I have the easiest, richest, most elegant chocolate ganache tart for you all today. This is the perfect dessert for a holiday meal, when you’ve got your mind on a million other things and want dessert to be simple and make ahead. This lovely confection takes about five minutes of active work time before you can stick it in the fridge and pull it out whenever dinner is over. Your guests will never know it was so easy, since it looks like you went to all kinds of trouble, and the brown butter and oreo crust tastes divine. You can just keep it a secret that all you had to do was chop up oreos, brown some butter on the stove, and mix some cream and chocolate together. I know this will be on my Christmas dessert table next week!
We’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, and I’ve used my host prerogative to put myself in charge of the appetizers (more on that later this week), the turkey and ham, and desserts. Baking really relaxes me, so I should be all zenned out for the big day. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I was on it, putting up the tree and stockings and garlands on our staircase. Or rather, I supervised all of said activities. We have a weird curved staircase to our second floor, and this is the only time of year that it actually looks right, with garlands and lights and a tree in the semi-circle space next to it that, eleven months of the year, looks empty and lonely because I can’t for the life of me find a table to put there. The house feels just the right amount of festive, and this chocolate tart, with its ring of crushed candy canes, will fit right in.
To make the crust, put 25 oreos in a food processor and pulse them to a fine crumble. This should give you 2 cups of crushed oreos; pulse a few more cookies if you don’t have enough. Put the butter in a saute pan over medium high heat and cook it until the butter has turned a light brown. You’ll know it’s ready when you smell a nutty aroma; take it off the heat immediately, since burnt butter tastes pretty terrible. Trust me on this step – the browned butter has a rich, nutty flavor that takes this crust over the top. Combine the butter and oreos in a medium bowl and stir them with a fork until combined, then press them into a buttered tart pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes in a 350°F oven, then place the whole pan on a cooling rack.
While the crust bakes, make the chocolate ganache. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan on the stove or in the microwave. Once it’s hot, pour it over the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Let that sit for a few minutes, then stir with a spatula until the mixture is combined. It should be uniform in color and glossy. Pour this into the cooled crust, then refrigerate the tart for at least an hour. Garnish with crushed peppermint candies for a cool peppermint kick, or leave it ungarnished for pure chocolate flavor.
- 2 cups crushed oreos (about 25 cookies)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate (10 oz)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Peppermint candies, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter a tart pan, including up the sides.
- To brown the butter, melt it in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until browned (you’ll notice a nutty aroma), but not burnt. This should take 4-5 minutes.
- Place the oreos in a food processor and pulse until they are crushed finely. Alternately, you could place them in a large ziploc bag, close all but the last inch or so, and smash them with a rolling pin. The crust will come together best when the oreos are all crushed finely, so it will take some muscle.
- Pour the oreos into a bowl and add the melted brown butter. Stir with a fork until the butter is incorporated, then turn the mixture into the tart pan and press down evenly and up the sides.
- Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely.
- To make the ganache filling, chop the bittersweet chocolate finely and place in a large bowl. Heat the cream over medium-high heat until bubbling (watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t boil over), then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniformly brown and shiny.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared crust and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- To make the peppermint garnish, put peppermint candies in a ziploc bag (leave an inch of the bag open to allow air to release) and crush them with a large rolling pin. Or you could find pre-crushed peppermints at the grocery store, like I did. You could sprinkle them over the whole tart (my husband’s recommendation), or you could cut out a circle of parchment paper slightly smaller than the tart pan and place it in on the chilled tart, then sprinkle candies around the edges and carefully remove the parchment.
- You can serve the pie chilled, or if you want it closer to room temperature, take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to serve it.
Note: Recipe adapted from Pretty Simple Sweet.