Tuesday, May 11, 2010
My mint is back...
Last year I filled three enormous bags with the plant, pulling up as many of the stolons from earth as I could find. Yet it comes back... every year.
The plant and I have an tense relationship. It wants world domination, spreading its shoots up all over my yard and beyond. I just want it to give up a few leaves now and then, play nice in the yard and leave the rhododendrons alone.
Being a stubborn, willful plant, it won't comply. So, I have to go out there and show Mr. Mint who is boss now and again.
Who is tough now, eh plant!
So, rich with plenty of fresh mint, I decided to make a truffle tart this morning. A crisp chocolate crust filled with a bittersweet ganache infused with my pesky plant.
Not So Humble Fresh Mint Truffle Tart
serves 12-16 (small pieces, it's rich)
1/2 cup (65g) powdered (icing) sugar
1 cup (138g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (21g) dutch processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) unsalted butter, cold
1lb 1 ounce (477g) semi-sweet chocolate (56% cacao), chopped
1 1/4 cup (290g) heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
40 fresh mint leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
In your food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients for the crust. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add those to the food processor. Blend the mixture until it forms a fine crumb that holds together when pinched.
Pour the crumbs into an 11" tart pan with a removable bottom and press into the pan to form the crust.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
While that cools you can start the tart's filling.
Pick roughly 40 mint leaves and give them a good washing. Unless, you know, you like infusing your ganache with extra 'vitamins' and 'minerals'.
Thoroughly dry the leaves in paper towels and then give them a couple smacks with your rolling pin. No need to muddle or pulverize the leaves, just one or two smacks to make them fragrant.
Bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the mint leaves. Cover and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes so the mint can infuse the cream.
In the meantime go about chopping all that chocolate.
When the cream is ready, strain to remove the mint leaves and add the cream, the butter and the chocolate to a heat-safe bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water (over, not in). Stir the mixture slowly, until completely smooth. The end result should be a glossy, emulsified ganache, fragrant with real mint.
Pour the ganache into your cooled crust and then place into the refrigerator to set. It should take a few hours to firm up.
While you're waiting on the tart, you can make some chocolate leaves to decorate the tart.
Simply melt a little chocolate and take a small paintbrush (the cheap ones with plastic bristles, usually marketed towards children work the best for this) and paint a thick coating of chocolate onto the underside of the leaf, avoiding the edges.
Place your leaves onto a baking sheet and then pop the baking sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes.
Once the chocolate is firm and no longer glossy, you can gently peel away the mint leaf. Keep the chocolate leaves chilled until ready to use. Once the tart has set, you can arrange the leaves on top to garnish.
You can also garnish the tart with a little fresh mint or a dusting of cocoa powder before serving.
To store, keep the tart covered and chilled for up to 3-4 days. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Cut a slice, a very small slice, and enjoy.