When the clouds cover the sky and warm winds make the fallen autumn leaves billow in the lazy streets, all seems set for dreaming or just forgetting.
Nightmares often taunt us more in the waken hours than when the doors to oblivion are wide opened. A jumble of ghosts keeps our peripheral vision busy with shadow creatures while waving in front of our eyes masks of resistance and procrastination.
Tic, toc, tic, toc... it goes in us the clock of destiny charged by the spring of our free-will.
Resistance is futile, still we need to stay afloat. We will be washed out on our little sandy beach at one point or another. Will someone grab us and carry our life experiences with him as guide for new lands to be discovered?
Hope is our common Northern star.
And then there are those days when you wake up with a smile, the sun is shining through the venetian blinds and your life. Then you would like to go back to sleep to just bathe your dreams in the sunlight. And when you wake up again? Breakfast in bed? Don't mind if I do! The newspaper, a pot of warm coffee and a slice of my lazy chocolate mousse tarte are your best friends.
Ingredients (make a 24cm/10" diameter tarte):
For the chocolate mousse filling:
- 500g heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean, finely chopped
- 6g gelatin in sheets (roughly 3 sheets)
- 200g dark chocolate (use at least a 60% variety), finely chopped
- 1/2tbsp Chinese rice wine (optional)
- 180g all-purpose flour
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1/4tsp cinnamon, or to taste
- 1 pinch of salt
- 120g butter, cut into dices and frozen
- 60g ice-cold water
- Candied Amarena cherries in heavy syrup (like those from Fabbri)
- White chocolate
The day before the assembly of the tarte, prepare the chocolate ganache that will serve as base for the mousse.
To this aim, slowly bring to a simmer the cream with the vanilla bean. In the meantime soak the gelatin sheets in cold water and transfer the chocolate in a big enough bowl to contain also the cream.
The gelatin will need 5-10 minutes to fully hydrate and become soft, at this point the cream should have reached a simmer. Squeeze well the gelatin sheets to eliminate the excess water and stir it into the hot cream until well dissolved. Through a fine meshed sieve, pour the hot cream on top of the chopped chocolate and with a spatula work the two together until well combined.
Let the ganache cool slightly by slowly stirring it and seal the bowl using plastic wrap that will be in direct contact with the chocolate ganache (it will avoid a skin to form). If using, add the Chinese rice wine to the ganache right before sealing the bowl.
Refrigerate for at least 24h before use.
The pie dough can also be done the day before.
In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon by pulsing them a few times. Add then the frozen dices of butter and pulse them until the whole mixture will assume a sandy appearance with still little pea-sized pieces of butter here and there. Always pulsing, drizzle in enough water to bind the dough. Be careful not to overwork it, it should not come into a ball but just in clumps that hold together by themselves or when pressed in your hand.
Dump the dough onto the kitchen counter, bring it together by gently kneading it and shape it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
After the dough will have rested, transfer it onto the kitchen counter and roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap into a disk large enough to cover your tarte mold. Every now and then loosen the plastic wrap from the dough while rolling.
To transfer the rolled dough onto the tarte tin, fold it in half and then in half again so to have a pointy quarter of a circle. Place the tip of the folded dough in the center of the tarte tin and unfold it. Gently ease the dough in pressing it against the sides of the mold, cut then the excess of dough or simply roll it on itself so to form a a thicker top rim for your tarte.
Cover the lined tarte tin with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The tarte mold can naturally be lined also the day before and kept in the fridge overnight tightly covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to bake your tarte, heat up your oven to 160C/320F; pierce the bottom of the tarte shell with a fork, cover it with wrinkled baking paper and then with dry beans/pie weights or the like. Bake for 25min then remove the pie weights with their baking paper and bake until golden brown (another 15-20min).
Transfer the tarte shell on a pastry grid and let cool completely before filling it.
To finish the chocolate mousse, transfer the gelled ganache in the bowl of a standing mixer and whip it up using the paddle for no more than 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Do not over whip it or the mousse with become grainy.
When the tarte shell will have cooled down, fill it up with the whipped chocolate ganache, the cherries (save some for the top decoration) and their syrup mixing them all together as you go.
Finish the top with some of the cherries and some shavings of white chocolate.
Refrigerate the tarte covered with plastic wrap for a few hours so the filling will have time to set.
The tarte is best served when at room temperature drizzled with some more of the amarena cherries heavy syrup.
Thanks to Albarock for sharing this technique for a chocolate-mousse: