Saturday, March 11, 2006

weekend baking: Chocolate Espresso Tart

I like to bake during weekend or on Friday night, when OCT is at home. I like to have someone around to provide opinion and suggestion when I need one. Being a scientist himself, I must admit that OCT can give very good advice or creative solution in time of need.

Yesterdat night for example. I was making a Chocolate Espresso Tart. A rectangular pie plate was required but I have none. Nevertheless, I proceeded, hoping that the tart dough can fit into my round disposible pie pan. After rolling out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment papers, it was so wet that I couldn't move it into the pan! It was a disaster, for the dough was so wet that it refused to be lifted from the parchment. OCT took one look and asked if I could just leave it on the parchment paper and bake as usual. It was unconventional, but logical. And it worked. Instead of a pie tart, I got a "cookie base" for my Chocolate Espresso Tart.

It was very time consuming, but I liked the chocolate espresso cream. OCT thought it was too bitter for the espresso taste was very distinct. (exact reason for why I like the cream so much! this is the kind of cream any coffee lover will like)

Chocolate Espresso Tart

Better than a box of chocolates, this dessert is triply indulgent. The cocoa shell forms a crisp rectangular foundation for two decadent fillings: creamy, tangy mascarpone cheese and generous rosettes of silky-smooth espressoflavored chocolate ganache.


8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons good-quality ground espresso beans

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment paper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese

1 large egg


1. Make the ganache:
Put chocolate into amedium heatproof bowl, and set aside. Bring cream and espresso to a boil in a small pan. Pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate; discard solids. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours.
2. Make the tart shell:
Sift flour, salt, and cocoa powder into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the cream. Shape dough into a thick rectangle; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment paper to a 16-by-6-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Press dough into a 14-by-4 1/2-inch rectangular flan frame set on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Trim dough flush with top edge. Prick all over bottom of shell with a fork. Bake until firm, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. Unmold.
4. Put ganache into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (such as Ateco #828).
5. Smooth mascarpone cheese over bottom of tart shell with an offset spatula.
6. Pipe ganache rosettes, one next to the other, on top of mascarpone to cover. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 day.

Great Ganache: To turn out smooth ganache every time, make sure the mixture is at room temperature before whipping. Any warmer or colder, and its cream is likely to seize or become grainy.

Serves 8

This morning, I baked some ham & cheese calzones using the Pillsbury breadstick dough while OCT went for his haircut. He came back just in time when the calzones were freshly out from the oven. This is definitely a great snacks for everyone!

Mini ham & cheese calzones

1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated soft breadsticks
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
12 slices OSCAR MAYER Shaved Honey Ham, cut in half
2 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
(make 24 mini calzones)


PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. Cut each breadstick crosswise in half; flatten dough to 2-inch width.

SPOON 1 tsp. cheese onto center of each ham piece. Fold ham over cheese to create a tight roll. Place ham roll near the end of each piece of breadstick dough, leaving a border. Fold dough over ham, pinching edges to seal. Repeat process for all ham pieces. Place calzones on baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

BAKE 12 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.

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