My friend Kathy came into town today for a few days, so we get to spend some time in the kitchen. We’re great in the kitchen together, which is saying a lot considering how little space I actually have in my kitchen. I had already decided we were having these tasty chicken fingers with the amazingly simple biscuits again. Kathy traveled from Georgia and hauled ten pounds of White Lily self-rising flour with her. Last time I made these biscuits, I made my own self-rising flour. I was a little heavy on the salt, and I think I’ll add a small amount of salt to the dough next time. We ended up sprinkling a bit of Kosher salt on top of the biscuits after brushing them with melted butter and they were just perfect.
We also made a chocolate tart together – I had been meaning to make up this tart all month as part of Abby Dodge’s virtual Bake Together challenge. I’m glad I waited, because it’s always more fun to bake with someone. I’d been thinking about the tart and how I would change it. Honestly, I had a hard time deciding because the original recipe is really delicious. I settled on a take on Mexican hot chocolate, steeping the milk in the filling with a cinnamon stick. I also added some melted white chocolate to the mascarpone topping – which broke, whipping mascarpone cheese is my current kitchen Achilles Heel. We loved it. The cinnamon is quite subtle but I think it adds a dimension of flavor to the chocolate without overwhelming it. Use high-quality white chocolate for the topping – the supermarket stuff with lots of fillers and binders is the reason why most people don’t like white chocolate. I use Amano, but Green & Black’s would also be a nice choice since it’s got vanilla in it.
Chocolate Cinnamon Tart with White Chocolate Mascarpone Topping
Adapted from: Fine Cooking #68, Holiday Baking Winter 2005, p. 54
1 Press-In Cookie Crust baked and cooled (I like graham cracker for this tart)
For the filling:
1 cup whole milk
1 3″ piece of cinnamon stick, slightly crushed
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
For the topping:
4 oz. white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 lb. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, shaved (optional)
Make the filling:
Warm the milk over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and let steep for 15 minutes. Melt together the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl in a microwave or in a double boiler over medium heat. Add the vanilla and salt and set a fine strainer over the bowl. Pour the milk through the strainer onto the chocolate mixture and discard the cinnamon. Whisk until well blended and smooth. Set aside, whisking occasionally, until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 1 hour. (For faster cooling, refrigerate the filling until thickened to a pudding consistency, about 30 minutes, whisking and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every 5 minutes.)
With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the crust and spread evenly, taking care not to disturb the edge of the crust. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until the filling is set, about 4 hours and up to 8 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
Make the topping:
In a medium bowl, combine the white chocolate, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until almost smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the mascarpone and increase the speed to medium high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds firm peaks, another 30 to 60 seconds. Donâ€™t overbeat.
With a rubber or metal spatula, spread the topping over the chocolate filling, leaving lots of swirls and peaks. Serve the tart right away or cover loosely and refrigerate, in the pan, for up to 4 hours.
Serves 12-16. Yields one 9.5″ tart.
- Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers (EatingWell, August/September 2005)
- Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (Fine Cooking #74, November 2005, p. 90c)
- Rachel’s Very Beginner’s Cream Biscuits (Southern Biscuits)
- Caesar Salad with Focaccia Croutons (The Conscious Cook, p. 57)
- Chocolate Cinnamon Tart with White Chocolate Mascarpone Topping (adapted from Fine Cooking #68, Holiday Baking Winter 2005, p. 54)
Wine: 2006 Kosta Browne Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California). Normally we universally love Kosta Browne wines. But this one is very traditionally Pinot-like with less fruit so Larry didn’t love it. I did, though.