Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Spiced Pecans


Way back in December of 2009, I bookmarked this recipe on Love and Olive Oil because I thought it looked absolutely amazing.  I've just been waiting since then for a reason to make it.  This past weekend, we held a little dinner party with our good friends.  We made lasagna, two loaves of homemade bread (one white, one olive), a giant salad (of which almost nobody ate!) and this tart for dessert.  I can't believe that it took me over a year to finally make it.  I already can't wait to make this again!

For the Crust:
1 cup Chocolate Wafer Cookie crumbs OR 1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs with 3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Salt
5 tablespoons Butter, melted

Blend the cookie crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the butter and process until the crumbs are moistened.  Press the crumbs into a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom (I used an 11-inch and it worked fine), to within 1/8 of an inch of the top of the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

For the Pecans:
1 Egg White
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
18 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 cups Pecan Halves

Whisk all ingredients except the pecans in a medium bowl.  Stir in the pecans and toss to coat.  Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees until just browned and dry, about 30 minutes.  Cool on the sheet.  Separate the nuts, removing excess coating.  These can be made up to 2 days ahead, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  (*I only ended up using 10-12 pecans on the tart, so I used the rest in a salad and for snacking)

For the Filling:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4 ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
1 (3.1 ounce) disk Mexican Chocolate, chopped OR 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 stick Butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (if not using Mexican chocolate)
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.  Remove from heat and add the chocolates, whisking until melted.  Add the butter one piece at a time, whisking until smooth.  Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt.  Pour the filling into the crust and chill until the filling begins to set, about 15-20 minutes.  After the filling has begun to set, arrange the pecans in concentric circles on top of the tart.  Chill until set, about 4 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.