A playful mingling of sweet, spicy, and savory best describes this rich dessert. What works best about this dessert is the texture and saltiness of the almond-pretzel crust, which provided a light enough foundation to contrast the heaviness of the filling. The espresso-chocolate and cream smoothes out the texture while adding a lovely, dark, deep canvas against which the fig firmly stands. This dessert plates very elegantly and would make an impressive, unexpected dessert for guests.
Step 1: Mocha & Fig Tart With an Almond Pretzel Crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and organize all ingredients in appropriate measures:
1 1/2 cup mini pretzels (pulsed to large crumbs in food processor)
2/3 cup almonds (pulsed to large crumbs in food processor)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of espresso granules
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
10 ounces semi sweet chocolate morsels
6-7 mission figs (stems removed and pulsed in food processor to form a thick paste)
2 large eggs (beaten, room temperature)
1 tablespoon of espresso (finely ground)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon extra fine sea salt
Pulse pretzels and almonds in a food processor. Add sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of espresso granules and butter, then pulse a few times.
Press the pretzel-almond crumb mixture into either a 9 inch tart tin, or 6 small individual tart dishes. You can use the bottom of a glass to press the crumbs firmly to the bottom and a half inch up the sides.
Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes (375 degrees), and remove from the oven to cool while you make your filling. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Pulse figs in a food processor until they form a thick paste.
In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and the milk until it simmers
Once it simmers, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate bits, along with the cinnamon, and salt.
Stir in the fig paste, and the espresso granules, and continue to stir until the fig has loosened up and is fully incorporated with little or, no lumps.
Add a couple tablespoon of the hot chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs to temper the eggs so they do not scramble when added to the chocolate.
Add egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to thoroughly incorporate. (about one minute.)
Fill your prepared, baked crust, or individual dishes with the filling mixture. Bake the tart(s) for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. If the tart(s) begin to show signs of bubbles or cracks on top, quickly remove them from the oven, as this is a sign of an over- cooked tart.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Serve warm from the oven, or chilled.
Garnish with whipped cream or fig (optional)