Updated: Nov 30, 2022
This is the best Holiday dessert you've never tried and I promise, it'll be worth it if you do. I'm going to let you in on a little secret here and that is I'm not the biggest peppermint fan. When it comes to peppermint desserts I really need to be swooned and truly won over before I decide if it's worth more than a bite. This tart is worth a whole slice and another and another. It was such a hit, so much so, that I've been reminded by family members and my sweet husband throughout the year regarding the last time I made this.
The tart shell is made of a vanilla-peppermint shortbread tart. A generous layer of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache sits on the tart shell and is met with the fluffiest white mocha fillings. Soft peppermint candies add just the right amount of peppermint while creating the perfect balance to this dessert.
It's a good idea to use soft peppermint candies on top of the tart so the candies bring an accented flavor that easily melts while eating rather than giving a surprise crunch that can hurt your teeth.
There is the slightest amount of peppermint extract in the tart shell. A high quality extract will bring in great peppermint flavor. I prefer to use one from Nielsen Massey or Amoretti.
King Arthur makes a really great espresso powder (linked below) but it an instant espresso coffee works well too.
Here's the recipe:
For the tart shell:
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups, all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup Red Bird peppermint puffs, crushed
Preheat the oven to 350°. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.On low to medium speed in a stand mixer with whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time and whisk until smooth, then add vanilla extract. Slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Spread tart mixture evenly into shell pan, pressing down into the edges of the pan as well. Bake tart shell for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely before filling with ganache and mocha filling.
For the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the baking chocolate and heavy cream until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Whisk in the vanilla and peppermint extract until smooth. Cover and chill until ganache is thickened and tart is ready to be assembled. When ready, using a hand mixer, mix the ganache on medium speed until a soft peak forms (do not overbeat). Spread a thinner layer (about ¼”) evenly into tart shell and let chill for 30 minutes before filling tart with white mocha filling.
For the White Mocha Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
11 ounces white chocolate
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons espresso powder dissolved in a small splash of hot water (approx. 2 teaspoons)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese to a smooth consistency on low speed. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the butter and white chocolate, stirring until all lumps are removed and chocolate is smooth. Add chocolate to cream cheese and mix until well combined. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and espresso mixture. In a separate bowl, whip the powdered sugar and heavy cream together until a stiff peak forms. Fold in the cream and sugar mixture with the white chocolate and cream cheese mixture until fully combined. The filling should be thick and fluffy, yet soft. Spoon mixture evenly into tart shell, on top of ganache filling. Piping the mixture into the shell using a 4B or 1M Wilton tip will create a pretty finish. Lastly, top tart by sprinkling Red Bird peppermint puffs over tart and enjoy! This dessert is best if chilled prior to serving.