Years ago, when it was my turn to cook a holiday dinner for my extended family, I realized I’d gotten myself in over my head. In fit of poor planning, I’d settled on a menu involving a great deal of fussy preparation and last-minute tending that would stretch my cooking skills to their limit. And I hadn’t yet decided on a dessert. The evening before the big dinner I recalled a recipe I’d clipped (source unknown) for a seemingly dead simple, no-bake chocolate tart that would surely appeal to my family, chocoholics all. Perfect, right?
Well, not exactly. The tart was delicious, and family members asked for the recipe, which I retrieved. At that point, I realized I’d somehow botched its no-brainer, two-ingredient chocolate filling. The recipe called for an 8-ounce bag of chocolate; I’d accidentally used a 12-ounce bag. It called for 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream; I’d misread that as 2 1/2 cups of whipped cream. I had inadvertently made a tart considerably more chocolaty than the recipe I was trying to follow.
Occasionally, cooking errors do produce wonderful results, as they miraculously did in this case. Over the years, I’ve made multiple renditions of my chocolate tart “mistake” by varying the types of tart shell and chocolate used, adding seasonal fruits, and including different flavorings in the tart’s filling. In this decadent, Southern-style variation on this quick and easy tart, I have used a bourbon-flavored, bittersweet chocolate filling and a tart shell of toasted pecans. Chocolate lovers: enjoy!
For the tart shell:
1/2 cup plain or chocolate graham cracker crumbs (4-5 crackers)
1 cup shelled and toasted pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
For the filling:
12 ounces good-quality, bittersweet dark chocolate (I used 60% cacao chocolate morsels here, a slightly higher cacao content is better if you can find it and afford it)
1 tablespoon honey or light corn syrup
3 tablespoons whipping cream
3-4 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup chilled whipping cream
(Optional) dark chocolate shavings or additional whipped cream for garnish
- Lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan or shallow pie pan.
- In a food processor, pulse the toasted pecans, graham crackers, and brown sugar until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times more until fully blended. Press the crumbs evenly into the prepared tart pan and refrigerate until needed.
- Combine the chocolate, honey (or corn syrup), and 3 tablespoons of cream. Briefly heat until just (important!) melted, either in a microwave oven on a low setting or over simmering water in a double boiler. Stir in the bourbon until it is fully incorporated. Set the chocolate mixture aside until it has cooled to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl or food processor, whip 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until fully blended. Taste the mixture and, if needed, add additional bourbon to suit your taste. Spoon the filling into the tart shell and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours, but preferably overnight, before serving. Serves 10-12.