chocolate being made at the Institute of Culinary Education

An Elegant Chocolate Tart for Holiday Celebrations

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my absolute favorite. For this recipe, I decided to create a more elegant variation using cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. The result is a less sweet— and very intense—chocolate flavor with each bite. When paired with my Chocolate Custard Tart, it makes a lovely dessert for chocolate lovers. Despite having multiple components, this tart is really quite easy to make. I suggest preparing the tart dough or ice cream several days in advance to save time. The finished tarts are best when filled and baked up to one day before serving. If you really want to save time, you can purchase ice cream and pre-made tart shells, and simply make the tart filling from scratch.


Dark Chocolate Custard Tart with Peppermint-Cacao Nib Ice Cream

Chocolate Sable DoughMakes ten 3-inch tart shells

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt for 1 minute on low speed. Add the egg and continue to mix for 1 minute. Add the flour and cocoa powder and continue to mix until just combined about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a clean surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.
  2. Flatten dough into a thin disc and roll between two pieces of parchment paper to about 1/8-inch thick. Keep the sheet of rolled dough between parchment paper and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate the rolled dough for about 1 hour.
  3. To loosen, peel away the top piece of parchment and place it back over the sheet of dough. Then flip the sheet of dough over and remove and discard the other piece of parchment paper.
  4. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut rounds of dough and gently line ten 3-inch tart molds, trimming the excess dough from the molds. Place the lined tarts on a baking sheet and refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  6. Bake tart shells until fully baked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Dark Chocolate CustardMakes 3 cups filling

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (Valrhona “Guanaja” is recommended)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 275° F. Place the chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place the eggs in a medium mixing bowl, whisk smooth and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepot, bring the cream, milk, sugar and sea salt to a boil. Gently pour the hot cream over the eggs, while whisking constantly, until well incorporated. Strain the mixture over the chocolate and whisk smooth.
  3. Pour the chocolate custard into the pre-baked chocolate sable shells, filling them all the way to the top. Carefully transfer the tarts to the bottom rack of the oven and bake until just set, 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold and set before serving.

Peppermint-Cacao Nib Ice CreamMakes 1-quart ice cream base

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh peppermint leaves, stems removed
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup of cacao nibs
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water, and set aside.
  2. Place the yolks in a large mixing bowl; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream, peppermint leaves, salt and ¼ cup of the sugar to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Return the mixture to a full boil.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the bowl with the yolks until smooth. Gently temper the yolks by slowly adding the hot cream, while whisking constantly. Once completely combined, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large metal bowl. Place the bowl of ice cream base over the bowl of ice water, and stir until cool.
  4. Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions until the ice cream has a smooth, soft-serve-like texture. After the ice cream has been frozen in the ice-cream machine, immediately fold the cacao nibs into the ice cream, and store in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.

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