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Chocolate and Chili Pine Nut Tart

Chocolate and Chili Pine Nut Tart

Renée Robinson

A Celebration Worthy Chocolate Ganache Tart That’s Infused with Chipotle Chili and Topped with Roasted Rosemary Pine Nuts.

It’s that time of year. Time to break out some special desserts and dress them up for the season. While it tastes decadent, there’s hardly an easier dessert than a tart shell filled with silky chocolate ganache. Nothing wrong with that at all. But I wanted more.

Starting with the ganache, I added a little chipotle chili powder to the cream – enough to keep it interesting, but subtle. Plenty of vanilla rounded out the flavor nicely. 

As far as the pastry goes, there are many that would work here. I used my own all butter pie dough, but David Lebovitz’s French Tart Crust is a very easy press in crust and it would be excellent in this tart. A short crust would also be splendid. Use your favorite.

After filling the shell with the chili infused ganache, I topped it with a full cup of pine nuts I had roasted in a little olive oil, salt and finely minced rosemary. Wanting more rosemary flavor, I rubbed some additional minced rosemary with a little salt, sprinkled it over the tart and that did the trick. By rubbing the salt into the leaves, they released all their fragrant oils and added the perfect amount of rosemary flavor to the overall tart.

Roasted Rosemary Pine Nuts

Now for the ‘dressing up’ fun part. I originally thought some sugared rosemary sprigs would be pretty for garnishing the tart, but then I ran into a recipe for candied strips of fresh chilies that are then rolled up onto a wooden skewer and put in a very low oven to dry out and crisp up. I thought they’d be fun partnered with the rosemary. You could use several chilies, but I only needed one. After simmering the chili strips in simple syrup, you are instructed to wrap them around wooden skewers. I found it was necessary to oil the skewers first or the chilies would have stuck to them. I also thought it was unwieldy to use long skewers because as soon as you finished one strip and started winding the next, the first strip would start to unwind. So, after the first one, I broke my skewers into pieces and used one per chili strip. 

Twirled Candied Chili Strips

I put them in my counter top oven for the recommended hour at 190° and they were still very soft. It ended up taking close to 2 hours for them to fully dry out. They were then easily removed from the skewers and left to cool. They’re not only pretty and festive, but also really delicious.


Slice Of Chocolate and Chili Pine Nut Tart

Now my tart was all dressed up and ready for the holidays. By the way, a little whipped cream served on the side is not a bad idea either. 

Chocolate and Chili Pine Nut Tart

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Silky chili infused chocolate ganache fills this all butter crust. It's then topped with roasted salted pine nuts and rosemary. Then candied chilies are added to the top, along with sugared rosemary. All dressed up for the holidays!

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  • 1/2 recipe my All Butter Pie Dough or David Lebovitz’s French Tart Crust

  • 1 cup (138g )pine nuts

  • 1/2 tablespoon light olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced fresh rosemary, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

  • 15 ounces (424g) bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), broken into pieces

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, use the lesser amount for a fainter chili flavor

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Candied Chili Swirls Garnish
  • 1 large Fresno chil

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Sugared Rosemary Sprigs
  • 3/4 cup (150) granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream


  • Preheat oven to 350° with a rack in the center.
  • Stir together the pine nuts, olive oil, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for a total of 8-12 minutes, stirring at the 4 minute mark, and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, stirring again if need be. The amount of time is going to depend on how spread out the pine nuts are. Mine were packed closely together and took almost 12 minutes.
  • If making David Lebovitz’s French Tart Dough , follow the directions now. If making my All Butter Pie Crust, increase the oven temperature to 375°. Roll out the pastry and place into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Line with foil and fill the pan with pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and put back in the oven for 10-15 more minutes until nicely browned. Remove to a rack and let cool completely.
  • Once the tart shell has completely cooled, make the ganache. Place the chocolate into a medium sized bowl. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and add the chipotle chili powder. Cook over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the vanilla and stir until it’s fully combined. Pour into the cooled tart shell.
  • Sprinkle the pine nuts evenly over the top of the ganache. Barely press the pine nuts into the ganache, applying gentle pressure only. You don’t want them to fully sink all the way into the ganache. Put the remaining 1/2 teaspoon finely minced rosemary in a small bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and rub together with your fingers in order to release the fragrant oil in the rosemary. Sprinkle this over the top of the tart. Let sit for 2 hours in order to firm up, or you can chill the tart for a firmer texture. I tried it both ways and think I’ve decided the chilled version is my favorite. Garnish with sugared rosemary sprigs and candied chili swirls. Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!
  • Candied Chili Swirls Garnish
  • Preheat the oven to 190° with a rack in the center.
  • Slice the chili in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice the chili into thin strips. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it comes to a simmer, add the strips of chili, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the chilies from the syrup. Break bamboo skewers into 3-4 inch long pieces and spray with oil. Wrap each strip of chili around the skewers and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for 2 hours or until the chilies are dried out and crisp. Let cool.
  • Sugared Rosemary Sprigs
  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Dip the rosemary sprigs into the syrup and place them on a wire rack to let the excess sugar drip off. Let sit for about 30-45 minutes, until the syrup has become tacky. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a flat dish. Lay each sprig in the sugar and using a spoon, cover the sprig in the sugar. Place the sprigs on a sheet pan and let dry for 30-45 minutes.


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