On the ocassion of our college guy gracing us with his presence at the beginning of his spring break, I decided to pull out all the stops for dinner this past Saturday. We started with his all-time favorite, steak with sauce bernaise to which we added a new treat, creamed kale (recipe to follow soon), and to finish off the feast this awesome chocolate tart.
Grid doesn't have a huge sweet tooth, but even he could not resist this tempting confection topped with fresh raspberries and white chocolate curls. The recipe, from Nick Malgieri's terrific cookbook The Modern Baker was a cinch to pull together, though one word of caution is in order. You see, Nick finishes his luxurious ganache by whisking a few tablespoons of very soft butter into the chocolate base once the ganache has cooled to a temperature of 85 ℉. You will want to have a decent thermometer on-hand for this part of the procedure because if the ganache gets much cooler than that before you whisk in the butter, it will likely clump and never fully incorporate. If the chocolate is much warmer, the butter will melt….boo. If the chocolate is within a degree or two of 85℉, and the butter is very soft (the consistency of a thick mayonnaise, or what the French would call pomade), then they will whisk together effortlessly resulting in a glossy, unctuous ganache filling for your tart.
The crust for this tart is tender and delicious, but do yourself a favor and don't even try to roll it out, instead, use this as a "press-in" crust. In his book, Nick suggests you press it in, but as someone who likes the uniformity of a rolled crust, I tried to roll this dough and ended up with a real mess on my hands. Realizing my problem, I quickly switched gears and pressed the wet, sticky dough into the tart pan with beautiful and delicious results.
Use the best bittersweet chocolate you can find for this lovely, as the quality of the chocolate will absolutely determine the quality of the finished tart. We used Callebaut 70% and were thrilled with both the flavor and texture of the resulting ganache.
Make this tart soon, and be the hero of all the chocolate lovers in your life!
Cheers – Steve
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
for the crust:
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 - 10" or 11" tart pan with removable bottom (or 8 - 4 1/2" individual tart pans with removable bottoms)
for the crust:
- Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. beat with the paddle on medium speed until whitened, about 5 minutes. Beating the butter and sugar aerates the mixture, and the air helps the dough bake to a light texture.
- Add the egg yolk and continue beating until it is absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Use a large rubber spatula to incorporate the flour.
- Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and shape the dough into a rough cylinder. Press the dough into the pan, working from the center to the outside, and making sure that the sides end up covered with a uniform thickness of the dough. If it is too thin at the top of the sides, it will burn in the oven. Once the dough has been pressed into an even layer all-around, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
- About 20 minutes before baking, set an oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 350℉. Use a fork to pierce the bottom of the dough at 1 inch intervals to keep it from puffing up when baking.
- Bake the tart shell for 20-25 minutes, until the shell is evenly golden. Check occasionally after it has been baking for 5 minutes. If large bubbles appear on the bottom of the crust, slide out the pan and quickly pierce the bubbles with a fork to flatten them. Cool the cooked shell on a rack completely before filling.
for the filling:
- Combine the cream and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan and whisk well. Place over a medium heat and bring to just a slight simmer. Pour the cream into a bowl and let it cool to 110℉.
- Pour the cooled cream mixture over the melted chocolate and use a small whisk to mix it in, just to combine smoothly, without whisking air into the mixture.
- Let the ganache stand at room temperature until it is cool to the touch, about 85℉.
- Whisk in the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. The butter has to be very soft - the consistency of a stiff mayonnaise - or it will form lumps.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, scrape the ganache into the cooled tart shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate for 1 hours to set the filling.
- After the filling has set, bring the tart to room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving. Just before serving top with chocolate curls and fresh raspberries if you like.