The old myth is that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and sadly, I’m about halfway there. I haven’t blogged in over a week and a half, and I’m noticing how much harder than usual it’s been to get this post started. The reason it has been so long since my last post, however, is a good one: I’ve been busy experiencing the sights and sounds of Cuba (as well as the tastes, of course).
To those of you who haven’t yet travelled to Cuba, I highly recommend that you go. It’s a beautiful country not only in terms of natural scenery, but also architecture, wildlife, and culture. The food in the resorts – or at least our resort, and the resorts of most other tourists we met – can leave you wanting; however, outside those bubbles there we delicious staples to be sampled. Once I have more time on my hands and a craving for rice and beans, I’ll do a larger post highlighting both my experiences in Cuba, and some sort of traditional dish. For today though, I’ll simply share a picture or two from my most recent travels, and channel my inner Cuban with an alcohol-infused dish.
The inspiration for this tart came from my few weeks worth of participating in a blogging party called “Fiesta Friday“. It’s really nice to have a place where I can not only share the occasional recipe I’ve tried and posted here, but also peruse the interesting dishes others have decided to share. It was in this perusing that I came across a dish that had me not only craving it, but honestly making me feel as though I wasn’t complete until I’d tasted its wonderful richness; that dish was Mademoiselle Gourmande’s Chocolate Tart with Pears and Vanilla Cream.
Not wanting to copy hers verbatim (partly due to the recipe calling for vanilla bean, which I wasn’t sure would be readily available), and hoping to reunite with a seldom-used dessert book sitting unloved on our bookshelf, I instead chose a similar dish instead.
Failing to actually include rum in my recent Mojo Chicken attempt, I was instantly drawn to a recipe that I could redeem myself with: Bon Appetit Desserts’
Chocolate-Pecan Tart. Not only did it have the chocolate tart aspect I was looking for, but the recipe also called for Bourbon! I admit it would have been nicer had it required rum, seeing as we now have nearly three litres of primo quality Havana Club in our liquor cabinet, but I dare not complain too much about a recipe forcing me to acquire a mickey of whiskey.
As I haven’t located the recipe anywhere else online, and I made a few adjustments to it myself, I’ll post my slightly adapted version in full:
Whisk together 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 3 packed tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then, stir in 1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted). Once all the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture starts forming into clumps, spoon evenly into a tart pan and press down with your fingers until you have an even layer on the bottom, and the crust goes up the side of the pan. (Note that I could have easily used 10-15% more ingredients for the crust, as it was very thin in places and did not reach the top of the pan all around).
Place the crust in a preheated oven and bake at 375º F for 10 minutes (no pie weights required).
Whisk together 1 cup packed brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey. (The original recipe called for bourbon, but I bought a mickey of Canadian blended whiskey that was much more reasonable than the $30+ bottles of Bourbon on offer).
Once these ingredients are thoroughly mixed, stir in 1 1/2 cups of pecan pieces and 100 grams of 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped/diced to smithereens. At this stage, if you aren’t afraid of a little raw egg, have a taste (it’s heavenly) and add extra whiskey as per your preference. Once thoroughly combined, pour into the prepared crust and bake at 375º F for 15-20 minutes, until set.
The Whiskey Whipped Cream:
With an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup whipping cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (granulated), and 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey (or more, to taste).
Once the tart has had a chance to cool, but while still with some heat retained, cut into generous slices and add a dollop of the whipped cream.
I wish I could say this dish was an instant crowd-pleaser, but I made it late on a work night for a sleepy wife and myself. Had there been a crowd though, I’m quite certain they would have given it rave reviews. My beautiful wife, who revealed just last night of her general lack of craving for all things walnut and/or pecan infused due to overexposure in her youth, was thankfully a fan despite that fact. Actually, I forced her to stay awake long after she’d originally started nodding off on the couch, just to get her opinion on the dessert.
What I’m going to do now though, with 3/4 of a chocolate-pecan tart and only the two of us (with the better half talking of health kicks and practicing healthier eating habits), is anybody’s guess. Had I not been craving a chocolate tart so badly, I might’ve had the good sense to save such a rich recipe for a special occasion with guests to help in its consumption. Oh well, just like the extra whiskey in the house, it’s not a terrible dilemma to have.
Anyways, until next time: happy cooking!
*************( Updated 09/02/2015)*****************
Another tart, another set of photos. After making this dessert a second time, I’m pretty sure I’ll never go back to whipped cream that isn’t infused with whiskey. Just too good.