Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Tart

A few weeks ago, I hosted a little impromptu dinner party with a friend. The inspiration was Julia Child – one of our shared idols – and so something French was in order. The plan was a quiet evening, making a very “French Chef” dinner, followed by a viewing of Julie/Julia. We settled on coq au vin – a true classic, and perfect for winter entertaining. I searched around for something decadent yet simple for dessert, and found the following recipe. It comes from Alice Waters, and was really a breeze to make. I was a bit suspicious of the Pâte Sucrée at first; it mixed up like a cookie dough – creaming the butter and sugar together, then adding wet and dry ingredients. And it was very sticky.

But I went with it, and in the end was rewarded with a short, buttery crust – the perfect foil for a rich, creamy ganache filling. (Make sure to splurge on a good chocolate here). The tart takes a bit of time to set up, so make it before your guests arrive, and they can oooh and ahhh over it while you’re making dinner. And it’s perfect for times when dinner for two turns into dinner for seven, because just a little slice is enough!

We ended up serving it with whipped cream (with a hint of rum mixed in) and it was the perfect end (or beginning) to a night of good times with good friends.

Sweet Tart Dough

from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1 ¼ cups all purpose unbleached flour

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk, and mix until combined. Finally, add in the flour, mixing well, stirring and folding until there are no dry patches. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight until firm. (Note: I chilled the dough for about 1 hour, and it rolled out nicely).

Chocolate Tart

from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

1 disk of Sweet Tart Dough

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Lightly prick the dough with a fork. Line a 9-inch tart pan with the dough, lightly pressing the dough into the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove any excess dough. Patch any cracks with excess dough. Let the tart rest for at least 10 minutes in the freezer. Prebake the tart shell for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Check the pastry halfway through the cooking, and pat down any bubbles that may have formed. Let cool and unmold.

For the ganache, put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling, pour over the chocolate, and let sit for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is melted, and the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Pour into the tart shell while the ganache is still quite warm and liquid, gently tapping and jiggling the shell to even out the filling. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour to set.

(Note: use any leftover dough to make little jam thumbprint cookies. They bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, and make a nice little snack!)


~ e

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Wow, this looks delish! I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe!

I just started a food blog two weeks ago and find your site an inspiration for refining my own!

Looking forward to your next post!