Here’s another recipe from Laura Werlin’s, “The All American Wine and Cheese Book”. This time chocolate is paired with the Italian version of cream cheese called mascarpone [mahs-kahr-POH-neh(nay)]. It hails from the Lombardy region and can be made as a double or triple cream cheese from cow’s milk.
The trickiest part of this recipe is ensuring that crust is pressed firmly into the tart shell. The only liquid per se is the water from the melted butter so it won’t hold together on it’s own. Keep pressing the almond mixture, first all the way around the sides, then press the “dough” into bottom of the tart shell.
For The Crust:
2 cups (10 ounces) whole almonds with skins, toasted and cooled
Scant ½ cup (4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For The Filling:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
? cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup heavy cream
About ¼ ounce semisweet or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, process the almonds and sugar together. Pour in the melted utter and pulse until incorporated.
Press the mixture into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust has turned a slightly darker shade of brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Turn the mixer to low and add the cocoa powder.
Mix until creamy, about 1 minute. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and stir just until the ingredients are blended. Pour into a prepared crust and, using a vegetable peeler, shave the chocolate over the top of the tart. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
To serve, let the tart sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then cut. After serving, return the remaining tart to the freezer. Wrapped well, the tart will keep for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.
Serve this scrumptious tart with a chilled Prosecco.
Photography by David Paul Schmit