This past weekend, on Saturday, to be specific, I made you guys a tart. Not just any tart, but a really good, over the top kind of tart. The kind of tart where there's lots of chocolate and raspberries, and a good amount of mascarpone whipped cream to balance everything out. This tart is the stuff dreams are made of, I tell you.
Valentine's Day is this Friday, and I'm ready. I'm embracing the holiday like I've never embraced it before, at least in a foodie sense. I spent a good amount of time contemplating good Valentine's desserts, and I actually had a hard time with it. All I could think of involved copious amounts of chocolate, strawberries and raspberries, and anything that was originally white turned into varying shades of pink and red. While there's nothing wrong with any of that, I couldn't help but feel that resorting to something in one (or more) of those categories seemed a little uninspired. Was I really about to end up making yet another chocolate overload dessert kind of creation? As much as I hated to admit it at the time, I ended up doing just that. But then, I decided to just get over myself, and accept this tart that I had just made for what it was. Pretty. Damn. Good. Very damn good, actually.
While there's nothing revolutionary about this Valentine's Day themed tart in terms of flavoring and whatnot, I find that it really doesn't matter in this case. What it lacks in innovation it makes up for in flavor and wow-factor. This tart is impressive and elegant. It's full of piped ganache rosettes, and adorned with fresh raspberries. There's chocolate AND mascarpone. Can you ask for anything more? Valentine's Day cliches have become cliches for a reason...they just work. I mean, have you ever complained because a dessert has too much chocolate in it? Or because your red velvet cake is too red? Or because there's just too many little raspberries dotting your dessert? I never have, and I probably never will. For me, the more chocolate the better, I now happen to think red velvet is pretty fantastic, and I'm almost positive I could find true happiness in a never-ending bucket of raspberries. Even though this tart isn't really anything unexpected, trust me- it's still pretty amazing
While this chocolate raspberry tart may appear to be complicated and fancy, I can assure you that it's really anything but. It's simply made up of an assortment of easy to make components. For instance, you'll start off by preparing the raspberry ganache. It's no different than any other ganache, except that in this case, you add raspberry preserves to the cream as it is heated in order to infuse some of the raspberry flavor. The cream turns a lovely shade of purple, and is this poured through a strainer (to catch the seeds) into a bowl full of coarsely chopped dark chocolate, and after an hour or so of it cooling, you have a beautiful raspberry ganache. The mascarpone whipped cream is nothing more than a little heavy cream and mascarpone getting whipped together into a soft cream. If you've never tried mascarpone, you are seriously missing out. Mascarpone is essentially an Italian version of cream cheese, and it always makes anything you mix it into so much better. Mascarpone has a much more subtle tang than cream cheese, which makes it the perfect option to mix into a whipped cream. The tart shell comes together in a matter of minutes, and after chilling in the fridge for an hour, rolls out beautifully to form the base of this whole dessert. After that, it's just a matter of putting everything together. Sounds easy, right? It is!
This chocolate and raspberry tart is definitely a fantastic option for a special, Valentine's Day themed dessert. It's got the chocolate and raspberries, and is rich and ultra decadent. The ganache topping is rich and pairs beautifully with the light mascarpone whipped cream underneath it. The ganache is lovely all on its own since it's infused with raspberry flavor, making it extra special. The 14x4-inch pan makes the dessert just a bit more elegant, although I'm sure this could be made in other size tart pans. You could probably get away with making the mascarpone whipped cream with only half the amounts of the ingredients I listed in the recipe, but I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find some use for any leftover mascarpone whipped cream. Use it to top off a hot coffee drink, add it to ice cream, or stir it into a bowl of fruit. The same goes for the ganache. You'll have a little bit leftover, but I can't imagine this being a problem for anyone, right? Definitely not.
I know for a fact that this dessert is a Valentine's Day winner. Share a slice with your Valentine and enjoy!
Chocolate Raspberry Tart
tart shell recipe from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts
For the Raspberry Ganache
8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
For the Tart Shell
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Mascarpone Whipped Cream
8 oz mascarpone, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
Begin by preparing the ganache. Add the chopped chocolate to a large heatproof bowl, and combine the heavy cream and raspberry preserves in a small saucepan, set over medium heat. Stir the raspberry preserves into the cream and heat until the cream begins to simmer. Remove the cream mixture from the heat, and pour through a fine mesh sieve into the bowl over the chocolate. Discard any solids that remain in the sieve. Let the chocolate-cream mixture sit for two minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, stirring every now and then.
While the ganache is cooling, prepare the tart crust. Sift the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Lower the mixer speed, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the heavy cream, mixing until just combined. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, shape into a long rectangle, and then cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a 16x6-inch rectangle. I find this easier to do if you lay a Silpat on the counter first, and then the parchment paper with the dough. The Silpat helps to keep the parchment paper from sliding around! Gently place the 16x6-inch rectangle over a 14x4-inch rectangular tart pan, and press the dough along the sides. Trim the excess dough off so that it is flush with the edges of the tart pan (the easiest way to do this is to simply run your rolling pin over the edges of the pan, so that they cut into the dough). Pierce the bottom of the shell all over with a fork and freeze/refrigerate the tart shell for 30 minutes until firm. Line the tart shell with some aluminum foil or waxed paper, making sure to leave an overhang, and fill the shell with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Use the foil overhang to remove the pie weights/dried beans, then bake the tart shell for an additional 8-9 minutes, just until it is dry. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
While the tart shell is cooling, prepare the mascarpone whipped cream and whipped ganache. In a large bowl, beat together the mascarpone, confectioner's sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract (I used a hand mixer to make this easy) until soft peaks form. Set aside and refrigerate. To whip the ganache, simply use an electric mixer to beat the ganache until soft peaks form, about 6-7 minutes (a stand mixer works best for this, although with a little more effort, this can certainly be done with a hand mixer). Transfer the whipped ganache to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip (I used an Ateco # 826).
To assemble the tart, spread the 1/4 cup raspberry preserves all along the bottom in an even layer, followed by the whipped cream (I used about half). Pipe rows of ganache rosettes all over the top of the tart to cover the mascarpone. Adorn with fresh raspberries if desired. The tart can be refrigerated for an hour to firm up (or longer). Slice, and enjoy!
Makes 1 14x4-inch tart