Creek. It’s a little pricier, but worth it for the results you’re aiming for.
Once the ganache mixture has cooled or is only slightly warm, gently whisk in the whiskey slurry. Try not to over-whisk this chocolate mixture if you want a finished tart that looks smooth and satiny on the top; I found that I incorporated a few too many small air bubbles/pockets in mine as I whisked everything together. The tart still came out lovely, but was speckled with several burst bubbles on top. Pour the chocolate filling into the tart shell and bake off for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the sides look set and the middle is still a bit jiggly. I let the tart cool completely before attempting to remove the sides, as springform pan tarts or cheesecakes always make me slightly nervous in this regard; the edges look so lacy and delicate and I hold my breath as I slowly release the outer ring. This tart released beautifully, sliced up nicely, and served smoothly from the plate, largely due to the quantity of butter in the crust.
While the tart was baking, I had to chuckle when my boyfriend Jake mentioned that the kitchen smelled like a chocolate doughnut – it truly did! The combination of chocolate and whiskey is really intoxicating in a lot of respects. Jake currently works part-time for a local ice cream company, Purple Door Ice Cream, which I have talked about in prior posts. They make an excellent whiskey ice cream – and have even gone so far as to top that with a chocolate whiskey ice cream, served for dessert at one of our favorite local restaurants, the Smoke Shack. Dusted with a hint of cinnamon, this ice cream gloriously weds chocolate and whiskey in creamy, wonderful bliss. I could eat a whole pint in one sitting, so I’m thankful it is only exclusive to this restaurant. It’s even more romantic and delicious when shared by two. We absolutely love this ice cream, and I was curious to see if this Chocolate Whiskey Tart would be a richer, decadent ‘cousin’ to the flavors in that ice cream. I found that it certainly was – one bite of this tart was swoon-worthy. The punch of whiskey flavor is bold and grand, but it doesn’t overpower the sexy chocolate; rather, it complements it perfectly. The shortbread cookie crust is rich, buttery, and a touch salty – the perfect bedding for that sleek, dense chocolate. I’m fairly sure a graham crust would do sufficiently in a pinch, but if you can try the shortbread cookie crust, do. I topped individual slices with Whiskey Whipped Cream and a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder, as suggested by Baked. If you’re serving the tart all at once, follow Baked’s lead and pile the middle of the tart with the mound of whipped cream and dusting of cocoa for a show-stopping, presentational flourish. The whisper of whiskey in the whipped cream heightens the deliciously boozy flavors in the tart, making this truly the ultimate dessert to serve to the whiskey lovers in your life. (Warning: teetotalers may not be huge fans.)
To make this sexy and sleek tart yourself, follow this link:
I guarantee this is one you will add to your dessert repertoire!
A couple last notes…
I made only half of the Whiskey Whipped Cream that the recipe suggests and found it was sufficient enough in quantity, especially as I was only serving the tart at odd times, individually. If you’re a HUGE whipped cream fanatic, by all means, forge ahead with the entire recipe – just know that you will have lots of whipped cream! As long as I am once again promoting Purple Door Ice Cream, might I also recommend that – if you’re not a fan of whipped cream – you could side this with Purple Door’s Whiskey ice cream?
You also may want to try this tart both at room temperature and refrigerated. Baked suggests that it can taste differently both ways. So far, I have only tried it chilled from the fridge, but I can imagine that the boldness of the whiskey may either deepen or mellow into the chocolate at room temperature. Give it a try. After all, who wouldn’t want a second piece of this later on? Enjoy!
Thanks to Jake for the top/first photo, by the way…