Do chocolate domes make desserts fancier?
Every Michelin star restaurant has at least one dome-shaped dessert on its menu. They also have a secret surprise hidden beneath the tart shells.
I think the pros are onto something. That’s what inspired me to test this theory. My only concern was its notoriously calorie-laden contents.
Luckily, I’ve transformed a fair share of indulgent treats into healthier renditions. That meant reducing sugar count, adding plant-powered alternatives, and a few staples.
All I needed was a knock-out filling.
After hours of research, I stumbled upon a unique ingredient—flavored honey. The prospect sounded exciting enough for me to delve deeper.
That’s when I encountered Ascania.
The Ukrainian-based brand infuses raw honey with fruits and aromatic spices. All of these botanical concoctions include 100% pure ingredients with zero traces of additives. They have some spectacular choices ranging from strawberry, buckwheat to chocolaty delights.
I went for lemongrass and ginger because of their refreshing, high-antioxidant traits.
With its help, my healthy chocolate dome tart got a super nutritious makeover.
So what can you expect from this delightful dessert?
My fabulous tart recipe includes a chocolate dome filled with lemongrass and ginger honey feuilletine, and creamy cashew mousse. It’s infused with other healthy staples to balance texture and taste. I piped some berry buttercream for an extra oomph factor.
Voila! You’ve got a Michelin-star-worthy dessert ready at home.
Important Tips to Get That Perfect Pastry Crust
Looking at that smooth chocolate dome, you might think that this dessert is all about that smooth chocolate mousse. If you ask me, though, the star of this dish is actually that incredibly light, crumbly, and tasty shortcrust pastry tart shell at the base.
It adds balance to the entire dessert with its rich, savory taste and soft, biscuity texture. It brings the whole dessert together and makes it a yummy treat. However, unfortunately, this is one element that many people struggle with.
But not to worry. I’ve broken down all the components of this pastry crust and compiled some important tips that will have you making the perfect Pâte Sablée like any professional pastry chef. Let’s get right into it.
1. Creaming Vs. Crumbling
When it comes to making a shortcrust tart shell, pastry chefs either use the creaming method or the crumbling method. In the creaming method, you first have to beat the room-temperature butter into a cream consistency along with the icing sugar.
Then, you add in the rest of the dry ingredients until it reaches the ideal dough consistency. The second method, crumbling, requires combining all the dry ingredients first and then adding cold butter, cut into cubes, to the dry mixture.
Then, you mix the two together with your hands until it becomes all crumbly like sand. After that, you can add an egg to finally make it into a dough. For this recipe, I’ve used the crumbling method, and there’s just one reason behind it: it makes the dough much easier to work with.
Since the butter is cold, the resulting dough is also much firmer and easier to handle. You can easily get those neat and sharp tart shells that look like they’ve come straight out of a cookbook.
2. Maintaining the Right Temperature
For this recipe specifically, the temperature is everything. Well, it’s important for every baking recipe, but this dessert specifically requires extra care to maintain the perfect temperature of every element. Trust me. I’ve thrown too many tart shells (into my mouth) while testing this recipe to finally understand the importance of temperature.
I realized I was simply being impatient and not giving the dough enough time to chill in between all the steps. Baking is a science, and there are two very important factors to it. One is accurately measured ingredients, and the other is temperature.
Even before anything goes into the oven, the temperature of the ingredients can make a big difference in how the actual dish turns out. Temperature doesn’t just include the oven temperature but everything from your kitchen temperature to the temperature of each ingredient.
For Pâte Sablée, the temperature is the most crucial factor. If the dough is too hot, it’ll turn sticky, and you won’t be able to roll it or shape it as you like. On the other hand, if the dough is too cold, it will easily break. It’s all a science.
To give you my own example, since I live in Dubai, my kitchen at home can get quite warm on a hot day. So, I would take the dough out and pop it back in the freezer at least 15 times just to keep it at the right temperature! If you are lucky and your kitchen is cold already, you would probably have to do it just four or five times.
But the point is, keeping the dough at the right temperature is paramount!
