Chocolate Ganache Tart (Halloween Ghost Dessert)

Chocolate Ganache Tart (Halloween Ghost Dessert) Recipe

The girls have reached the end of the first quarter, so their school gave them a day off. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun for all of us to work on ideas for spooky desserts that they'll be able to share with their friends. It didn't take a lot of arm twisting to convince them!

I decided that we should make a simple chocolate tart and decorate it with ghosts. The tart shell is a shortbread crust that I topped with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache. To enhance the flavor of the chocolate, I added a little coffee. I let the girls pipe the top with vanilla buttercream frosting and create faces using chocolate sprinkles. As an added bonus, this dessert is egg and nut-free. We'll make smaller versions at the end of the month for when they share them with friends.

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup cold water
1-3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee (optional)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup vanilla buttercream frosting (see tips)
1 tablespoon colored sprinkles, as needed


Directions

For the tart shell:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Grease an 11-inch diameter non-stick tart pan (preferably a loose-bottomed one) with a thin layer of butter.

Make sure the butter is chilled. Dice 7 tablespoons.

In a bowl, combine the flour, 7 tablespoons cold diced butter, salt and sugar. Mix using the back of fork (or a stainless-steel pastry blender) until it forms sandy crumbs of butter, sugar and flour. Slowly add cold water and blend until it forms a dough. Do NOT over-mix. Cover with a towel and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Once chilled, transfer the dough onto a pastry board lined with a sheet of parchment paper (plastic wrap works fine too). Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough like a sandwich. Using a rolling pin, even out the dough to a 13-inch disk.

Dust a little flour over the pie mold. Top the mold with the disk of dough. Press the dough into the edges of the mold (I use the tip of a chopstick). Prick the dough with a fork. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper and top with ceramic pie weights (or dried beans).

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the pie weights and discard the piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

For the chocolate filling (ganache): 

Over a pot of simmering water, create a "double boiler" by placing a stainless-steel bowl filled with the semi-sweet chocolate. Make sure the bowl circumference is larger than the pot, so there isn't any splatter of water in the chocolate. Slowly melt, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat; the chocolate will slowly finish melting when the cream is added.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream. Bring to a near boil. Add coffee. Turn off the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate.  Add 2 tablespoons butter. Stir well until the mixture is uniform. The texture should be smooth and shiny.

Assembly time:

Fill the tart shell with the warm chocolate ganache. Let cool to room temperature until the filling sets (about 1 to 2 hours).

When the chocolate is set, place the vanilla buttercream frosting into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately onto the chocolate tart, starting with a small circle and finishing with a mound of frosting on top.

Decorate the frosting with chocolate sprinkles, forming ghost faces (I used fish bone tweezers to place the sprinkles).

Serve with hot tea or pumpkin spice lattes.

Bon appétit!


Tips

When creating the little ghosts, make sure the chocolate ganache has set, otherwise the frosting will collapse.

You can make the crust in advance and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will be easier to roll and won't be crumbly.

Little reminder on how to make vanilla buttercream frosting: In a bowl, combine 1 stick of butter (at room temperature), 1-½ cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon cream and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Mix well. Voilà!

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 21, 2011.


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