Let’s face it, in the U.S. there is a new recall on our purchased products almost daily. You wake up to discover that the toy you bought your child was made with lead paint or the peanut butter you spread for sandwiches is tainted with salmonella. It’s terrifying. I think the best way to show that we demand safe products is by voting with our dollars. Purchase products and food from reputable companies which instill high standards of safe manufacturing protocols.
You may be wondering why I’m even talking about safe foods, so let me explain. Months ago I signed up to participate in Kitchen Play, a website created by Casey of Tastestopping that partners bloggers with PR representatives of food-related companies. Each month one company sponsors a “Progressive Party” where 6 food bloggers create original recipes utilizing the sponsor’s products for a full 6-course menu.
May’s menu is sponsored by Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs. Safest Choice eggs are whole shell eggs that have been taken through a pasteurization (heating) process, just like your milk and juice are. This process destroys harmful microorganisms that can cause foodborne illness, like salmonella. They’re also hormone-free, antibiotic free, and kosher. Safest Choice eggs look, taste, and feel just like any other egg, but can be safely used in culinary applications that call for raw eggs. Sauces, spreads, dressings, custards, and in my case, mousse, are all made safe for consumption by anyone with Safest Choice eggs. I was thrilled when Casey told me my course was dessert and the company was Safest Choice. So many possibilities…
It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to create a chocolate dessert. From there I decided mousse, since mousse recipes often call for raw eggs. To spice things up and add some depth of flavor, I created a pecan-chocolate crust and a bourbon caramel drizzle. This recipe is perfect for an adult dessert for your Spring festivities. As I mention in the recipe’s note below, the liqueurs can be changed up (or omitted completely) to give a variety of flavors. I think the next time I make this mousse tart I’ll use a raspberry liqueur.
There’s also a contest associated with this Progressive Party where each of the 6 courses will award a $100 prize. Check out the contest page for more information on how you can participate! And to make it easier for you to create one of this month’s recipes, here’s a link to three $1.00 coupons for Safest Choice Eggs.
Taste: Deeply chocolate, slightly nutty, with a hint of alcohol that hits the back of your throat.
Texture: The crust is like a crunchy chocolate cookie. The filling is light and airy, just like a mousse should be. The caramel sauce adds a bit of slickness to coat your tongue.
Ease: This recipe does require a few steps but the caramel and the mousse can both be made ahead of time.
Appearance: Homemade and heavenly.
Pros: Perfect for an adult dessert at your Spring table, flavors can be changed up, safe for anyone to eat.
Would I make this again? Yes! With raspberry liqueur next time.
Chocolate Mousse Tart with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat
Notes: To toast the pecans for the crust, spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn!
Any alcohol in this recipe is optional and simply adds more flavor. Add as little or as much as you prefer. You could substitute another liqueur such as a raspberry, orange, or coffee liqueur in the mousse or even the caramel.
Be sure the egg whites are at room temperature before whipping; this allows them to better increase in volume.
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup pecans, toasted
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• ½ stick (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Mousse Filling
• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• ½ stick (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1-2 tablespoons bourbon (optional, see note)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 4 large Safest Choice Pasturized eggs, separated, at room temperature
• ¾ cup heavy cream
• pinch of salt
• ¼ cup sugar
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons bourbon (see note)
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with non-stick spray. Combine flour, cocoa, pecans, and sugars in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until evenly blended and pecan pieces are no larger than the size of small peas. Add the melted butter and pulse until mixture is moistened and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Press crust into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tart pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
For the chocolate mousse filling:
In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine the chocolate, butter, bourbon, and water. Allow the butter and chocolate to melt, then whisk mixture until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking after each addition to combine. Add vanilla. Continue stirring until mixture is smooth and glossy again. Set aside to cool, stirring frequently with a spatula for another 5-10 minutes until just warm.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip the cream to medium-firm peaks. Set aside. In another clean mixing bowl, combine room temperature egg whites and salt. Using a clean whisk attachment or beaters, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. It takes a bit longer to whip pasteurized eggs whites, and adding a bit of cream of tartar or lemon juice will help. Slowly add sugar and beat until glossy, firm peaks form.
Spoon the whipped cream onto the cooled chocolate mixture and fold in gently with a rubber spatula, stopping when large streaks of chocolate are still visible. Add the egg whites and continue folding until just combined. Pour mousse mixture into cooled pecan crust and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before drizzling with caramel and serving.
For the caramel sauce:
In a small non-stick saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, washing down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sticking and burning. Continue cooking, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream (the mixture may violently bubble once cream is added, that’s okay). Let cool for 1 minute, then stir in the bourbon. Place back on medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let the caramel sauce cool slightly to room temperature. Drizzle over chocolate mousse tart and serve. Caramel can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
The assembled mousse tart can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.