Monday, October 14, 2013

Chocolate Stout Tart with an Oreo Cookie Crust

On my first date with my boyfriend, we went to the Beaches Jazz Fest. It was the smack-dab in the middle of summer, the air was unbearably hot and sticky and I was struggling to find the balance between attractiveness and sweatiness. While I gracefully wipe away the sweat from my forehead, I prayed my eyeliner wasn’t running black streaks down my face. We were accompanied by his roommate’s overly hyper dog who took interest in everything from other puppies, to the music, to the smells wafting from food trucks surrounding the festival. 

We walked around and made our way to the ‘beer garden’, a section for grownups to enjoy booze and sit closer to the stage. I had the Mill St Tankhouse ale, he had the organic lager. When we picked up our plastic cups, he smiled at me and exclaimed, “the first sip of beer is the best sip of all!” I thought about it and agreed, the first sip is really the best. The flavours are fresh and clear, it cleanses your palate, it’s refreshing. Since then, we’ve developed an agreement: I get to take the first sip of all the beers we share. I told my coworkers about this and one of them said my boyfriend is a keeper, I couldn’t agree more. He’s pretty awesome. 

I love beer and most times would choose beer over any other cocktail. I really enjoy Sam Adams, Granville Island Pale Ale, Stella Artois, trappist ales, Hop City’s Barking Squirrel ale (it’s a fun name to say too), Rickard’s Blonde…you get the idea. I’ve used beer in food on my blog before (here and here), but not often enough. I found this recipe for chocolate tart that used a chocolate stout and of course, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use alcohol in a dessert.

I smashed Oreo cookies to make the tart shell, baked it with butter and brown sugar, and impatiently let it cool on my balcony. Meanwhile, for the filling, I simmered milk, heavy cream, cocoa powder, brown sugar and of course the stout, whisking until it was all combined then added the chopped chocolate, vanilla and mixing until smooth and et viola! Chocolate stout custard! Add this to the cooled cookie crust and stick in the fridge to set. I prefer making cakes because it’s easier to dump batter into a pan compared to rolling out pie crusts or scooping out dozens of cookies in batches. This tart is totally doable. It was fun making it especially when chocolate and beer is involved.

The Oreo crust is has a sandy texture, it marries well to the luscious chocolate filling. I’d even add flaked sea salt to the top of the filling to add an extra flavor contrast, though it’s fine without it. The filling is rich and chocolately, with a mild bitterness from the beer, in fact, the beer tones down the sweetness so it’s not too cloying. The filling is airy, unlike a dense chocolate mousse. And remember to give it time to set in the fridge, so it can harden to the right consistency and won’t spill everywhere when you serve it.

Chocolate Stout Tart with an Oreo Cookie Crust
Adapted from Epicurious

My local liquor store didn’t have a chocolate stout so I opted for a regular stout instead and the results were still very good. Be patient and let the tart to cool completely before pouring the filling over it, this will ensure a crispier crust. I left out the almonds from the recipe and used Oreo cookies since the store didn’t have chocolate wafers, you may use whatever you wish. The recipe also makes boozy whipped cream, you can find instructions for it on Epicurious.

For the crust
4 ounces of Oreo cookies or 15 chocolate wafers
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup stout
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60-62% cocoa), finely chopped
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To make crust
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. In a food processor, pulse cookies and sugar in a food processor until cookies are finely ground.

Add butter and pulse to combine, then press evenly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch tart pan or 1-inch up sides of a springform pan (a dry measuring cup with a smooth bottom is very useful for pressing crumbs into an even layer). Bake until set, 15 minutes. Cool on a rack 1 hour.

To make filling:
In a medium pot, whisk together milk, cream, stout, sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low, allow mixture to simmer, continue whisking about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and vanilla until smooth. 

Pour chocolate custard into the cooled tart shell and cover surface with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill until set, about 3 hours. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Recipe here!

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