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Christmas desserts for the groaning board

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Did you know that buffets were once referred to as “groaning boards?” This playful terminology has its roots in Old English, referring to a table overflowing with foods, causing the boards to creak and groan. Enough history, let’s talk sweet somethings.

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Having a sugary finish to a very savory meal is pure bliss. In the spirit of decadence, opt for more than one dessert. Choose a couple of easy to prepare items – iced sugar cookies, peanut brittle or cinnamon flavored candy canes. Add to those elements a rustic dessert such as Apple-Cranberry Galette, which is simply a free-form pie with a single layer of fruit. Not to be left out would be deep, dark chocolate of some sort.

The chocolate gracing our board is a dense tart of bittersweet chocolate laced ginger and black pepper for a slight peppery finish. Thin slivers with just a dollop of freshly whipped cream, satisfies even the most impassioned sweet-tooth.

Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit

Crust:
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies), coarsely broken
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

Filling:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

For Crust
Preheat oven to 325°F. Finely grind gingersnap cookies in processor (yielding 1 1/2 to 1 2/3 cups). Add melted butter and salt; process until moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet.

For Filling:
Combine finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and heavy whipping cream in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk egg yolks, egg, sugar, flour, ground black pepper, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Very gradually whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until smooth and blended. Pour chocolate filling into crust.

Bake chocolate tart until filling puffs slightly at edges and center is softly set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to rack. Sprinkle chopped crystallized ginger over top. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes. Gently remove tart pan sides and cool tart completely.

Do Ahead: Chocolate tart can be made 1 day ahead. Cover tart and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cut tart into thin wedges and serve.

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