Warm mocha tart is elegant and scrumptious. It’s not even really all that hard. A crisp, buttery crust, filled with a warm, custardy, dark chocolate and coffee filling. And like the name says, it’s incredibly good when served warm.
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
WHO IS 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.
Warm Mocha Tart
- 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.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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.
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.
Originally published November 26, 2003
I fell in love with this recipe and am making it tonight. I thought of subbing Kahlua for the vanilla. It is sooo elegant-looking and eye-appealing, that you hate to cut it! LoL. Thanks, again for sharing another of your delicious recipes. Love your website!
Grammasue, thank you! This is a lovely recipe, please let us know how it turns.
Karen, I actually did make it & did add 1tlb of Kahlua, including 1/2 tsp of the vanilla. I used Ghiradelli’s cocoa & it turned out fantastic! I even made the little diamond cut-outs for the powd sugar design. LoL. My husband loved it as well. I have already shared your wonderful recipe with my Granddaughter.
Fantastic, Grammasue! So glad it turned out so well with the Kahlua! Thank you for sharing.
Can you make ahead and freeze the tart dough?
RD, you could make and freeze the tart dough ahead of time, then bake and fill it before serving. Do let us know how it turns out for you.
I just made this tart for the first time. It is very quick and easy to make, and the mocha flavor is wonderful. However, I found it too sweet for my taste – I think the cocoa flavor would shine better if the sugar amount in the filling were reduced from 1/2 a cup to 1/3 cup, which is what I’ll try next time. Also, although I left tart in the oven for 12 minutes, and the consistency looked as described in the recipe, I found the filling to be a bit too soft at the end.
Zsuzsa, so glad you liked the tart. Sweetness is, obviously, a matter of taste. But as far as the cooking time, have you tested the temperature of your oven? Sometimes ovens can run cooler or hotter. I have two or three inexpensive oven thermometers that help me keep things working smoothly. It also helps me find hot/cold spots in my oven.
I have been making this for many years after finding the recipe in Food & Wine. Every time I make it, people just rave. During the holidays I substitute peppermint for the vanilla in the custard for a peppermint mocha tart.
Woody, it is an excellent recipe. And I love your peppermint substitution. Gotta remember than when the holidays roll around.
Can the tart cases be made ahead?
shabs, as the tart can be served at room temperature, it can be made ahead. But we do think it’s at its best slightly warm.
This is a sure hit for coffee lovers. It’s not a sweet tart. When you serve it warm, the base is crunchy, similar to shortbread.