Monday, July 20, 2009

coffee ice cream tart

If you like the combination of coffee and chocolate, this dessert could be your new favorite thing. My mother-in-law Judy made it for our Fourth of July dinner from a Dorie Greenspan cookbook I gave her for Mother's Day. Like Dorie, Judy is a big fan of these flavors and was looking forward to making it for everyone. Although Dan's dad has the sweet tooth of a 16-year-old, two people can't eat a whole tart by themselves. (Well, maybe Dan and I could, but probably not the average two people.)

Unlike a lot of ice cream-based desserts, this truly is a tart. Under some fancied-up chocolate ice cream (Dorie recommends adding almond extract, nutmeg, and ground almonds, which makes it extra rich and flavorful), there is a chocolate-lined, shortbread-like crust on the bottom. The overall effect is like eating cookies and very, very good ice cream.

Other than its size and decadence, the other thing that makes this tart a special occasion dessert is that it takes awhile to make. Almost all day, to be honest. But stay with me here--before you click away to another food blog, Judy said it was a leisurely process, a lot of little steps that took a little time, spread out throughout the day. Dorie calls the recipe "undemanding" and "patient," which are very nice qualities in people, as well as desserts.

Another bonus is that the tart can keep (well-covered, in an airtight container) in the freezer for up to two months, so if you know you have a dinner coming up, you can make it in advance when you've got a day around the house planned. It's the perfect thing to make in between washing a few loads of laundry, doing a crossword, or while having an hours-long phone conversation with a friend.

Coffee ice cream tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. One drawback to the tart is that the crust was pretty hard. It was easy to eat, but not as easy to cut. Judy used a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, which may have caused this, but when making the recipe, I'd make a thinner layer of cookie dough.
(Makes one 10 or 11-inch tart)

1 cup (4 oz.) toasted slivered almonds (or sliced blanched almonds)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the filling:
1 cup (4 oz.) toasted slivered almonds (or sliced blanched almonds)
1 quart good-quality coffee ice cream
1/2 tsp. almond extract or 1 Tbsp. amaretto
pinch of nutmeg
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, for decoration

To make the crust: Lightly butter a 10- or 11-inch fluted tart pan and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat (Judy skipped this step.)

Put the almonds, flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds, or until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Toss in the pieces of butter and pulse until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and extract and continue to pulse until the dough forms clumps and large curds, about 10 seconds. Turn the dough out into the tart pan and wipe out the processor. (You'll use it for the filling.)

Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Freeze for 30 minutes. (if you'd like once the dough is frozen, you can wrap the tart pan and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months.)

Baking: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press it, buttered side down, snugly into the tart pan; put the tart pan on the baking sheet. Bake the shell for 20 minute, then remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down with the back of a fork. Bake the crust for another 8 minutes or so, until it is firm and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Scatter the chopped chocolate over the bottom of the hot crust and use a small spatula to spread it even. Cool the crust to room temperature.

To Make the Filling: Put the almonds in the processor and pulse and process until they form a paste, a minute or two. (They never formed a paste for me). Add the ice cream, extract or amaretto and the nutmeg and pulse the machine on and off in quick spurts until the ingredients are just blended -- don't process so long that the ice cream melts. Scrape the ice cream into the tart shell and smooth the top. Put the tart in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

To decorate: Melt the chocolate then pipe it or drizzle with fork. Slide the tart into the freezer to set the chocolate, about 5 minutes, then cover and freeze for at least 4 hours.


Unknown said...

Totally agree on the leisurely pace of tart-making - they're great to do while you're busy with three other things, so you're not bouncing off the walls waiting for the dough to chill for YET ANOTHER HOUR.

Lisa said...

Agreed. You need little tasks to keep you occupied when it comes to tarts.

Daniel said...

That's why it's the perfect dessert for my mom to make: she is the queen of little tasks.

Mom, I'm sassing you back for saying that I'm less of an American than Buster!

judy said...

I'm the queen of tarts.


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