Espresso Sambuce Crème Brûlée Tarts

Yield: 8 tarts.  


  • Chocolate Shortbread Crust
    • 2 eggs
    • 2/3 cup icing sugar     
    • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
    • ½ cup cocoa powder
    • pinch salt
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Espresso Sambuca Crème Brûlée Filling
    • 2 cups whipping cream 35% cream
    • 6 tbsp. sugar
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 3 tbsp. brewed espresso
    • 1 tbsp. sambuca
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • ½ tsp. vanilla
    • ¼ cup sugar, for caramelizing top of tarts
    • 1 pint berries, for garnish
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
    • 8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 ½ cup whipping cream 
    • 1 tbsp. raspberry liqueur
    • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  1. Chocolate Shortbread Crust
    1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and icing sugar and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Add egg mixture and combine until dough just comes together. Don’t overwork. Shape dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready eight 4-inch tart shells.
    4. On a flour surface, roll dough into a round about 1/8-inch thick. Cut circles with cookie cutters or top of glass 1-inch thick larger than the tart moulds. Line the moulds, pressing pastry evenly and firmly. Poke with a fork and freeze about 10 minutes. Place moulds on a baking sheet and bake on bottom rack of oven for 15 minutes, or until firm and crisp. Let cool. Refrigerate or freeze any extra dough.
  2. Espresso Sambuca Crème Brûlée Filling
    1. Bring water in a saucepan or the bottom of a double boiler to a gentle simmer. Bring cream and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan, stirring until sugar is melted. In a medium stainless steel bowl or top of a double boiler, whisk together the yolks and espresso. While whisking, pour hot cream into yolk mixture and whisk to blend. Place the cream mixture over simmering water and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and heavily coats the back of the spoon, 20 to 25 minutes.
    2. Strain filling through a sieve. Stir in butter, sambuca and vanilla. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
    3. Just before serving, fill tart shells with filling. Sprinkle each shell with sugar to cover surface. Caramelize the sugar with blow torch.
    4. Serve with white chocolate sauce and berries. Makes 8 tarts.
  3. White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
    1. Heat whipping cream over medium heat just until bubbles gently simmer. Add cream to chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute. Whisk to combine. Stir in raspberry liqueur and vanilla.