January 16, 2012

Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse Tart

Ok, so I really shouldn't be posting this in January, but this tart is absolutely fantastic. It is totally worth splurging on fresh berries, and it tasted even better when I made it over the summer with berries I had picked literally hours before. It is composed of buttery, flaky pie crust, sweet, fluffy white chocolate mousse, and succulent strawberries.

It is crucial that you use fresh strawberries in this recipe. I love using frozen fruit in smoothies, muffins, and some other baked goods, but strawberries are the star of this tart. Frozen berries tend to be somewhat deformed in addition to being extremely juicy, and those juices will ruin the pristine white mousse. Furthermore, since the strawberries are so prominent, you want to taste the freshness and the vibrance that only fresh berries have.

The original recipe was topped with a sticky strawberry glaze, but, after reading the reviews, I decided not to include it. The acidity broke down the mousse, and I didn't think that was worth the bit of extra flavor it added. If you want to risk it, simply melt down some strawberry jam in a small saucepan and add some lemon juice and sugar to taste.

As for the mousse, the recipe uses white chocolate. However, you can use milk or dark chocolate instead. The white will show off the colorful berries, but who doesn't like a dark chocolate covered strawberry? The bitterness plays off of the sweet tartness of the berries quite nicely. All chocolate is delicious, so use what you have or what you prefer.

If you use white chocolate in particular, I like to melt a few ounces and spread it on the crust once the crust cools but before adding the mousse. White chocolate has such a subtle flavor that the tart could definitely use an extra layer. It also protects the crust from the moisture of the mousse, so your crust stays crisp and flaky for hours.

I use my go-to pie crust recipe for this; it is buttery and flaky and SO good! If you use dark or milk chocolate, you can make a chocolate pie crust to boost the flavor. Simply use 1/4 cup of cocoa and 1 cup flour instead of 1 1/4 cups flour.

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Stick Butter, Chilled
1 Egg Yolk
2 Egg Whites
10 oz White Chocolate
1 1/4 Cups Cream, Chilled
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 lb Fresh Strawberries

Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until small pieces remain. Combine the egg yolk with a tablespoon of cold water and add to the mixture. Pulse until just cohesive, adding more water as necessary. Chill.

Heat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-11" round tart pan and a sheet of foil.

Roll out the dough to fit the prepared pan and press gently to adhere. Press the foil, greased-side down, onto the dough and fill with pie weights (dried beans or peas work if you don't have any). Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, about 5 minutes more. Cool.

Melt 3 oz chocolate and spread over the cooled crust.

Combine 7 oz chocolate and 1/4 cup cream in a glass bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water and whisk until melted. Remove from the water and cool. Whip remaining cream and vanilla in a bowl until stiff peaks form.

In a new, clean bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into the chocolate, then fold in the whipped cream. Pour into the cooled crust and spread to an even thickness. Chill until firm.

Meanwhile, wash and hull the strawberries. Slice thinly and place on the chilled mousse.

Makes 1 Tart
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

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