Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cake of the Week: Double Chocolate Tart

Who’s ready for something sinfully chocolatey?

Just kidding! There's nothing devilish about this tart. Nope. This is pure heaven! (Can you hear the angels?) Basically, this chocolate tart intense…in the absolute best way possible!

I finally put my Hill’s Kitchen gift card to good use and invested in a tart pan. I’ve been eyeing tart recipes for a while (i.e. this one and this one and this one), and now I can finally jump on the tart bandwagon and get baking! I wasn’t sure if I should buy a 9-inch or an 11-inch…I went with the 11-inch, just because bigger = better, right? But further research tells me that most recipes are for 9-inch pans…so if you’re going out to buy your first tart pan, maybe resist your gluttonous urges and go for the smaller one.

I decided to make a chocolate crust with chocolate filling (life philosophy #1: Go big or go home).  I wasn’t a huge fan of the crust though…it came out kinda dry. I made it, froze it (according to the recipe), then baked it pre-filling. I think that if I made it in the correct-sized pan it would look a little better, less rough around the edges. It cracked quite a bit, but I wasn’t too worried, considering that those cracks were soon to be filled with chocolately goodness. 

And goodness it was! I did a mixture of dark chocolate kisses, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I’m sure this recipe would be better with “good quality” dark chocolate (I’m channeling Ina Garten right now), but I had what I had…and I don’t think the “poor quality” chocolate really hurt this tart too much.

The filling is super-duper-simple. It would be really hard to screw this one up! And the resulting tart is so elegant – perfect to bring to a dinner party and impress your friends! (At least that’s what I like to think I did…)

For the filling, I went for almond extract rather than hazelnut – just because hazelnut extract is way too much to ask of my Soviet Safeway (get it? Because it’s like the Soviet Union…empty shelves and you never know if they’ll have what you want!). In the future, I would add more extract – maybe 2 tablespoons to really bring out the almond flavor.
Now my only problem is that I have a lot of extra whipping cream…what to do? What to do? Anyone have any suggestions?

Chocolate Shortbread Crust 

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt
9 Tbsp very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. 

Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. (You know I don't have a food processor. I tried doing this in my blender, but that was an epic fail. Fingers are the way to go - just crumble everything together like you're trying to pinch your tart dough to death.)

Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Press the dough into the buttered pan. Press evenly over the bottom and up the sides, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed — press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but no so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.

Freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius, Gas Mark 5).

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) (I didn't do the tin foil thing, maybe that would have helped with the cracks, but my crust didn't puff up at all.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.

I skipped this part: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm. Keep a close eye on the crust's progress — it can get too dark in a flash. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To patch a fully baked crust, if necessary:
If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gendly smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Chocolate Filling (from The Purple Foodie)

  • 8 oz (225g) dark chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract (I used almond extract)
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth, then remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, and hazelnut extract in a bowl. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until combined.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake until the filling 1 inch from edges is set and slightly puffed but center wobbles when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. (The center will continue to set as it cools.) When it came out of the oven, it was very puffed up, but then kind of collapsed.

Dust with cocoa powder when cool. Eat! 
I didn't bother dusting with cocoa powder...I mean, you can tell it's chocolate, right??? Oh. My. Goodness. Somebody hold my hand.