To say that I love the combination of mint and chocolate would be an understatement, a love my sister and I have always shared. I adore mint slice biscuits, but something is... missing with them. I eat them in enjoyment, but could never put my finger on why I was always a little disappointed, or what I would change about them.
I have also, more recently, fallen in love with Christine Adams, responsible for the wonderful desserts at Neil Perry's Rockpool restaurants. This is mostly due to her six page dessert spread in this months Australian Gourmet Traveller, but also because she has helped me find the elusive something missing from mint slice. Ooziness. Simply put, they're not generous enough. Mint slice give you the flavour, but not in the quantity I need. I want oozy but still slightly firm mint. I want a thicker coating of soft dark chocolate. This tart, my friends, is all of these things and more, and it's such a well written and simple recipe.
Ingredients (makes 6 small, or 12 slightly smaller)
Recipe adapted from September issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller
200 gms unsalted butter, softened
140 gms pure icing sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
200 gms plain flour
30 gms Dutch-processed cocoa
For mint fondant:
200 gms fondant, coarsely chopped, softened
10 mint leaves
3 - 4 drops mint oil or extract
70 gms softened butter
285 gms Valrhona Guanaja (or the best quality 70% cocoa solid you can afford) chocolate, finely chopped
310 mls pouring cream
For the pastry, preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (4 minutes). Add yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift flour and cocoa together, add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, then knead lightly to combine and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (1-2 hours).
Divide mixture into 6 or 12, depending on size of tart tins you're using, then roll out each piece on a lightly floured bench to 3-4mm-thick and line twelve 6cm or six 9cm tartlet cases sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Trim edges, refrigerate until chilled, then prick bases and blind bake until set (10-12 minutes). Remove paper and weights and bake until for 8 - 10 minutes, until pastry is cooked on the base. Cool on a wire rack, then remove tart tins.
For mint fondant, process fondant and mint in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with foil and melt over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, add 1-1½ tsp water to thin to pouring consistency, then add mint oil drop by drop to taste. Divide among tart cases and stand at room temperature until set.
For ganache, beat butter in a bowl with a spatula until soft and creamy. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan and pour over chocolate. Stand for a minute, then stir slowly with a spatula until melted and smooth. Add butter a little at a time, stirring gently until incorporated, then pour into tart cases over fondant. Stand for about an hour or until chocolate has set.
The result is simply beautiful-- it's so nice to get a fleck of fresh mint in the fondant, and the soft just set shiny-ganache is beautiful with the crispy shell. Keep in mind the strength of the mint has to compete with the double chocolate, so I made it quite strong for this reason, which I was very happy with. I just adore everything about this recipe, and imagine it becoming a regular rotation in my sweets schedule. I do have to share it with my sister, after all.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Benoît Pioulard - Temper.