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.
- 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.