Are you drooling yet? I know I am. It's only been a couple of days since I made this amazing chocolate confection which my extended family quickly consumed after our traditional post-Thanksgiving Friday pizza party and already I'm craving another bite! It's incredibly rich, dark and decadent yet not overly sweet and surprisingly easy to make for such a visually arresting treat. If you're looking for one wonderful dessert to make for the holidays, your search is over!
But before I get to the recipe, a little digression. You've braved the crowds on Black Friday, worn your fingers to the bone on Cyber Monday and now it's time to experience the joy of helping others on Giving Tuesday. With this in mind, might I suggest a charitable contribution to Students for Senegal, a charity with which all three of my children are passionately involved. The mission of this entirely student-run organization is to build a learning center in Lambaye, Senegal and give the gift of education that we here in America enjoy to the children of Senegal. The project is ready to go--it's been an incredible journey with all of the architectural plans provided pro-bono by the prestigious NYC architecture firm, BKSK and all that's needed now are the funds to turn a dream into a reality.
Now back to this luscious tart which looks fancy and complicated but in reality is a pretty easy dessert and it can made in a couple of stages. You start by preparing the cocoa crust, which can be made up to three days ahead of time and left to hang out in the fridge or you can make it on the same day you make the filling and let it chill for half an hour before rolling it out and pressing it into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Either way, it's not a lot of work and the results are pretty fantastic!
You then give the dough another 30 minutes in the freezer before baking which leaves you with plenty of time to chop up your chocolate, toss in a laundry, pay some bills, whatever...
Once the crust has baked and cooled, you make the chocolate filling, which couldn't be easier. All you do is combine chopped bittersweet chocolate, sugar and salt with hot heavy cream and whisk it together.
Then you simply pour into the crust and chill.
When you're ready to serve the tart, you top it with chopped pistachios and a couple of pinches of coarse-grained sea salt.
The filling is pure, deep, dark, unadulterated, satiny chocolate with the crunch of pistachios and salt and the crust adds a flaky and subtly chocolate flavor. So, so good! A true showstopper!! People will swoon!! Guaranteed!
This divine creation is straight from the pages of Wintersweet, so if you haven't yet entered the giveaway, click here or go to yesterday's post and see how you can win a copy! Good luck and happy baking!
Salted Dark Chocolate Tart with Cocoa Crust and Pistachios (and Giving Tuesday too)
Makes one 10-inch tart--you need a pan with a removable bottom
Prep Time: 10 minutes to make Crust (about 1 hour chilling time, total); Baking Time for Crust: about 30 minutes; To make the Filling: About 10 minutes; Filled tart has to chill for at least 6 hours or better yet, overnight,
For the Crust
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 cup) cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon milk ( I used whole)
- 2-3 drops vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 1 1/3 cups (230 grams) chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
- 1-2 pinches coarse-grained sea salt
1. To make the crust: Place the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and cream together until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour. Mix on low speed until the mixture looks like clumpy sand. Scrape down the bowl again and add the milk and vanilla. Mix on low until the mixture begins to come together. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the mixture out onto it. Knead the dough a few times, press it into a flattened disk and wrap it up. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
2. If you've refrigerated the dough for a few days, you may need to let it sit out for a while to soften up before rolling it out. Otherwise, lightly flour a board or your counter and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and about a 1/4 inch thick. While rolling, gently turn the dough and re-flour the board if necessary if the dough is beginning to stick. Then fold the dough around the rolling pin and center it into a 10-inch tart pan. Carefully press the dough into the corners and sides of the pan without stretching it and either clip off the overhang or roll it over to form a more raised edge. Use your fingers to press the dough down into the sides of the pan to help keep it from shrinking too much. Then freeze the dough in the pan for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Remove the pan from the freezer and line the inside of it with aluminum foil. Fill the center with enough dried beans or pie weights so that they go all the way to the sides to prevent shrinking. Then bake the crust for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and cook the tart shell for another 10-15 minutes until the bottom of the crust is cooked through and dry. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
4. To make the filling: Place the chopped chocolate, sugar and salt into a medium bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter is fully melted and little bubbles form around the edges, but don't let the mixture boil. Pour it over the chocolate mixture in the bowl and let it sit for 1 minute. Then use a whisk to gently mix it all together, trying not to create air bubbles. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place it into the refrigerator. When it seems that the filling has set, gently cover it with aluminum foil, trying not to press down onto the surface of the tart, as that will spoil the glossiness of the finished tart. Let tart chill for at least 6 hours or better yet, overnight.
5. Right before serving, sprinkle the tart all over with the chopped pistachios and salt. Cut into wedges and serve.
6. Tart can be made one day ahead and left covered in the refrigerator. If there are any leftovers, store them well-wrapped or in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Wintersweet by Tammy Donroe Inman. The only thing I changed about this recipe was to leave out the optional tablespoon of Chambord or creme de cassis. If you like you can add it in with the chopped chocolate at the beginning of Step 4.