Chocolate Grasshopper Tarts
Makes 8 mini tarts
1 package chocolate wafer cookies
3 T. melted butter
For ganache layer:
6 oz. extra bittersweet chocolate
3/4 C. heavy cream
For the mint mousse:
2 C. heavy cream
5 egg yolks
3/4 C. sugar
1 package gelatin
2 T. green creme de menthe
1 1/2 t. mint extract
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
For crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place eight 3-inch flan rings on a flat, parchment lined pan and spray the insides of rings with cooking spray. In a food processor, grind the chocolate cookies until they are fine. Turn the crumbs out into a bowl and add the butter slowly, as you may not need all of it.
Mix the crumbs (reserving a small amount to garnish the finished tarts) and butter until it forms a sticky dough when you squeeze it together. Pat the crumbs into the bottom of the rings in as thin a layer as possible. Bake the crusts (in the rings) for 5-6 minutes, just to set. Allow to cool.
For ganache: Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Scald the cream and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes to let chocolate melt and then whisk mixture until smooth. Spoon into the prepared crusts in a very thin layer, trying to get ganache to spread all the way around the ring. Refrigerate.
For the mousse: Whip cream to hold soft peaks. Refrigerate. Place yolks in bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment. Begin whipping at medium speed. Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with just enough water just to moisten the sugar. Bring the sugar to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer in the sugar and bring the sugar to soft-ball stage (242°F.) When the sugar reaches 235°F, increase the speed on the yolks to high. When the sugar is at soft ball, carefully pour it over the whipping yolks. Continue whipping to cool the mixture.
In small bowl, moisten the gelatin in cold water to cover. Place the creme de menthe and mint extract in a small pot and heat gently. Add gelatin to the mint liquid. Whisk well until the gelatin is totally dissolved. Pour this mixture over the still whipping egg-sugar mixture. Whip another minute more.
Pour the mint mixture into a bowl. Add one-third of the whipped cream to this and whisk to lighten. Carefully fold in the remaining cream. With a small ladle, spoon the mint mousse into the prepared flan rings. Bring the mousse up to the top of the ring and use a small spatula to level them off. Refrigerate for at least four hours.
To unmold, run a blowtorch carefully and quickly around the sides of the ring and lift up the tart. Alternatively, surround the ring with a very hot towel and lift up the tart. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with some of the reserved cookie crumbs.