TENDING the TABLE

Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone and A Giveaway

Happy Holidays folks. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for and I’m starting to realize that I can channel that gratitude into action. One thing I’m doing this holiday season is requesting that instead of material gifts my family and friends make donations to a selection of non-profits. It feels like a really easy way to focus on appreciating all that I already have while opting out of the supply chain that produces so much environmental damage and waste. And there is so much work that needs to be done in our country and our world right now and so many great organizations who are already doing a great job and need our support. That said, I’m totally in favor of supporting small, local makers and making homemade edible gifts too. I’m looking forward to putting together a gift guide with some suggestions for you soon. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for your next holiday celebration.

I’ve made this recipe probably five times now and am obsessed. It’s very forgiving and so luscious, creamy and rich. It’s perfect for the upcoming holidays and can be made in advance. The crust is made with toasted hazelnuts and dates and the filling is a classic combination of coffee, chocolate, bourbon and maple syrup. I topped it with Vermont Creamery’s mascarpone and a little cardamom for some holiday spice. I sampled several brands of mascarpone in the process of developing this recipe (because believe it or not I  plowed through all six containers Vermont Creamery sent me) and theirs really is the best. The other brands I tried were too thick and dense and didn’t have the same depth of flavor. So if you can get your hands on it, Vermont Creamery is the way to go!

Vermont Creamery is generously giving away a care package containing creme fraiche, mascarpone, butter and a pie box with a leather strap so you can transport your holiday treats safely. This giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be randomly selected on December 7th at 12am EST. Enter to win HERE.

This post was sponsored by Vermont Creamery. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. All opinions are my own.

Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone

Makes one 4×14-inch rectangular tart, one  8-inch round tart, or five 4-inch round tarts

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CRUST

2 cups toasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8-12 medjool dates, pitted (see note)

FOR THE FILLING

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or bourbon

2 tablespoons instant coffee

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature

FOR THE TOPPING

2 cups mascarpone (see note)

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

PROCEDURE

FOR THE CRUST

Combine the nuts, cocoa, salt and dates in a food processor and grind until the mixture is the texture of coarse, sticky sand. You want the mixture to hold its shape when pressed between two fingers. If it is too dry it will crumble and crack, if it is too moist it will be difficult to handle and may stick to your pan.

Transfer the mixture to your pan and using your fingers, firmly press the crust into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING

In a double boiler, set over simmering water, warm the maple syrup, vanilla and instant coffee until the coffee has dissolved. Add the chocolate and salt and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile place the mascarpone in a large bowl. Add the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently cream the mascarpone and chocolate together until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Chill for several hours or overnight.

FOR THE TOPPING

When ready to serve, remove the tart from the fridge. In a bowl stir together the mascarpone and cardamom. Top the tart with dollops of the cardamom mascarpone and enjoy.

*Medjool dates are specified here because they are stickier that deglet dates and will hold the crust together better. The number of dates you will need depends on their size and freshness. Start with 8 and add more, one at a time, until the crust reaches the desired texture.

*If you can’t find Vermont Creamery mascarpone I recommend using creme friache for the topping instead. Other brands of mascarpone are too thick and dense for this purpose.

Coffee Chocolate Tart (Vegan)

Makes one 4×14-inch rectangular tart, one  8-inch round tart, or five 4-inch round tarts

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CRUST

2 cups toasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8-12 medjool dates, pitted (see note)

FOR THE FILLING

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or bourbon

2 tablespoons instant coffee

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup full-fat coconut cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

PROCEDURE

FOR THE CRUST

Combine the nuts, cocoa, salt and dates in a food processor and grind until the mixture is the texture of coarse, sticky sand. You want the mixture to hold its shape when pressed between two fingers. If it is too dry it will crumble and crack, if it is too moist it will be difficult to handle and may stick to your pan.

Transfer the mixture to your pan and using your fingers, firmly press the crust into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING

In a double boiler, set over simmering water, warm the maple syrup, vanilla, instant coffee, chocolate, salt and coconut cream and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a high speed blender. Add the soaked cashews and blend on high for several minutes until completely smooth.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Chill for several hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the tart from the fridge, slice and enjoy.

*Medjool dates are specified here because they are stickier that deglet dates and will hold the crust together better. The number of dates you will need depends on their size and freshness. Start with 8 and add more, one at a time, until the crust reaches the desired texture.