17 December 2007

Bitter Chocolate Tart

This could be served atop a simple creme anglaise, or a white chocolate sauce, but would go magnificently with a raspberry coulis or raspberry sauce. A simple piping of freshly whipped cream on top with a few fresh raspberries, maybe some white chocolate shavings and then topped with a brandy snap or tuile cookie and you'll have a most elegant dessert that was really quite simple to execute.

Since I have mentioned the creme anglais, white chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, raspberry sauce, brandy snap, and tuile, I guess I know what I'll be posting tomorrow.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces, chilled
¼ cup sweet dessert wine

1 ½ cups heavy cream
10 ½ ounces extra bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (if you cannot find the extra bittersweet or do not like the extra bittersweet, regular bittersweet will work)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse two or three times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running, pour in the wine and process until the dough comes together. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and gently press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate 30 minutes. (See notes at end).

2. Butter a 10" fluted tart pan. Roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to a 12" circle about ¼" thick.

3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line the tart pan with the dough. Refrigerate until chilled and then trim the excess. (See notes at end).

4. Prick the shell and bake the tart shell for 12 minutes or just until set. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. (See notes at end).

5. To make the filling, in a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir to melt. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool for 20 minutes.

6. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolk together. Whisk the cocoa and eggs into the chocolate mixture, then whisk in the crushed anise seeds and anisette. Pour the filling into the tart shell, bake for 15 minutes or just until the filling forms a shiny skin, and is slightly firm, but still loose at the center.

7. Cool the tart for 15 minutes on a rack, then remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.

8. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, beat the powdered sugar with the milk and vanilla to a thin, pourable consistency; add a few more drops of milk if needed. Drizzle over the cooled tart with the glaze. Allow the glaze to harden before service.

The reason you wrap the pastry dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes is to get the butter chilled once again, but to also allow the glutens to relax. Flour contains gluten and the more it is worked, the bigger these strands get. This results in a tough product, whether bread dough, tart dough, or pie dough. Allowing the butter to chill helps you to achieve a flaky crust. As the liquid in the butter turns to steam and evaporates, the dough surrounding that particular piece of butter puffs a bit, giving you the desired flaky texture.

The reason you line your pan with the dough, allow to chill, and then trim is that as the glutens relax, they shrink. If you trim your crust to fit the pan and then chill or immediately bake, it will shrink, resulting in a crust that does not reach the rim of your pan or wherever you had initially wanted the crust to reach.

Pricking the shell is called docking. This allows the steam to escape from the tart shell while keeping the tart shell from puffing too much, as it should be flush with the pan.

Per Serving (8 servings):
669 Calories
52g Fat (66.0% calories from fat)
9g Protein
51g Carbohydrate
7g Dietary Fiber
170mg Cholesterol
175mg Sodium

2 Grain(Starch)
1/2 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
10 Fat
1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

(Substituting the heavy cream for light whipping cream will save you about 20 calories and 2 grams of fat. Leaving off the glaze will save you approximately 100 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. To save on calories, this is the way I would go. A rich dessert such as this, deserves the richness of the heavy cream)

No comments: