Dark Chocolate Pecan "Worms in Dirt" Mousse Tart
Halloween is just around the corner and I really enjoy brainstorming Halloween baking recipes. It’s fun to bake (and eat) something that is both delicious and scary, spooky, or gross looking. You can really stretch your creativity compared to most everyday baking; developing not only great flavor but also executing imaginative themes using edible ingredients in completely different ways. This Mousse tart is not only delicious it’s a memory right out of your childhood, a edible glorified “mud pie”.
Layers of dark chocolate mousse, cookie dirt, and chocolate whipped cream are topped with realistic raspberry gummy worms to make a frightfully delicious Halloween dessert. The “dirt” in this dessert is made from chocolate pecan cookies. I add a bit of cinnamon to my cookies. The flavor combination of chocolate, pecans and cinnamon is one of my favorites. Like in these Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls or Brown Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Pecan Streusel. The cinnamon really enhances the chocolate flavor and pecans always add a great richness and crunch.
With a few ingredients, some flexible straws and some time you can make homemade wiggly flexible earth worms. Making your own homemade gummy worms really makes this dessert a show stopper but of course you could save some time and effort and buy some to top your tart with. The sweet and tart raspberry flavor goes well with the rich chocolate but you can also use another “red flavor” like cherry or strawberry. I used a tall vase to hold my straws in place but if you use something that doesn’t come up past the straws ends, place a rubber band around them to hold them in place while you poor in the mixture. Also make sure to let your mixture cool before you add the cream or the heat will cause the mixture to separate and have a grainy effect.
Dark Chocolate Pecan “Worms in Dirt” Mousse Cake
Raspberry Gummy Worms
2 3-ounce package raspberry jello
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup heavy cream
a few drops green gel food coloring (I used americolor gel coloring in leaf green)
100-125 flexible straws
Chocolate Pecan Cookies
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 large egg (to measure out 1/2 a large egg whisk 1 egg and then remove 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1/3 cup pecan pieces
Dark Chocolate Mousse
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/4 cup espresso or coffee
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
6 ounces dark chocolate
Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine boiling water with raspberry and unflavored gelatin packets and stir until completely dissolved.
Set aside and let cool until lukewarm (about 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, stretch out straws until they are full extended and place in a tall container. Make sure that the straws fit snugly into the container so that as much of the gelatin mixture stays in the straws as possible. If you straws extend over the top of the container use a rubber band to keep them secure.
Once cool, Mix in heavy cream and drops of green food coloring until you reach the desired color. Then, pour mixture into the container prepared with straws. Chill for at least 9 hours.
To remove the worms, run three or so straws under warm water to help gelatin slip from the straw.
Chocolate Pecan Cookies:
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar butter, salt, baking powder, expresso powder, and cinnamon.
Then, beat in the half egg and vanilla, then the flour and cocoa. Once the dough comes together mix in the pecan pieces.
Place the dough on plastic wrap and roll into a log. Chill the dough until firm (about 30 minutes in the fridge or 10 in the freezer)
When the dough is firm cut into slices about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place on the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should be ready just when you begin to smell the chocolate aroma.
In a medium bowl, beat cream until it reaches stiff peak. Cover and chill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a double boiler or large bowl over simmering water whisk together egg yolks, espresso, 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt. Continuing to whisk until the mixture has lightened in color and doubled in volume. Remove the bowl from heat and mix in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with a electric mixer until they lose their yellow color and become foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to whisk on high until you reach stiff glossy peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in two additions. Then, fold in the whipped cream gently until full combined.
Chocolate whipped cream:
in a large bowl, Whipped together the cream, cocoa and sugar with and electric mixer until you reach stiff peaks.
Line a 9 inch spring form pan with plastic wrap. This will help you remove the tart from the pan after chilling.
Add 15 cooled cookie to a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until no large pieces remain.
Place crushed cookies in the bottom of the prepared pan and spread until completely covered. Over that pour in mousse and spread evenly. Then topped with whipped cream.
Crush the remaining cookies and sprinkle a layer over the top of the tart. You may want to use a spoon to create a more un even surface to look more like realistic. Top with some of your gummy worms. Also, dip some of the worms in the cookie crumbs before placing on the cake. Then, sprinkle with remains crumbs.
Chill the tart for at least 4 hours but preferably over night before serving.