3. Using the Right Equipment
My third and final tip for getting the perfect Pâte Sablée is using the right equipment. If you have tried other pastry recipes before, you might have noticed that some of them involve blind baking. This is a technique with which you bake the pastry crust or pie crust without any filling.
You spread the crust on your pan, line it with parchment paper, and add beans or rice to it before baking it. This helps you bake the crust without getting it all puffed up. Some find this to be a good technique, but in my opinion and experience in baking pastry crusts, it’s not a great technique.
While it does stop the pastry from puffing up, it doesn’t allow even baking. Moreover, it defeats the entire purpose of blind baking as the pastry does not turn out neat and cleanly baked as there are wrinkles and bumps all over it. So, what you need for those sharp edges and beautiful golden-brown tart shells is the right equipment.
- Silicone Baking Mat
While kneading the dough, you should use two silicone baking mats to roll the dough between. This will not only keep things clean and easy to manage, but you will also get a nice and smooth pastry dough.
Besides that, these mats will be a great investment overall. You can use them for several other recipes. They can easily be washed and reused, unlike parchment paper which has to be thrown away, so it is environmentally friendly as well.
- Perforated Baking Air Mat
This looks similar to the baking mat but has tiny holes all over it. This allows the heat to spread evenly throughout, resulting in better-baked desserts. You can use it for eclairs, cookies and many other desserts. For the Pâte Sablée specifically, the perforated mat helps you bake the tart shells evenly with a neat shape and beautiful color. You won’t have to resort to the blind baking technique either.
- Perforated Tart Ring
I only have one word for these tart rings: genius. Unlike the usual tart rings, these perforated ones have holes that allow the heat to spread evenly around the surface of the rings. This allows the tart shells to cook perfectly with excellent color, great texture, and brilliant shape! What more does one want? The rings are non-stick and stainless steel, so you don’t have to bother greasing them either.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Ingredients
For a great-tasting tart shell, you first need great ingredients. While experimenting with this recipe, I used many different ingredients, and trust me, even the smallest of substitutions can have a big impact on the final flavor. So, here’s what you need to make an amazing Pâte Sablée that you’ll want to eat all day long and forever,
I used all-purpose flour in my recipe, but you can also use pastry flour if you want. Pastry flour usually has a lower protein content which results in much more tender and delicate tart shells as compared to those made with AP flour.
Pro Tip: Besides these tart shells, pastry flour also makes great chewy cookies and light yet firm pie crusts as well.
Another ingredient people tend to add to their pastry dough is almonds, although it is not incorporated in every recipe. I prefer a smooth pastry dough, so I prefer adding almond flour instead. This way, I can add that nutty flavor without compromising on the texture of the pastry.
However, this also depends on the quality of the almond flour. The better the quality of the ground almond flour, without the skin, the stronger its flavor will be. You can also use other nut flours such as walnut, hazelnut, and pistachio.
I add a bit of icing sugar to my dough recipe as well, which further enhances its flavor. You don’t want to add too much, though, as you would risk making it too sweet, and it won’t go as well with the sweet mousse and buttercream on top.
A lot of people tend to get confused when they see salt in dessert recipes. However, the truth is that salt is an essential ingredient that actually brings out the flavor of all other ingredients. Even though the tart is slightly sweet, the salt balances it all out with that mildly salty aftertaste in the end.
You should always use unsalted butter in any dish that you are making. With salted butter, you never know how much salt they actually contain and how you should adjust your recipe accordingly. While I usually advise using all room-temperature ingredients, this is one recipe where you want cold butter.
As I’ve stressed repeatedly, you need cold butter throughout to make sure the dough stays manageable. When you take the butter out, cut it into small cubes and place it back in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes so that it’s chilled right before you add it to the dry ingredients.
Use room-temperature eggs always. I would suggest not replacing the egg with anything else as it could affect the entire flavor profile of the pastry, and then you will have to adjust the whole recipe accordingly.
Now, this recipe might seem difficult with so many elements to it, but it’s much easier than you think. You can whip up all the individual components quickly, and perhaps the only tricky one is the Pâte Sablée. But I’ve broken down the tips and hacks for that as well, so you are all ready to go!
