Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is filled with joy and love–even if that means cuddling your dog a little extra.
I did not plan on posting for Valentine’s Day. That all changed when I watched the latest episode of Kids Baking Championship. I watch almost any baking show available.
On the last episode, the challenge was to create a tart with crazy ingredient. Pink peppercorns were one of the ingredients given to use. So, laying in bed, watching these kids kill it in the kitchen I thought, “I can do that!”
Strawberry, chocolate, and a little spice from peppercorns just seemed like the perfect Valentines combination. So the stars aligned, and this recipe would be the perfect one to post on Valentine’s.
Also, I knew my husband would love it. Two birds, one stone.
The tart itself is nothing crazy–simple dark chocolate pate sucree (crust) sits on the bottom with a swirled airy white chocolate mousse to full it. The crazy comes in with the sauce for the top, cooked down fresh strawberries with pulverized pink peppercorns.
Pink peppercorns work perfectly with fruit because they are much more floral than normal black peppercorns. They also have less of a peppery bite.
This is not a beginners recipe so as always I want to give you a few tips to help:
- Creating a light mousse only takes a few ingredients and proper technique. You use both meringue and whipped cream. To create a perfect meringue use room temperature egg whites and ensure there is not even a fleck of egg yolk in the whites.
- Folding is how your incorporate meringue and whipped cream into the chocolate. Folding is not like whisking or stirring. To fold you gently cut down the middle of your mixture with a spatula, then fold over one half of the mixture over the second half. Repeat until everything is blended.
- Always chill your tart shell before rolling it out, fit the shell to the tart pan once cooled, and also chill again before baking it once it is fit into the tart pan. This will prevent shrinkage.
- Always poke holes with a fork in the bottom of the tart dough to prevent it from puffing during baking.
White Chocolate Mousse Tart + Pink Peppercorn Strawberry Sauce
For the Crust:
1/3 Stick of Cold Butter, cut into cubes
1 1/3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons of Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Large Egg
For the Mousse:
6 Ounces of Good White Chocolate
1 1/4 Cups of Whipping Cream
2 Large Egg Whites, room temperature
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/8 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
For the Sauce:
1lb of Fresh Strawberries
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
1 Tablespoon of Pink Peppercorns
1/4 Cup of Sugar
First create the tart dough.
In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are combined.
Next add in the cold butter. Pulse the mixture together for approximatley 15 seconds or until the mixture resembles chunky sand. You want the butter to be in shape of various sized pebbles.
Add the egg into the food processor and mix until combined.
Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and allow it rest in the fridge for one hour.
While the dough chills, create your mousse.
In a double boiler over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of the whipping cream with the white chocolate.
Stir continually until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Once smooth, set aside to allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Next make your merigue by combining the egg whites and cream of tarter in a stand mixer. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Place the meringue in a seperate bowl, and then clean the mixing bowl.
Make the whipped cream by combining the remaining heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until stiff whipped cream forms.
In a large bowl, fold 1/2 of your meringue into the white chocolate until it is fully incorporated. Fold the remaining 1/2 of meringue into the mixture.
Next fold 1/2 of your whipped cream into the merigue and white chocolate mixture until it is well combined. After fully combined, fold in the remaining 1/2.
Cover and allow the white chocolate mousse to rest in the fridge while you finish the tart crust.
After the tart dough has chilled for one hour, place your dough on a well floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out your tart dough into a sphere that is two inches larger than the tart pan you plan to use.
Place the tart dough into the pan and pressing it in. You want to form the dough to the pan completely then trim off the ends. Poke the bottom of the tart pan with a fork.
Place the tart pan in the fridge to allow the dough to cool while you preheat your oven. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the oven is heated, line the dough with parchment paper then fill it with pie weights.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow the crust to cool completely before filling it.
While the crust cools, create your strawberry sauce.
Rinse, hull, and slice your strawberries into large chunks.
Place the strawberries into a small saucepan along with the sugar and lemon juice.
Heat the mixture over medium heat until it reaches a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the strawberries to cook for 20 minutes.
While the strawberries cook, grind or pulverize the pink peppercorns into a course powder.
After 20 minutes is up, remove the strawberry sauce from the heat and stir in the pink pepper. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Finish the tart by smoothing the white chocolate mousse into the chilled tart shell. Then, allow it to set up in the fridge for at least one hour.
Slice and serve the tart with the stawberry sauce.
