The remarkable crust I created for this warm mocha tart recipe barely shrinks in the pan, so there’s no need to weight or even prick it before baking. To ensure that the bottom remains crunchy, bake the crust fully, until it reaches a deep golden brown, before pouring in the filling. At the same time I was playing with this new tart crust recipe, I was experimenting with different cocoas, tasting and comparing natural and Dutch-process in all kinds of recipes. Voila, rich warm cocoa custard in the simplest crust.– Alice Medrich


If you’re not already familiar with Alice Medrich, the legendary cookbook author and creator of this warm mocha tart recipe, allow us to remedy that situation. She is, in a word, brilliant. And very well-versed in all things sugar and chocolate and even, as of late, gluten-free and other -free ways of baking that are still full of enticement. Try any of her recipes. We think you’ll agree.

A white cake stand with a warm mocha tart on top, with cocoa and confectioner's sugar on top and one slice missing.

Warm Mocha Tart

4.89 / 9 votes
With the buttery crust, either natural or Dutch-process cocoa will work well here. The former has a livelier, more complex, fruity flavor, while the latter has a cozy old-fashioned flavor reminiscent of chocolate pudding. You choose.
David Leite
Servings8 to 10 servings
Calories393 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • A 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom


For the crust

  • 8 tablespoons (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling

  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder, (such as Medaglia d’Oro), or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


Make the crust

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Don't worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Make the filling

  • Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cream in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is blended and smooth and begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso powder and vanilla.
  • Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture.
  • Pour the filling into the hot crust and turn off the oven. Leave the tart in the oven until it quivers like tender Jell-O in the center when the pan is nudged, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  • Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.
Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 393 kcalCarbohydrates: 33 gProtein: 4 gFat: 28 gSaturated Fat: 18 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 107 mgSodium: 60 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 19 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2003 Alice Medrich. Photo © 2003 Deborah Jones. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is, without a doubt, one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve made in years and I can already say will be one of my new go-to favorites. It looks extremely elegant and people expect you spent hours on it, and yet, from preheating the oven to pulling the finished tart out is less than 45 minutes.

Warm Mocha Tart--Jack V

This press-in crust couldn’t be easier and bypasses the fuss of chilling and rolling pastry. The filling comes together in minutes, easily accomplished while the base cooks, and then you just pour right into the piping hot crust and slide back into the oven. 

The flavor is phenomenal…I opted to use the Anamalai Cacao from Diaspora Co (a natural cocoa powder) which delivered bright, fruity notes that were rounded out by the dark and sultry espresso powder. The crust is thin and crisp and balances the chocolate filling so nicely. I used a cocoa powder/powdered sugar finish on top to mirror Alice’s presentation in the recipe photo, but I’m already picturing versions with a raspberry curd topping, or a glistening caramel pool on the top.

The only drawback to this recipe is my oven actively vents residual heat after cooking, so I was unable to set the tart with the oven shut off. After realizing this wasn’t going to work for me, I turned my oven to 275ºF and baked for 10 minutes, until the sloshy center was reduced to a gentle wobble and registered 170ºF. I then cooled it on the counter for an hour and then chilled it in the fridge. Absolute perfection.

Make this tart. Make it often. Don’t tell your friends and family how easy it was and take all the credit.

This recipe is delicious and was an absolute hit! People were asking for the recipe and it will for sure be my new go-to dessert for get-togethers. I tried it both warm and room temperature and honestly prefer it at room temp, as it holds its shape better and the coffee flavor is more defined. If I did anything differently next time, I’d add in 1 tablespoon less butter to the crust–it was just a tad too oily. 

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    It was everything you described above and more. I served it with a dollop of whipped cream and when we all had the first bite, everyone agreed it was absolutely delicious. A collective OMG. There were requests for seconds. My powdered sugar design was not as nearly as nice as the recipe photo but practice makes perfect. 😁 I will be making this again.