This pretty dessert is bound to disappear within a few minutes, so make sure you document your amazing accomplishment beforehand with a few pictures. Don’t forget to tag @joyfulhomecooking and including #joyfulhomecooking in your post so that we can all drool together looking at it.Print
- Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour (Chill time)
- Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 filled tarts + 8 tart shells 1x
1.SHORTCRUST PASTRY TART SHELL:
- 230 g AP flour
- 30 g Almond flour
- 90 g Icing sugar
- 110 g Unsalted butter very cold cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- Corn flakes mixed with 2 tbsp of ginger and lemongrass honey
3.DARK CHOCLATE 70% COUVERTURE*
- 45 g raw cashews
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 15 ml melted coconut oil
- 100 ml full-fat coconut milk
- 50 g dark chocolate (chopped and melted)
- 15 ml maple syrup
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tbsp milk mixed with 1 tbsp of sweet potato purple for the color (Optional)
1.SHORTCRUST PASTRY TART SHELL:
- Sift all the dry ingredients together.
- Add the chilled butter cubes and mix them with the dry ingredients till you have a crumbly, sand-like texture.
- Add the egg and mix till it starts becoming doughy.**
- Once the dough is ready, roll it out between two silicone baking mats to about 2mm of thickness. Place the dough along with the mats in the freezer for 15 minutes. Don’t remove the mats just yet.
- Take the dough out from the freezer and remove one of the silicone mats. Using the tart rings, carefully cut out 8 slices, which will be the base of the tart. Place these circles into the tart rings using an offset spatula and making sure they retain their perfect shape.
- From the rest of the dough, cut out 8 long slices, which will be the walls of the tart. Carefully place these on the tart rings and lightly press it at the bottom so that it sticks with the tart base.
- Place the tart rings in the freezer for an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- After an hour, take the tart rings out and trim any excess pastry dough using a sharp knife.
- Bake the tart shells for 20 minutes. Then carefully remove them from the perforated tart rings. Bake them for a further 5 to 10 minutes till they achieve that golden-brown color.
- Let them cool on the perforated baking mat before adding the filling.
- Once the tart shells are cool enough, fill them with corn flakes mixed with two tablespoons of the ginger and lemongrass honey.
- Cover the honey feuilletine layer with dark chocolate 70% couverture.
- Blend all the ingredients for about two to three minutes to create the mousse filling.
- Don’t forget to scrape the sides occasionally, if required, to ensure a smooth consistency. Continue blending until you get a silky smooth texture. If you prefer your mousse a little sweeter, you can increase the maple syrup or add more lemon zest for more of a tangy taste. You can taste and adjust as you go.
- Pipe the mousse filling into a dome mold.
- Place the molds in the freezer for one hour.
- Once the mouse has set, carefully remove them from the molds and turn them out over the dark chocolate layer.
- Add the blackberries and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often. The blackberries should become soft and breakdown themselves as you keep stirring them, turning into a thick paste. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until you have about 1/3 cup of blackberry puree mixture.
- If you want a smooth buttercream without any seeds or blackberry chunks, strain the blackberry puree through a fine-mesh strainer at this point. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and cooled blackberry puree. Beat them together in a mixer until it turns smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar, and continue beating on medium-high till it turns smooth and creamy.
- Combine the milk and sweet potato purple powder and add it to the butter and blackberry mixture to combine. Check your buttercream. If you find it too thick, you can add a tablespoon of milk or cream, one at a time, till the buttercream reaches the desired consistency.
- Frost the sides of the tart shell and around the mousse dome with the buttercream using your favorite piping tip.
*This is enough for filling two tart shells. You can double or triple the ingredient amounts according to how many tart shells you plan to make.
**If at any point the dough starts feeling too warm and sticky, place it back in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes till it becomes firm again. You might need to do this several times to make sure the dough stays cold, especially if your kitchen is warm or you live in a hot climate.
Keywords: Tart, Pâte Sablée, chocolate dome, chocolate tart, shortcrust pastry, feuilletine, french pastry, sweet tart crust, tart crust, pâte sucrée
Be ready to make a bigger batch next time because just these 8 tart shells with that decadent mousse and a healthy dose of honey inside will surely not be enough to satisfy your cravings.