Can you believe that Easter is almost here? It feels like just last week I was coming up with something to bake for Valentine’s Day. Regardless of your beliefs, I know for most people Easter is a wonderful time to dress up and enjoy a bountiful meal with your family.
Creamy deviled eggs, sticky glazed ham, and a few gooey casseroles are just some of the things my family normally fixes for Easter dinner. My favorite part of the meal are all of the desserts. Banana puddin’, humming bird cake, and pound cake are just some of the sweets you can normally expect one of our southern gatherings. Besides loading a tiny paper plate with a sampling of each pie, puddin’, or cake, I love being someone who contributes to the dessert table. My family responds a bit more positively to my baked goods than my covered dishes.
At least a week before the gathering, I thumb through my library of cook books or have a heated but friendly discussion with my husband on what to bake. The inspiration for this one came from a true classic: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
The below recipe is adapted from her recipe for a normal Pate Sablee, a tender sweet tart crust and a Chocolate Mousse. If you have never made a mousse (this was my first time too) just remember to be gentle when folding in your egg whites. Mixing the egg whites in thirds will help with the process.
For this recipe you will want to start with the tart base. You have to let it rest in the fridge for several hours.
I topped the tart with those adorable milk chocolate eggs that you can find in the Easter candy section at the grocery store. They are so adorably festive, and they taste delicious too.
Chocolate Pate Sablee
- 1 1/3 Cups of Flour
- 2 Tablespoons of Chilled Shortening
- 5 Tablespoons of Cold Butter
- 3 Tablespoons of Coco Powder
- 1/8 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 5 Tablespoons of Sugar
- A Pinch of Salt
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon of Cold Water
- In a small mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, salt, coco powder, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- With you finger tips, mix in the two types of fat. The ending result should look similar to dry oatmeal.
- Beat together your egg and water, then pour over your mixture.
- Kneed mixture together to create a ball.
- Wrap the dough and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
- After chilled, roll out to appropriate size to fit a 9 or 10 inch tart pan.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place dough in tart pan, cover dough with parchment paper and pie weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove and let cool completely before adding mousse.
- 1/2 Pound of Fresh Strawberry’s, hulls removed
- 1/4 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fo Fresh Lemon Juice
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Eggs, separated
- 1/2 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
- Purée strawberries to create strawberry juice.
- In a small saucepan combine strawberry juice, lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and let cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- After the mixture has cooled, begin making your merengue. Beat the two egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Working in thirds, gently fold in the egg whites into your chilled strawberry mixture. Place in the fridge to rest while you make the whipped cream.
- Whip the heavy whipping cream and vanilla with a mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the whipped cream, working in thirds, until fully combined with the strawberry mixture.
- Evenly spoon into the bottom of your chilled tart crust. Only fill with enough mouse to create an amount even with the top of the tart shell.
- Allow to set in the fridge until the white chocolate mousse layer is ready to add.
White Chocolate Mousse
- 3 Eggs, divided
- 1/3 Cup of Sugar Plus 1/2 Tablespoon
- 4 Ounces of White Chocolate Chips, or 1/2 of a Cup
- 5 Tablespoons of Butter, softened
- 1/2 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream Plus 2 Tablespoons
- Prepare a double boiler, heating the water over medium heat. In a bowl used for the double boiler, combine three egg yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Whip the mixture, by hand or with a beater, until the eggs are pale yellow and fall back on themselves dissolving in a slow ribbon. Should take 3-4 minutes by hand.
- Place the mixture over the double boiler and beat for another 3-4 minutes until the mixture is too warm to touch.
- Remove from the heat and continue to beat the egg yolks until they form the consistency of mayonnaise, another 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Using another bowl that will work as part of the double boiler, combine the white chocolate and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
- Heat in the double boiler, constantly stirring until the chocolate has melted.
- Remove from heat and stir in the softened butter, mixing until fully combined.
- Combine your chocolate mixture and egg yolk mixture. Set aside.
- With beaters or in a stand mixer, beat your egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Pour in 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar, continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- In thirds, gently found the stiff egg whites into your white chocolate mixture. Set in the fridge while you make the whipped cream.
- With beaters or in a stand mixer, beat the remaining heavy cream until it forms stiff whipping cream.
- In thirds, gently fold the whipped cream into your white chocolate mixture.
- Cover and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
- When ready, use a piping bag with the desired tip to pipe the mousse as the top layer of your tart.
- Cover and let the completed tart set up in the fridge for at least two more hours.
- When ready to serve, top with desired decoration. I used chocolate milk eggs.