Makes: 1 (9in/23cm) tart or 8 (4in/10cm) tartlets
We generally save chocolate desserts for the colder months, and we especially like this tart because it’s decadent, without being too sweet. Use the best-quality chocolate you can find, ideally with at least 70 per cent cacao. You can make this recipe with a classic pâte sucrée, though we love adding ground hazelnuts to the dough for added flavour.
- Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
- ½ recipe for pâte sucrée (see below), nut dough variation
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ cups plus 3 tablespoons (405ml) double cream
- 12 oz (340g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
- ¾ cup (100g) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
1Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2On a lightly floured surface, use the pâte sucrée to make the tart shell. Freeze it for 15 to 20 minutes before baking.
3In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Lightly brush the egg wash over the tart shell, blind bake it (see instructions below), then leave to cool.
4To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1½ cups (360ml) of cream over a medium heat until it’s just under the boil. Pour over the chocolate, then gently stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
5Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Top with toasted hazelnuts. Let the tart stand in a cool, dry place (don’t refrigerate) until set, then serve. This tart is best eaten the day it is made.
Makes: enough for 2 (9in/23cm) tarts or 16 (4in/10cm) tartlets
- 3 cups (375g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- ½ teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 cup (2 sticks/225g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¹⁄³ cup (80ml) double cream
1In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter. Using your hands, gently toss to coat the butter in the flour mixture. Scoop the mix in your hands and gently press between your fingertips until it looks grainy, with some small pieces of butter still visible. Work quickly to ensure the butter stays cold.
2 In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and cream. Drizzle over the dough and use a fork to gently toss until incorporated. Continue working the dough, gently squeezing it between your fingertips until it comes together and there is no dry flour visible. Be careful not to overwork the dough. It’s ready as soon as you can squish it in one hand and it stays together.
3Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a disk. Wrap these in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour, or preferably overnight. Pâte sucrée can be wrapped in a double layer of cling film and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to two months.
For a nut dough, replace ½ cup (65g) of the flour with ½ cup (55g) finely chopped toasted skinned hazelnuts or almonds. For a citrus dough, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of finely grated lemon or orange zest to the flour, sugar, and salt mixture.
This is baking a tart crust partially or completely before adding the filling. Chilled tarts, such as the summer berry tart with pastry cream filling, should be fully baked before filling. Baked fruit or savoury tarts need to be partially baked before adding the filling, and then returned to the oven to finish baking.
1Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2To fully blind bake a tart or tartlets, take the chilled, unbaked crust, shaped in a tart pan, and place on a baking sheet. Cut a parchment paper circle slightly larger than the circumference of the tart or tartlets (leaving 1in/2.5cm overhang) and place inside. Fill the lined tart shell with pie weights or dried beans to the top of the pan.
3Cook the tart crust for 15 to 20 minutes (eight to 10 minutes for tartlets), or until the edges are set and beginning to turn golden. Remove the parchment and beans or pie weights.
4In a small bowl, prepare an egg wash (1 large egg yolk whisked with 3 tablespoons of double cream). Lightly brush the egg wash onto the bottom of the tart shell. For a sweet tart or tartlets, sprinkle with a little sugar.
5Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more (10 minutes for tartlets), until the bottom of the tart shell is completely cooked and golden. Set it on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
6If making a tart or tartlets that require partial blind baking, follow the directions above. After you’ve added the egg wash, return the tart or tartlet shells to the oven and bake just until the egg wash is set – about five minutes total for tarts (two to three minutes for tartlets) – before adding the filling and returning to the oven.
IMAGE © ANSON SMART
First printed in our sister publication France Today
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