Chocolate Tart: proof that hard work pays off

americastestkitchen.com

Warning, this is a rather involved recipe with many details steps. I adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen where all they do is try recipes over and over and over until they get the perfect results. This chocolate tart took me 2 days to complete, but that was mostly due to by busy weekend schedule. I make the dough late Saturday night and finished the rest of the tart the next day. With all that said, don’t worry. You don’t need to be a master chef to get this recipe. It does not require any fancy sills or magic. It is just a bit time consuming. There is a lot of putting the dough in the fridge then taking it out, then putting it back in again. America’s Test Kitchen’s goal for this recipe was to make the “perfect” chocolate tart with a smooth, shiny, air bubble free finish. They did everything form finding a new way to melt chocolate (no more double boilers) to straining eggs through a fine-mesh strainer. No joke. Although my mom and I had quite a lot of fun laughing over the meticulous steps. Now that I have sufficiently dissuaded you from even attempting this tart, let’s begin.

Ok, let’s start simple – the dough. In a food processor combine the almonds and sugar and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. I didn’t have any almond lying around, so I switched them out for almond meal instead. There really is no difference because pulsing the almond basically makes almond meal. If you have a choice though, go with the whole almonds; they are fresher and will increase the flavor of the tart. Add the flower and salt and pulse to combine the ingredients.

Cut the butter into small squares and scatter it around the flower mixture. Pulse several times until the butter combines with the flower and becomes slightly crumbly. Make sure not to over pulse the mixture.

Whisk the egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl. Then, while the food processor is still on, pour the mixture into the flower. Keep the food processor running until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Make sure not to over mix this as well. As soon as the dough starts to form, turn of the food processor.

Take the dough out and form it into a ball using your hands. Wrap the dough in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until it hardens but is still soft enough to work with. See, that wasn’t too hard. We just made the dough for the crust. We are almost half way there. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to three days. When you are ready, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until it becomes malleable.

Roll the dough out to form a circle that is slightly larger that your tart pan. It should be about 11 inches in diameter and 3/8 of an inch thick. I wonder who coms up with these measurements. I mean, does the chef actually use a ruler to measure the thickness of the dough?  Long story short, just roll your dough out pretty thin but not so thin that it begins to tear. Put your rolled out dough back in the fridge for 15 minutes and enjoy a cup of tea while you wait. (The tea is optional but advised)

After the tea break, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the dough from the fridge and place the tart pan upside down onto the dough. Use the tart pan as a giant cookie cutter and press down to cut out the dough. *See recipe below for detailed instructions on how to form the dough into the tart pan*

Put the tart pan into the freezer for another 20 to thirty minutes (again, I know).

Take the tart pan out of the refrigerator (again).  Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and lightly cover the tart pan with foil, sprayed side down. Make sure to cover the edges of the crust with the foil so that it doesn’t burn. Spread about two cups of pie weights on top of the foil. I didn’t have any pie weights so I used a combination or dried chickpeas and split peas. The idea is to weigh down the dough so that it wont shrink.

Bake the crust foe 25 minutes or until it is dry and light golden brown. Be sure to rotate the tart halfway through.  Remove the pie weights and foil and bake the crust for another 3 to five minutes. In the original recipe, we were supposed to keep the tart in the oven for another ten minutes, but, after only 6 minutes, my crust was beginning to burn. Let the crust cool completely.

While the crust is cooling, we will begin the filling. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Chop up the chocolate. Try break up the chocolate into small pieces so that it will be easy to melt later on.

In a saucepan, bring the cream, expresso powder and salt to a simmer. Stir the mixture gently until combined.

Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and cover with a lid. Let the chocolate sit like this for about 5 minutes. This is an ingenious way to melt the chocolate because you don’t need to use a double boiler or worry about tempering the chocolate.

Lift the lid and carefully stir the mixture until it becomes a smooth uniform chocolate goodness. It’s important to whisk the mixture gently because we don’t want to incorporate any air which will manifest itself as pesky air bubbles in our otherwise flawless tart. Add the thinly sliced butter and mix until most of it has melted. Now for the fun part. Whisk the eggs and pour then into the chocolate mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Yup, you heard me right. We don’t want any lumpy things getting into our filling. Stir to combine the eggs.

Pour your filling into the crust and tilt side to side to distribute the filling evenly. If you happen to see any air bubbles, just pop them with a toothpick. Bake the tart on a baking sheet for 30 to 35 minutes until the outer edges of the filling have set. The center should still be wobbly. Let cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate (again) for three hours.

Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer and stir to combine. Then remove from heat. Finley chop the chocolate and add it to cream mixture and cover with a lid.

Let the mixture sit for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the chocolate to combine using a whisk. Add the rum or cognac and stir to combine until the mixture looks smooth and shiny. Make sure that the rum or cognac is very warm. Mine was not and the resulting glaze came out a little lumpy in the end. When making the gaze, everything should be about the same temperature.

Pour the glaze over the tart and tilt to coat evenly. Let the tart stand for at least an hour before cutting.

And finally, after god knows how long, and so many trips to and from the fridge, we have our chocolate tart. Garnish with chocolate shavings, mint and raspberries and succumb to the magic that is creamy smooth chocolate. I became emotionally attached to my tart and would not let anyone cut it until my family’s eagerness to try the tart overcame my desire to keep the perfect tart untouched. It was worth is though, because the tart tastes amazing. And I must say, after all that work, I deserved it.

Chocolate Tart

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces)all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoonsunsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ouncesbittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 4 tablespoonsunsalted butter, cut into thin slices and softened
  • 2large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 ouncesbittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons rum or cognac

Instructions:

  1. FOR THE CRUST:Beat egg yolk and cream together in small bowl. Process almonds and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely ground, 15 to 20 seconds. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine, about 10 pulses. Scatter butter over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. With processor running, add egg yolk mixture and process until dough forms ball, about 10 seconds. Transfer dough to large sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk; wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm but malleable, about 30 minutes. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, let stand at room temperature until malleable but still cool.)
  2. Roll out dough between 2 large sheets of plastic into 11-inch round about 3/8 inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft and sticky to work with, slip it onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable.) Place dough round (still in plastic) on baking sheet and refrigerate until firm but pliable, about 15 minutes.
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with vegetable oil spray. Keeping dough on sheet, remove top layer of plastic. Invert tart pan (with bottom) on top of dough round. Press on tart pan to cut dough. Using 2 hands, pick up sheet and tart pan and carefully invert both, setting tart pan right side up. Remove sheet and peel off plastic; reserve plastic. Roll over edges of tart pan with rolling pin to cut dough. Gently ease and press dough into bottom of pan, reserving scraps. Roll dough scraps into ¾-inch-diameter rope (various lengths are OK). Line edge of tart pan with rope(s) and gently press into fluted sides. Line tart pan with reserved plastic and, using measuring cup, gently press and smooth dough to even thickness (sides should be about ¼ inch thick). Using paring knife, trim any excess dough above rim of tart; discard scraps. Freeze dough-lined pan until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Set dough-lined pan on baking sheet. Spray 12-inch square of aluminum foil with oil spray and press foil, sprayed side down, into pan; fill with 2 cups pie weights. Bake until dough is dry and light golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Carefully remove foil and weights and continue to bake until pastry is rich golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Let cool completely on sheet on wire rack.
  5. FOR THE FILLING:Heat oven to 250 degrees. Bring cream, espresso powder, and salt to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring once or twice to dissolve espresso powder and salt. Meanwhile, place chocolate in large heatproof bowl. Pour simmering cream mixture over chocolate, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes to allow chocolate to soften. Using whisk, stir mixture slowly and gently (so as not to incorporate air) until homogeneous. Add butter and continue to whisk gently until fully incorporated. Pour eggs through fine-mesh strainer into chocolate mixture; whisk slowly until mixture is homogeneous and glossy. Pour filling into tart crust and shake gently from side to side to distribute and smooth surface; pop any large bubbles with toothpick or skewer. Bake tart, on baking sheet, until outer edge of filling is just set and very faint cracks appear on surface, 30 to 35 minutes; filling will still be very wobbly. Let cool completely on sheet on wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, until filling is chilled and set, at least 3 hours or up to 18 hours.
  6. 6. FOR THE GLAZE: Thirty minutes before glazing, remove tart from refrigerator. Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; stir once or twice to combine. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate, and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow chocolate to soften. Whisk gently (so as not to incorporate air) until mixture is smooth, then whisk in hot rum or cognac until glaze is homogeneous, shiny, and pourable. Working quickly, pour glaze onto center of tart. To distribute glaze, tilt tart and allow glaze to run to edge. (Spreading glaze with spatula will leave marks on surface.) Pop any large bubbles with toothpick or skewer. Let stand for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
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2 thoughts on “Chocolate Tart: proof that hard work pays off

  1. Pingback: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes | Chef v. Pin

  2. Pingback: Pecan Tart | Chef v. Pin

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