The not-so-secret ingredient adds umami and depth of flavor to chocolate like nothing else.

By Margaret Eby
Updated February 14, 2020
Sarah Crowder

I come from a dessert family. My Dad puts together an apple pie or a tray of scones or a platter of molasses cookies several times a week, and even when a baked good isn’t on offer, every dinner is rounded out with at least a square of good chocolate. But baking desserts hasn’t always been my forte. I’m not good with dishes that I can’t change a little bit midway, and I have, more than once, made a cookie that is somehow both too crumbly and too liquidy. But when I find a dessert I know I can successfully make, repeatedly, I never let go. And that is exactly what this Miso-Chocolate Tart With Black Sesame Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust is. 

This chocolate tart sounds fancy, but it comes together really quickly, and it tastes like an enormous, elevated peanut butter cup. The saltiness of the miso doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate filling; it just anchors it and adds a savory contrast that makes the dessert that much better. If you love adding a sprinkle of flaky salt to sweet things, you should invest in some mild-tasting white (aka shiro) miso and start adding it to your chocolate desserts.

Thanks to a dose of miso, one bite definitely isn't enough.
Sarah Crowder

The recipe is from cookbook author Andrea Slonecker, who very cleverly uses just a tablespoon of miso in the filling. To make the ganache center of the tart, you heat cream in a saucepan, and when it comes to a simmer, put the miso, held in a mesh strainer, into the cream, smashing the miso against the sides of the strainer so that the solids remain trapped but the liquid from the miso dissolves into the cream. You pour the cream over chopped chocolate, stir it, and put it into a pressed chocolate graham cracker crust. Voila: a dessert that’s both impressive and suspiciously easy to accomplish. 

As Slonecker notes, “The addition of miso mixed with melted dark chocolate adds depth and umami, an almost buttery quality, and saltiness to balance the sweetness in the truffle-like ganache.” It goes well with the chocolate graham cracker crust which, please note, you can use Teddy Grahams for in a pinch. 

Miso is often heralded for its versatility in savory recipes, but that salty, umami punch could go well in any number of desserts. I snuck some miso into a batch of brownies and it worked beautifully. You could add a touch to chocolate buttercream, or add a little bit to a grilled chocolate sandwich (yes. why not). Miso is my new not-so-secret ingredient to add that bit of salty, savory contrast to dessert. You could miso-fy your favorite dessert, too, or just make Slonecker’s dessert again and again—no one’s going to complain about it.

Get the Recipe: Miso Chocolate Tart with Black Sesame-Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

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