You know, people seem to voluntarily segregate during the holidays into Team Pie and Team Cake. The former spend their vacation days fashioning ornate crusts and lattice work, leaving the rest of us to recognize that this group is what the over-achieving Play-dough kids in preschool grew up to be. Team Cake, on the other hand, seem to have an uncanny ability to bake even cake-layers and frost something so sloppily it looks elegant. I make a naked cake, it looks...well...naked. They make a naked cake and it looks like it came straight off the cover of a wedding magazine. And then you've got the remaining pool of non-categorized desserties, of which I am a sworn groupie. We love to eat cake and pie but prefer to expand into any other category of dessert when its our turn to bake. Creme brulee, ice cream, puddings, tarts, tortes, slumps, crisps, basically anything but cake or pie. This No Man's Land is where the Black Forest Fudge Tart emerged. I'm sure a similar recipe has been made in some capacity by some cook or another, but as far as I'm concerned, the idea was original. I began with this recipe for a Black Forest Tart, then flippantly added another layer here and another there until we ran out of tart-land and became something oddly non-categorical. Let's pause for a road-map through this portion of the Black Forest:
Road Map Through The Black Forest Fudge Tart
Layer One - chocolate graham crust
Layer Two - mousse-like fudge cake
Layer Three - cheesecake swirl
Layer Four - chocolate ganache
Layer Five - whipped cream
Layer Six - morello cherries
We cut a slice early on Thanksgiving to “take a picture.” I knew the sun would go down and then the photos would be horrible. But let's be honest, I cut it because I wanted some before I got full on Dad's smoked turkey and Grandmama's mashed potatoes and my sister in law's outlandishly addicting yeast rolls. And the photos turned out shiny and I smeared the chocolate ganache everywhere, so just forgive that, if you would. The reward of eating all the ganache I seeminly smeared from here to kingdom come is so worth the price of not so fine photos. Y'all understand. It's hard to do justice to a plate and fork when you've got a camera hanging around your neck, trying to keep the flash from going off. #foodieprobs. Instead, have a look at the layers of divinity and try to keep from drooling onto your keyboard. I've heard it's not good for the computer.
Black Forest Fudge Tart
1 ¼ cup
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cups flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
½ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon brewed coffee
1 jar Morello cherries, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
- Begin with the crust. Crush chocolate graham crumbs in a food processor with melted butter and sugar. Press into bottom and slightly up sides of a 9-10” spring-form pan. Bake for twelve minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool on wire rack.
- Melt butter and semisweet chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat and stir until well mixed. Allow to cool to room temperature. Beat together eggs and vanilla, then fold in the chocolate mixture. Mix in flour and pour into cooled crust.
- Beat together ingredients for the cream cheese layer until smooth and well-mixed, then pour on top of chocolate layer and drag a knife through to create a slight swirl pattern. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes, or until center is set. Allow to cool, then remove spring-form.
- For the ganache, melt chocolate and cream in double boiler over medium heat. Add brewed coffee, beat until glossy and slightly thickened. Pour over cooled cake.
- When ganache is set, top with whipped cream (you may make your own by beating 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar until stiff peaks form) and drained Morello cherries. Sift top with powered sugar or cocoa powder
Hope you are able to make this dessert at some point this holiday season! I know a re-match will soon be in the works at my house. With thirty-four people clamoring for equal rights on Thanksgiving Day, there was nowhere near enough room in the Black Forest for us all. What I love about this kind of dessert is that it stays away from holiday tropes. No pumpkin, no apple-cinnamon, no peppermint. Because you know that while I love some peppermint bark and will sell my non-existent family jewels for a good molasses ginger cookie, I hate being mainstream. Such a hipster, guys. Such a hipster.