For days I’ve been dreaming of turning my favorite Christmas candy into a creamy tart. Oh…I love peppermint bark. I finished up the breakfast dishes, put a movie on for the kids, and got to work.

My kids ran back and forth checking on the tart’s progress; sampling a spoonful of pudding or eating a few chunks of white chocolate. Their eyes opened wide as I sprinkled the finished tart with the crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings. They wanted to taste it just as badly as I did. And then their shoulders fell when I told them we still needed to take pictures. The downside of having a food blogger for a mother, I guess. :) But the wait was worth it. Behold…Creamy Peppermint Bark Tart!

Feel free to use a chocolate crumb crust in place of the tart dough. Or, if pies and tarts aren’t your thing, I think it would be fun to serve a layered pudding in parfait glasses or in a big bowl for a dessert buffet table. If peppermint isn’t your thing, leave it out and you’ll still have a fabulous dessert.

I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Peppermint Bark Tart

1 recipe chocolate tart dough (recipe follows)
1 recipe peppermint chocolate pudding (recipe follows)
1 recipe white chocolate whipped cream (recipe follows)
For garnish–crushed candy canes and bittersweet chocolate shavings

Chocolate Tart Dough
adapted from Canelle et Vanille (original here)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (see note below**)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen and diced
1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt to combine. Scatter the cold butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse off and on until the butter is cut into the dry ingredients–there should be some pea-sized pieces of butter, but mostly smaller pieces, resembling coarse cornmeal.

With food processor on low speed, drizzle the cold water through the feed tube. Pulse until the dough starts to just hold together.

Turn out into a piece of plastic wrap and push the dough together into a disk and wrap tightly. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough into a large circle, about 1/8″ thick and fit into a 9-10″ round tart pan with removable bottom. Place in the fridge again to chill, just until firm. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork a few times. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press a piece of buttered foil or parchment paper onto the surface of the crust. Fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the pie weights and return crust to oven to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Remove and let cool completely before assembling tart.

Alternatively, if the dough is cold enough, press directly into a 9 or 10″ round tart pan. (One with a removable bottom is ideal, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can also use a springform pan for this.) Chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Prick the dough with a fork and continue as above for the rolled crust.

**I made a gluten-free crust using : 3/4 cup superfine brown rice flour, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 2 Tbsp. tapioca starch, 2 Tbsp. potato starch (not flour) in place of the all-purpose flour.

Peppermint Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

2 1/4 cups whole milk
7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Bring 2 cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a medium (I used a 3 quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan.

While milk is heating, put the cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, the egg and egg yolks into the food processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.

With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Process for a few seconds, then put everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat–making sure to get into the edges of the pan–until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). You want the pudding to thicken, but you don’t want it to boil, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there’s a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pules a couple of times. Add the chocolate, butter, and peppermint extract and pulse until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin forming. Chill until ready to assemble tart.

White Chocolate Whipped Cream
from Dorie Greenspan

6 ounces premium white chocolate (don’t use vanilla-flavored chocolate chips for this)
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt, stir occasionally. While the chocolate is meting, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil.

Transfer the bowl to a counter, pour in the hot cream and let sit for a minute, then using a small spatula, stir gently until the chocolate is smooth. Let the chocolate sit until it reaches room temperature–the chocolate can’t be the least bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup cream only until it holds the softest peaks. With the mixer on high speed, add the white chocolate all at once and continue to beat just until the whipped cream holds firm peaks.

Turn the cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface to create and airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To assemble tart:

Whisk chocolate pudding until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust. Chill for about 30 minutes and carefully spread the white chocolate whipped cream evenly over the pudding. Sprinkle top with crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit in the fridge to set up for at least an hour, preferably three hours or overnight. Cut into wedges and serve cold.

Makes enough for 8-12 servings, depending on size of slices.