A rich white chocolate filling sits inside a sweet pie pastry under a dome of whipped cream and shaved bittersweet chocolate, an enormous project that should be undertaken by skilled cooks. The mousse is based on a meringue made
from sugar syrup and egg whites.
Sweet pie pastry
1 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, left out to soften slightly
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sift the flour and salt onto a board. With the back of your hand make a large well in the flour.
Into the well place the confectioners sugar, butter, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Work just these ingredients in the well until they form a homogenous mixture, then gradually work in the flour from the edges until it is completely incorporated. Use a plastic or metal pastry scraper to pick all the dough up off the board.
Using the heel of your hand, press the dough hard against the table to knead it forcefully, continuing this motion and picking up the dough with the pastry scraper each time.
Gently shape the dough into a neat flat cake on a floured board and wrap it in foil. Refrigerate it for 20 minutes or until it is firm enough to roll.
Set the oven at 375 degrees.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board and carefully line it into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable base. Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
Line the dough with a piece of foil, then fill it with dried beans used only for baking.
Transfer the tart to the heated oven and bake it for 10 minutes or until the sides are set and beginning to turn lightly brown. Lift out the foil and the beans and return the tart to the oven.
Continue baking the pastry for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is well cooked but only golden around the edges.
Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and leave it to cool completely.
5 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
2 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream
Melt the chocolate on a plate set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. When the chocolate has melted, remove the plate from the heat, wipe the bottom, and set it aside in a warm place so it cools slightly but remains liquid.
In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and set them over low heat until the sugar melts.
Meanwhile, have the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer ready to be turned on.
Have a small bowl of ice water near the stove.
Bring the sugar-and-water syrup to a boil, then let it bubble steadily until it reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer (which should not touch the bottom of the pan) or until it has reached the right consistency, which you can test with this method: Dip your thumb and forefinger into the ice bath, dry them quickly, and pinch off a drop of syrup from the end of a wooden spoon dipped into the pan. The mixture between your fingers should form a little thread when the fingers are separated slightly.
Working quickly, remove the saucepan from the heat, turn the mixer on to its medium setting, and beat the egg whites just until they form soft peaks. Turn the mixer up to high, and pour the hot sugar syrup onto the beaters. Continue beating until you can press your palms against the outside of the bowl and feel that the mixture has cooled.
(The sugar syrup tends to make a mess when you pour the hot syrup into the whites.)
Beat in the melted chocolate.
Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Remove the mixing bowl from its stand and fold the heavy cream into the chocolate mixture as lightly but thoroughly as possible.
Spread the mixture in the cooled shell and refrigerate the tart.
3/4 cup heavy cream, stiffly whipped
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate,
Just before serving, spread the stiffly whipped cream onto the tart and sprinkle the top with the grated chocolate. Cut the tart into wedges for serving.