How did we spend our holidays? Cooking. I have never cooked or baked so much in my life. Here is an amazing recipe for Chocolate-Espresso Kahlua Tart that my sister forced me to make. It was extremely complicated for my meager baking skills, but (without the use of a food processor or a food thermometer and after making the meringue twice) I finally succeeded. The end result: the most amazing mousse pie you will ever have. It was well worth the work.
makes one 11-inch tart
FOR THE CRUST:
2 cups hazelnuts (9 ounces)
1 1/3 cups finely ground chocolate wafers (about 22)
1/2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
FOR THE MOUSSE:
1/2 cup Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
Pinch of salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar
1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 375. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until skins slit and flesh turns deep golden brown, tossing halfway through 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 325. While still warm, rub nits in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins (some will remain). Let cool completely, then finely grind in a food processor.
2. Stir together ground nuts, cookie crumbs, espresso powder, salt, and butter. Press into bottom and up sides of an 11-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill 30 minutes.
3. Place tart pan on a baking sheet; bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make mousse: In a bowl, whisk together Kahlua, cocoa, egg yolks, espresso powder, and salt. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk in liqueur mixture. Cook, whisking, until mixture is thickened (registers 160 on an instant-read thermometer). Let cool completely.
5. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream just to stiff peaks. Whisk egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking, until sugar is dissolved (meringue registers 160 on thermometer).
6. Attach bowl with meringue to mixer. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Raise speed to high, and beat until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry, and meringue is completely cool. Using a flexible spatula, gently but thoroughly fold chocolate mixture into meringue, then fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly in cooled tart shell. Chill until set, at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.