I have never had so many compliments on a recipe and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's so lovely to have your creativity remarked upon. This tart has a crisp cocoa base, a silky smooth ganache and is topped off with a coffee cream that brings a delicate balance to the dessert.
If you're not a coffee fan, the flavour could easily be tweaked to suit, it would be lovely to try using orange zest in the cream or mint extract if you're a mint chocolate lover like me! Candy cane would make an excellent garnish for this. For the base, I always use dark Dutch cocoa powder, it's darker and more rich than normal cocoa, look for Donovan's or Avalanche brands in the supermarket. I recommend whisking the cream mixture by hand, as it can over whip very quickly, keep an eye on it!
125g butter, melted
60g cocoa powder
80g brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
100g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp instant espresso powder or 60ml freshly brewed espresso (cooled) OR as above you could swap this out for orange zest or mint extract
Cocoa powder or chocolate for grating
Preheat oven to 180°C. If you want to make a large tart, line a spring-form cake tin with baking paper. For tartlets, I used a mini muffin tin and normal muffin tin without greasing or lining, the tarts popped right out of the tin.
To make the base, melt the butter in a large bowl. Once melted, add in cocoa powder, brown sugar, flour and salt and stir to combine.
Press base mixture into tart/muffin tin and press into the bottom and sides to ensure there are no holes. For my mini muffin tin, I used the end of a wooden spoon to press an even hole in the centre and make a hole large enough for filling.
Once the base is ready, bake it for 10 minutes (the timing is the same for both a large tart or tartlets). After 10 minutes, remove from the oven, then you will need to quickly use a utensil like the end of the wooden spoon or a glass or measuring cup to re-press the base down and into the sides again. Allow the base to cool completely and then remove from tin.
To make the ganache, put the chocolate and cream in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time. Once melted and combined, set aside at room temperature.
To make the cream, it's quite important the mascarpone is at room temperature, to prevent any lumps. Place mascarpone, cream and coffee in a large bowl and whisk to combine, until stiff peaks form. Store in the fridge until needed.
To assemble, place tart/s on a serving platter and use a spoon or a piping bag to fill the tarts with ganache. Top with cream using a spoon or piping bag and then dust with cocoa or whatever topping you desire.