Maple Mousse Butter Tart

Temps des Fêtes 2014
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food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

Inspired by bite-size tarts served at Canoe restaurant in Toronto, this large version is an easy way to feed a crowd. Bake a classic maple butter tart filling (with or without raisins) in a tender, buttery shortbread crust and top it with a fluffy maple walnut mousse and you’ve got a decadent, sweet finale for your celebration. The shortbread crust is very forgiving (the butter makes sure of that), so don’t worry if you’re not a pastry master. Be sure to use the best medium or dark pure maple syrup you can find, for the deepest flavour.

SHORTBREAD CRUST
1⅔ cups (400 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
⅔ cup (150 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tbsp (30 mL) ice water
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
½ cup (125 mL) walnut halves
or pieces (optional)

FILLING
3 eggs
¾ cup (175 mL) pure maple syrup
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
½ cup (125 mL) raisins (optional)

MAPLE MOUSSE
2 tsp (10 mL) unflavoured powdered gelatine
1½ cups (375 mL) whipping cream
2 egg yolks
¼ cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

1 For the crust, combine flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs (or pulse in a food processor then transfer to a bowl). Combine ice water and vanilla and drizzle over flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough starts to gather. Working gently with your hands, gather into a ball and press into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until slightly chilled.

2 Roll out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper to fit a 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Press into pan, pressing any cracks to seal. Trim edges and prick lightly with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3 Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

4 Line tart shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with rice or dried beans to weigh pastry down. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack (butter may drip from crust while prebaking) and bake tart shell on the centre rack for 20 minutes or until edges are dry. Remove weights and paper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until just starting to turn golden brown and firm. Remove from oven and let cool. (Leave oven on and leave baking sheet on bottom rack.)

5 If using walnuts, toast on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Let cool, then finely chop and set aside.

6 Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (160°F).

7 For the filling, whisk eggs, syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large measuring cup until well blended. Sprinkle raisins in tart shell (if using). Pour filling in cooled shell, stirring to spread raisins evenly as necessary.

8 Bake for about 35 minutes or until filling is puffed around the edges and just set in the centre. Let cool completely in pan on a rack.

9 Once the tart is cool, prepare the maple mousse. Sprinkle gelatine over 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the cream and let soften for 5 minutes. Measure ¼ cup (60 mL) of the remaining cream, then refrigerate remaining cream in a mixing bowl.

10 Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl until blended. Bring maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until fragrant, slightly darker and slightly reduced. Pour in the ¼ cup (60 mL) cream. Remove from heat and stir until bubbles subside. Gradually pour into egg yolks, while whisking constantly. Return to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes or until starting to thicken. Stir in gelatine mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until gelatine is dissolved. Transfer to a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.

11 Whip remaining cream in chilled bowl to soft peaks. Fold in vanilla. Stir one-quarter into the cooled egg yolk and gelatine mixture until well blended. Add back to whipped cream in bowl and beat until blended. Fold in walnuts (if using). Spread or pipe mousse on top of tart. Refrigerate until mousse is set, at least 30 minutes, or for up to 8 hours. Remove ring from tart pan and place on a plate (you can carefully remove from tart pan bottom and slide onto plate, if desired). Garnish with extra walnut pieces, if desired.

Serves 8 to 12

What to Serve