Alice Medrich's Warm Mocha Tart- Chocolate and coffee Tart

This month's "Monthly Mingle" theme is something that's hard to resist- chocolate! Plus it's being hosted by my good friend Ria so I had to take part. To coincide -a friend was throwing a holiday party and immediately I was dreaming up the fantastical chocolate drenched creation I was going to make. But what would it be? Cake? Cookies? Decadent Brownies? I decided to leave it to Alice. 
Have I told you how much I love the chocolate queen Alice Medrich? When I'm craving a chocolate dessert, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have than Alice, looking over my shoulder, making sure my oooey gooeey chocolate is set to the perfect lever of oooey gooey-ness.
So I finally zeroed in on the gorgeously delicious looking but very simple to make sounding Warm Mocha tart.
It's made with very simple ingredients- cream, cocoa, a stick and a half of butter, an egg..No need to chop up that bar of chocolate I've been hiding, and best of all- a very non intimidating recipe for a buttery tart crust! My very first crust from scratch and I am kissing Pillsbury off for good!

Warm Mocha Tart
Recipe Source: Alice Medrich from Bittersweet from here
Serves 8 to 10

Special equipment: A 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom

For the crust
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process- I used my favourite Ghiradelli's Dutch process but Valrhona would be even better)
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 pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make the crust: (makes exactly enough for a 9 1/2 inch pie plate )
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl with a fork. Add the flour and mix just until well blended with a pastry blender or a large fork. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the sides and bottom of the tart pan. ( It's ok if it seems very thin- it will thicken when baked) If it seems like the butter is getting too oily and it's becoming difficult to manipulate the dough, simply put it in the fridge for a few minutes, it'll become easier to handle.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Simply beautiful!

Make the filling
1. 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.
2. Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture.
3. 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. ( it took me about 10 more mins) Cool on a rack. As it cools it will thicken more.
4. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature. If you are storing it in the fridge then let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours before serving since it doesn't taste as good cold- but that's just my preference.

You could also decorate it with some grated curls of bittersweet chocolate like I did, or strawberries sliced in half or even just a coating of powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

Notes from Alice: "This remarkable crust barely shrinks in the pan, so there is no need to weight or even prick it before baking. To ensure that the bottom remains crunchy, bake the crust fully, to a deep golden brown before pouring in the filling. Either natural or Dutch-process cocoa works well here. The former has a livelier, more complex, fruity flavor, while the latter has a cozy old-fashioned flavor reminiscent of chocolate pudding." 

Verdict: The crust was buttery and delicious and I will be using this simple recipe for all my tarts from now on. The rich chocolate pudding was delicious with the right balance of chocolate and coffee- just enough so that they both were prominent and complementary. However, the filling was a little too runny and liquidy even though I let it stay in the oven for 10 more mins. 
Maybe next time I'll put it in the fridge to set a little or maybe add a tsp of corn starch to thicken the pudding. 
If you are making this for a party I would suggest you make tartlets in mini tart molds and serve individual portions instead of making one large tart like I did since the runny custard might make it a little messey to cut and serve. Of course you could just make it for yourself- which I now sorely wish I had!

Am also sending this to the "In the Bag" event since I've used cream and chocolate 2 of the items in the bag :)
This is also going to Tammana's Winter comfort food event because what could be more comforting than warm ooey gooey chocolate?