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I crave more of the tender quick breads and galettes, and J. craves desserts that are richer, such as these tarts. While desserts at home change throughout the year, the age old peanut butter and chocolate combination is an ever present theme. I find that this recipe, as simple as it is, to be straight to the point, no fancy spun sugar, no voluptuous ribbons of butter cream or expensive boutique ingredients.

There is nothing to distract you but pure joy.

 

It takes a favorite treat to feel a little special these days here at home. J. is always excited when I make desserts especially ones with peanut butter and chocolate. As I whirlwind about baking with whatever comes to mind, I take a pause at times to consider a simpler approach to give comfort where I can, with our busy schedules and much to do’s, these are perfect.

If you are not going gluten free, try this pâte sucrée recipe or perhaps a chocolate one here. I am sure you will find these to be simply delicious.

Hopefully I am back to a more consistent posting schedule!

Hope you all had a smashingly great Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart Recipe [Makes 6 tartlets]

g/f pâte sucrée

In the Days of Summer

½ cup creamy peanut butter, unsalted

½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate glaze recipe [here]

1 Tablespoons salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F after tart dough is ready to roll out.

preparing the peanut filling:

1. Mix together peanut butter and softened butter until smooth.

2. Whip in confectioner’s sugar and salt until smooth.

3. Spread filling among six prepared tart shells and chill in the refrigerator.

4. Pour glaze over filling and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

*note: Reserve extra glaze for another use.

Serve right out of the refrigerator or allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and enjoy.

Gluten-Free Pâte Sucrée Recipe

2 cups gluten-free baking mix

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 large egg

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Tart rings used were 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inch tall.

Only half of the dough was used for these peanut butter tarts, so save the remaining for later.

preparation:

1. Process butter and confectioner’s sugar together until fluffy, 2 minutes.

2. Add egg and sea salt and process for another minute or so.

3. Add g/f flour mix and pulse just until combined, approximately 5 seconds.

4. Dump bowl onto a work surface and knead just to form a ball.

5. Flatten dough and wrap in plastic wrap; chill for 2-4 hours.

6. Cut half of the dough into six portions.

7. Roll out one dough portion at a time to an eighth inch thickness.

8. Line a tartlet ring and place in refrigerator; repeat with remaining dough.

Bake @ 375°F from chill for 20-23 minutes or until edges start to turn golden.

Cool for a few minutes in the tart pans, then unmold and cool completely on a cooling rack.

*note: For the filling recipe I wanted to elaborate on the consistency a little bit. The peanut filling should be thicker than a buttercream. There may be a little tweaking if your choice of peanut butter is softer or thicker. And always adjust the sweetness or saltiness as your taste may differ.

Anything that’s concerning chocolate, bigger is better. This is a naturally gluten-free recipe, one that is tender and light, just like eating a chocolate flavored cloud, almost.

Gluten-free baking can seem frustrating and sometimes downright disappointing to us for those who want to experiment or need to make gluten-free treats. This recipe and many like it, is one recipe that has no gluten counterpart. It’s across the board favorite in restaurants and cafes just about anywhere, but it is rather easy to make this at home.

 

To take this tart one step further, you can add a chocolate glaze over the top and even sprinkle some toasted almonds as well. I would replace the vanilla in this recipe and put in some almond flavoring to carry the visual appeal to the taste of this tart. Is this then called a torte? Maybe, but it will still be delicious.

Flourless Chocolate Tart Recipe

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granular sugar

10 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

 

12 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

 

6 large eggs, separated

1 ½ Tablespoons coffee extract

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Prepare a 10”x2” cake pan by coating the bottom and sides with butter and lining the bottom with parchment.

1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.

2. Whip sugars and butter together until pale and fluffy 3-5 minutes.

3. While whipping, add one egg yolk at a time and incorporate thoroughly.

4. Beat in melted chocolate just to combine.

5. Add coffee and vanilla extracts and sea salt, set aside.

6. In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg white just to soft peaks.

7. Fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate batter.

8. Repeat with the remaining whites.

9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. The tart will be dome when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top springs back when pressed.

 

Cool tart for approximately 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow tart to come to room temperature before serving.

Serves 8.

I love making various mousse cakes for special occasions. On the ever expanding mousse recipe list I have added this version. A Neapolitan ice cream translated into a delicate mousse cake. The recipe in this post may seem lengthy, but it’s rather a quick operation. The recipe is broken down into five parts for quick execution. I am particular about recipes like this for their ability to be altered, taking bits and pieces for other dessert creations.

