The timing of this particular whiskey-laced recipe could not have been better– I needed it! This was actually made a couple months back for Baked Sunday Mornings, but I haven’t been able to finish the blog post due to moving and wedding planning madness. But actually, posting on St. Patrick’s Day is rather apropos, what with the whole ‘whiskey’ thing going on. I had just moved to a new apartment and was initially excited about the kitchen, but when I got a closer look… I realized in utter horror that it was filthy and grimy beyond belief (not to mention terrible dark light for blog photos). I spent hours cleaning cabinets, cutting shelf liners, and scrubbing greasy walls, all to discover new and sticky spots in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. I was hoping to have my new kitchen up and running fairly quickly, but it was a much slower process than anticipated– not how I planned to start 2014! Fortunately, Sheri of Pork Cracklins was kind enough to let me commandeer her beautiful kitchen (and play with her fancypants camera) to make this Simple Chocolate Whiskey Tart with Whiskey Whipped Cream from the Booze chapter of Baked Elements. I’m just happy to be baking again! I wish I could bake in her kitchen every week, but I’m learning how to optimize my own. I’m having a very hard time imagining this kitchen in its current state ever feeling “mine”, but hey, a little boozy, chocolaty tart sure takes the edge off… ;-)
The easy:decadent ratio on this recipe is pretty impressive—in other words, the chocolate depth is dizzying, considering how quick and easy it was to prepare. (Read = this tart will be showing up often…) There are three elements: the shortbread cookie crust, chocolate-whiskey filling, and whipped cream topping. The crust is made by combining crushed shortbread cookies with sugar, salt, and melted butter, then pressing the mixture into a pan. I opted for a fluted tart pan with removable bottom for its pretty edges rather than the prescribed springform pan. Make sure to place your plan on a baking sheet to catch impending messes!
The crust quantity was barely enough to fill the tart pan, and I like a thicker crust, so I would probably 1 ½ the crust next time. I used Keebler Sandies shortbread, which were tasty on their own, but the crust mixture was uber-buttery and seeped out of the bottom of the pan. The crust should be baked for about 12 minutes– dry, but without browning; because of the excessive butteriness, it took about 18 minutes to bake enough to remotely call “dry to the touch”. I will spring for nicer shortbread next time! Alternatively, I could probably adjust the cookie/butter ratio to make the crust a little less greasy.
But let’s talk about the chocolate. The filling is not unlike a ganache mixture; you will heat the milk and cream, then whisk in the chopped chocolate, and let the mixture cool until almost room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the egg, egg yolk, flour, and whiskey in a small bowl. Once the chocolate is cool enough, whisk in the egg/whiskey mixture until completely incorporated.
Now, in this kind of dessert, I will always focus on the quality of the chocolate– i.e. high-qual chocolate equals amazing baked tart. (REPEAT: Do *not* skimp on the chocolate.) The booze is always secondary for me, but as I’m about to marry an Irishman, I’ve been schooled a bit on whiskey. It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me personally, but I’ve been instructed by said Irishman that the best whiskey for all your whiskey needs is Jameson! Hence, I am now the proud owner of a large bottle of Jameson. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and put ‘er back in the oven.
My tart baked up beautifully in 20 minutes (set on the edges, slightly jiggly in the center), and I love that it cooled completely smoothly across the top, though there were lots of little bubbles on the surface. (Shhh– that’s what ice cream/whipped cream is for!)
Now the hard part– WAITING. Your kitchen will smell divine, but you have to wait. (I know, I’m sorry.) Let the tart cool for about 15 minutes before unmolding so that it sets up enough not to collapse/flop/break. THEN go ahead and carefully push up from the bottom (or remove your springform ring) and behold the glory of your chocolate-whiskey tart! Mine had a slight marbled look around the crust because chocolate seeped through in some spots due to the thin crust, which was actually rather pretty.
The tart can be served at room temperature or chilled. I sampled it in three distinct stages because, well, we were too impatient to let the damn thing cool all the way…
- Slightly warm right after baking: Filling was creamy/melty in my mouth, and I wanted to just stick my face right in the tart. (Don’t judge– you’ll understand when you make it.) Perfect with dripping ice cream… but more on that in a moment.
- Chilled: Filling was dense with a rich, fudgy texture.
- Room temperature after being chilled: The filling lingered in a semi-firm state; it maintained its structure and did not soften totally, but melted in my mouth like the warm tart.
Baking with Sheri was doubly cool because her tart was already baked and we got to try them side-by-side. The Jameson in mine was barely perceptible; mostly, I think it gave the filling a touch of extra depth, but it didn’t taste boozy to me at all. If you want a more pronounced whiskey taste, up the booze a bit. Sheri’s tart, on the hand, possessed a lovely, light perfume due to the Black Maple Hill Bourbon that she used in place of whiskey. I may tinker with the booze in this dessert, because it does create interesting flavor nuances.
Now, part of the recipe is Whiskey Whipped Cream, which I had every intention of making. However, the book offers a couple of topping alternatives, one of which is ice cream… so you can guess how that went. I spontaneously picked up a pint of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean Gelato, you know, in case we felt like getting crazy. We did in fact opt for the gelato, partly because I didn’t feel like whipping cream at that moment (that whole patience thing really goes out the window when there’s chocolate in front of me), and partly because I love me some ice cream and I thought it would be a great combination. Which it was. :) On the slightly warm tart, the gelato slowly melted and dripped over the sides; it was quite simply… LUSCIOUS.
One final experiment: we sprinkled a little fleur de sel over the tart, which also was fabulous. Yep, I’m sprinkling salt on many a dessert these days. It brings out the best in the other flavors and ingredients, and really– who doesn’t want their chocolate to taste more chocolaty?!
Might I offer a few variations? While the shortbread crust was delicious, I think it would be even better with my favorite Graham Crust from Momofuku Milk Bar. I would also be interested in subbing Bailey’s Irish Cream for the whiskey– YUM. See, this thing was made for St. Patrick’s Day! ;-)
Needless to say, this tart was pretty spectacular, especially considering its simplicity. It would be wonderful for any sort of formal or romantic dining occasion, and it can be conveniently made ahead. You will wow your tasters with your mad tart-baking skillz, I assure you. Visit Baked Sunday Mornings for the Simple Whiskey Tart with Whiskey Whipped Cream recipe, and check out the tasty variations made my BSM pals while you’re there. And a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! :-D
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2014.