Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Tart

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Every Christmas I love to make a show-stopping dessert for our Christmas Day feast. (Last year was a champagne layer cake!) My problem is that it’s always a new recipe…clearly leaving some room for error – some more forgivable than others. For example, this year I planned on making Joy the Baker’s Honey Almond Butter Chocolate Tart …only problem was that I should have checked that jar of almond butter perched on our pantry self, because it was solid – definitely past its prime. Sooooo, peanut butter it is! And the problem when I up and move to DC like the crazy daughter I am is that my mom’s and my kitchens are better together. No tart pan in California now :( sooooo, spring form pan it is!

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Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

Red Wine Caramel Tart

 

How do you say “caramel”? – “care-ah-mul” or “car-mul”? Someone made fun of me for saying the former – is this a thing people are worried about? I mean, a former roommate of mine once told me a story involving a “wind-meal”…”umm, you mean ‘wind-mill’?” Granted windmills doesn’t come up very often in regular conversation, but how do you get through twenty-some years with no one calling you out on that?! Caramel isn’t one of those things, right? Can we just call it a regional preference? …Kinda like how people in Georgia say “pee-can” instead of “puh-cahn” and how people from Nevada say “Neh-vah-da” not “Neh-vahh-da.” …Wait. I don’t know how to spell phonetically, but you get me – they say the “a” in the middle like you would in “cat.”

 

Regardless, I think we can all agree that caramel is gooey, buttery, dreamy goodness – especially when salted and paired with chocolate. And THEN someone went and paired it with red wine! …genius. This tart screams fall – which is seriously my favorite season – oh, how I missed you the last 9 years out in California! (This basically sums up how I feel about fall: “Mr. Autumn Man Walking Down Street With Cup Of Coffee, Wearing Sweater Over Plaid Collared Shirt“)

 

It’s FALL in the city! (Can you tell I’m excited?!…like cracked out on cider and toasted pumpkin seeds kind of excited.) This is where all those pumpkin seeds came from…

 

Aren’t we just the cutest roommate trio you’ve ever seen?!

Ok, briiingin it back. Red Wine Caramel Tart! I made this wonderful tart with Caitlyn and Becky, and you know what I always say, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” (Thanks for that little gem, Rosie ;) Needless to say, the tart turned out beautifully (even without the totally necessary help of a food processor). The crust turned out almost like a thin shortbread, and the filling was smooth (not too sticky) and sweet with a tangy-rich depth from the red wine. I highly recommend this served along with some vanilla ice cream and some sliced farmer’s market pears or apples.

Here’s what we did:

Red Wine Caramel Tart 

(Slightly adapted from The Boozy Baker)

*For the crust:

Combine in a food processor:

-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-3 Tbs. sugar
-1/4 tsp. salt

Then pulse in, until course:

-1 stick butter (cut into small chunks)

Then pulse into the mixture:

-1 large egg yolk
-1 Tbs. milk (a little more if it seems super dry)

Form the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then roll the dough out on a floured surface so that it is a couple of inches larger than your tart pan. Transfer the floured dough into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (I roll it up on the rolling pin, and then roll it off over the pan – a little tricky, but easier than just free-handed.) Form it to the crevices of the pan, and then prick the dough with a fork. Refrigerate it for 30 more minutes, then bake it on 375 for about 20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Set the crust aside to cool.

*For the red wine caramel filling:

Pour into a saucepan on medium heat:

-1 cup red wine (I used an old vine zinfandel cause it’s mah fave) 
**make sure you use GOOD wine, because the flavors are just going to concentrate. (And, hey, you get to drink the rest of it!)

Bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat and let it simmer for a while (20ish minutes) until it’s syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Set aside.

In another saucepan, combine:

-1 1/2 cups sugar
-3 Tbs. light corn syrup
-1 tsp. salt
-6 Tbs. water

Boil the mixture until it turns into a rich gold/brown color and a candy thermometer reads 330 degrees (careful not to burn it – it will happen quickly!) Or if you don’t have a thermometer like me, you want to drop pieces of the caramel into ice water, and when it reaches the hard crack stage (literally, you’ll get a piece of hard candy that you could crack after it drops in the water), pull it off the heat. Stir in:

-the reduced wine
-6 Tbs. heavy cream
-6 Tbs. butter, diced

Pour the caramel filling into the tart shell, and refrigerate for about 4 hours before you enjoy! …I know it’s torture, but it’s totally worth it. Dive in with close friends – Bex and Cait, you’re the best :D

**French phrase for fun

Profitez de la journée d’automne avec des amis incryoables.
Enjoy the autumn day with awesome friends.

 

<3

The 2011 Recipe-a-Week Winners

Is it still a New Year’s resolution if you’ve kept it going for 13 months? Well, since I had so much success in France last year, I’ve decided to continue my resolution of making one new recipe every week (hopefully technically challenging, although we all have days that need “slutty brownies” – more later on that).

BUT FIRST, the 2011 winners: 

In the savory category…

Gnocchi from scratch with Annie in her lovely Dijon apartment!

Like little pillows of HEAVEN. Seriously, you need to make your own gnocchi stat. Worth it.

And in the sweet category…

A fabulous chocolate ganache chocolate shortbread tarte! (From Dorie Greenspan)

ohhh sweet baby Jesus, that tarte was to die for. With just a little dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top and the rich, yet crumbly shortbread, oh, and the oh-so-velvety ganache filling. I had people profess their love to me after eating this tarte.