If you prefer a chocolatier base for this dessert you can use your own chocolate cake recipe or use this chocolate cake recipe. The chocolate sponge is slightly drier than an average cake. Would simple chocolate liqueur syrup add a tender moistness to the sponge, most definitely?

The crowning glory of this dessert is the chocolate glaze and chocolate curls. Artistic renditions in chocolate have always been an amazement of mine. A medium that can take many forms from imitating supple drapes of velvet to the mirror like finishes of tempered chocolate.Chocolate Sponge Cake

1 cup pastry flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup whole milk

1/3 cup safflower oil

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Prepare a 12”x8” pan by coating with butter and line with parchment paper. Whisk together pastry flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt together. Set aside. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup combine milk, oil, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat egg whites in another bowl until frothy, add cream of tartar. Continue beating until egg whites have reached soft peaks. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking for a few minutes. Fold in half of the egg whites. Repeat with the remaining whites. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula, bake for 18 minutes. The sponge cake is done when it springs bake when you press the center. Cool for a few minutes and invert onto a parchment lined cooling rack.

Once the cake has cooled it is time for a quick trim and setting up the “frame.” The recipe here makes an eleven and a half inch by seven and a half inch base. The only reason I have trimmed the cake is for a neater profile.

The “frame” is the framework the mousse will use to create the cake. Using cake board material cut out two 7 ½ inch by 2 ¾ inch pieces and two 12 inch by 2 ¾ inch pieces. Tape the edges together creating a frame that will wrap around the cake. Trim where needed so the cake fits just inside.

Vanilla Mousse

4 cups heavy cream

1 cups granular sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

½ cup cool water

½ cup heavy cream, slightly warmed

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cool water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat just before soft peaks form. The consistency will still have soft peaks but they droop a little more. You want to stop at this point because the folding in of the gelatin will work the cream further. Heat the gelatin over simmering water. You want it to be hot enough to activate, it should take a few minutes and the gelatin will dissolve. Remove from heat and warm the remaining cream. The cream should be slightly warmer than room temperature. Combine the gelatin and warmed cream. Pour this mixture over the whipped cream and fold in. Next, pour vanilla mouse over the cake and spread evenly. Chill for an hour to set mousse.

Strawberry Mousse

3 cups cream, whipped to soft peaks

1 ½ cups strawberry purée

3 ¾ teaspoons gelatin

¾ cup water, cool

Bring strawberry puree to a boil and remove from heat; cool. Don’t skip this step; the acids in the fruit need to be cooked a bit so the cream will not curdle. Place gelatin over the cool water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the cream. Beat until soft peaks form as before. Heat the gelatin over simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the warm strawberry puree. Next fold the gelatin/puree mixture into the whipped cream and spread onto the vanilla mousse already completed. Chill cake again until set.

 

Chocolate Glaze

 

½ cup cream

½ cup granular sugar

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 ½ teaspoon honey

 

½ cup cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the cream, sugar, butter and honey in a small saucepan until melted. Sift in cocoa powder and stir until smooth; stir in extract. Set aside. If the glaze is lumpy, strain.

Remove the cake from the chiller and run a warm knife around the cake to remove the cake board; discard. The cake can be moved to a serving platter with the use of spatulas. Better yet, place the cake and frame on the chosen platter for ease. Spread the chocolate glaze over the top allowing it to run over just a bit. Decorate with chocolate curls.

 Chocolate Curls

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

Melt chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water until melted. Pour the chocolate over the back of a sheet pan that has been warmed slightly and spread thinly. Place the pan in the refrigerator until cold. Now this is the tricky part of making the curls, but one that you will find out to be a breeze. Bring the pan out and place it on the work surface. Allow the pan and chocolate to warm up a bit. Try testing if the chocolate will curl by using a spatula to scrape the chocolate off the pan. If the chocolate is to cold it will chip and if it is too warm it will melt on the spatula. Once you are able to make curls, scrape away and place them on a wax paper lined pan immediately and chill until they harden.

Now that you have a pretty dessert ready for you guests, you can cut it up into twelve nice size pieces. Dip a sharp knife in hot water to make clean slices. Something I like to do with desserts with decorations is to place them in the center of each piece so that the carving of the dessert doesn’t damage the decorations such as the chocolate curls.

So that concludes my recipe for Neapolitan mousse cake, hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

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