Yield: 10 to 12 servings
I had never made a tart before I developed this recipe; like
many home bakers, I was apprehensive about trying to get the
pastry shell right. In truth, there are a couple of tricks to
it. You can't overhandle or stretch the dough, but the main
thing I discovered was baking the shell blind. The term applies
to a foil-lined dough shell filled with dry beans or rice for
roughly the first half of baking time. This technique prevents
the baking dough from sliding down the sides of the tart mold.
filling of this is very similar to a bittersweet chocolate truffle.
The tart is very rich; serve small slices (preferably after
a light meal). Please use best-quality bittersweet chocolate
for this; as there are so few ingredients in the filling, the
quality of the chocolate really comes through.
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, cut into thin pats
1 egg yolk, from an egg graded "large"
2 Tbsp. cold water, divided
tsp. white vinegar
1 to 1-1/2 pounds dry beans OR rice (any variety)
Optional Chocolate Lining:
1-1/2 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely
ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
to 3 tsp. black raspberry OR orange liqueur
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
For Crust: In food processor fitted with steel blade,
combine flour, sugar, and salt. Process until well-combined.
Add butter pats; "pulse" on-and-off at high speed just until
mixture resembles fine crumbs. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
In small cup, combine egg yolk, 1 Tbsp. water (reserve remainder),
and vinegar. With fork, beat to mix well. All at once, add to
flour mixture. Stir with fork until well-blended (there will
still be a lot of loose crumbs). Gradually, 1 teaspoon at a
time, add just enough of remaining water so that dough barely
holds together when gathered. Do not overhandle the dough.
Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly
in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill at least 1 hour (Dough
can be chilled for up to 2 days at this point. If it is very
cold, it may have to stand at room temperature for up to 30
minutes before it can be rolled out; if too cold when rolled,
dough will crack.).
roll dough, keep board and rolling pin lightly floured (or roll
dough out between two lightly floured sheets of wax paper).
Start from the center of the dough and roll outwards to keep
it as nearly circular as possible. If using a board, turn the
dough occasionally to keep it from sticking. If using wax paper
sheets, peel off top sheet, flour dough lightly if necessary,
then replace top sheet of wax paper; flip dough over (still
between wax paper sheets), then peel off what is now the top
sheet, flour dough lightly if necessary, then replace top sheet
of wax paper. If dough becomes warm, chill again till it is
cold. You want a circle of dough 11-1/2 to 12 inches in diameter.
Assemble a 9-1/2 inch diameter by 1 inch tall tart mold. Drape
the rolled-out dough loosely around the rolling pin, then carefully
transfer it to the tart mold, unrolling the dough across the
mold. Be careful not to stretch the dough when fitting it into
the mold, or it may shrink while baking.
Fit the dough into the tart mold, making sure to fit it closely
where the bottom meets the sides. You will have some extra dough
that hangs over the edges; trim it even with the top edges with
a knife or the rolling pin (to use your rolling pin, start from
the center and roll straight out in one direction, then repeat
at a 180 degree angle--the top edges of the tart mold may be
sharp, so be careful!). Again, be careful not to stretch the
dough in the tart mold during this process. Chill the tart mold
for about 30 minutes.
With a fork, prick the entire bottom of the crust at 1/4 inch
intervals. Tear off a 12 inch square of regular weight aluminum
foil. Fit the foil, shiny side up, into the tart mold on top
of the dough, as close to the dough as you can. Leave about
1 inch of overhang on the foil all around the edges; trim off
any extra. Chill the tart mold again for at least 2 hours (I
chill it overnight at this point; you can chill it for a day
or two, if you wish, but make sure you cover it airtight).
To bake the crust, adjust the oven rack one-third up from the
oven bottom. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Just before
you are ready to bake the crust, remove it from the refrigerator.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and place the tart mold
onto the lined cookie sheet. Fill the foil lining of the tart
mold with dry beans or rice, right to the top of the tart shell.
Place the filled tart mold on the cookie sheet into the preheated
15 minutes. INCREASE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375 DEGREES F.
Bake 5 minutes longer. Remove the cookie sheet with the tart
mold on it to a cooling rack near the oven. Gently and carefully
lift up the foil lining of the tart mold in several places simultaneously,
and remove the foil lining, with the beans in it, to a different
cooling rack. Replace the tart shell, still on the lined cookie
sheet, in the oven.
10 to 15 minutes longer, until the edges of the tart are a golden
brown and the bottom is beginning to color slightly. Watch carefully
and check frequently; if the bottom crust begins to puff up,
prick it with a fork or GENTLY press out the air with a pot
holder. The edges of the tart will begin to pull away from the
edges of the mold toward the end of the baking period, but any
shrinkage from the top edges of the mold should be minimal.
Remove to cooling rack. CAREFULLY loosen tart mold from foil-lined
baking sheet. With pot holders, holding the mold on the outer
edges, transfer it to a cooling rack. Cool the baked shell completely
shell is completely cooled, remove from tart mold. Hold the
side of the mold with one hand; carefully place your other hand
on the bottom of the tart mold. This should cause the bottom,
with the baked tart shell on it, to come up through the sides.
To remove the bottom of the tart mold, gently run a thin-bladed
spatula (preferably plastic) between the tart bottom and the
bottom of the mold. The tart shell should come off easily. Be
careful, though; the baked shell is fragile. Place the shell
on a couple of paper towels or a flat plate as a temporary base.
For optional Chocolate Lining: Place chopped chocolate
in small heatproof cup. Place over simmering water on low heat;
stir often just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and
hot water; dry bottom and sides of cup carefully.
Using a soft pastry brush, gently brush the melted chocolate
all over the inside of the baked tart shell to make a very thin
layer. You may not have to use all of the melted chocolate--OK.
Allow this chocolate lining to sit at cool room temperature
until it is set, or place the tart shell into the refrigerator
briefly so the lining can harden.
For Filling: In medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped
chocolate and salt. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream
just until it simmers, stirring occasionally. Pour about half
of hot cream over chocolate (reserve remainder). Allow chocolate
to stand for a minute or two, then gently stir until smooth.
If necessary, place bowl of chocolate over simmering water on
low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often
just until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot
water. Gradually add remaining cream. Do not beat this filling
or stir it vigorously, or it may lose its delightfully smooth
and creamy consistency. Gradually stir in liqueur. Cool filling
to room temperature, stirring it gently and occasionally. The
filling will thicken slightly as it cools.
Place the tart shell on a flat serving plate. Gently and carefully
pour and scrape the filling into the shell (don't spill any
on the serving plate). If any air bubbles appear, prick them
with the tip of a sharp knife. The filling should be just below
the top of the tart shell. Place the filled tart into the refrigerator
and chill for at least 4 hours. When filling has set (touch
the top gently with a fingertip; if no filling sticks to your
fingertip, it's set), the tart can be wrapped tightly (but carefully!)
in plastic wrap and stored for up to a day or so (when the plastic
wrap is removed, it will have left marks on top of the filling,
but these will be covered by the topping).
For Topping: At least 20 minutes before you plan to make
topping, place a small bowl and beater(s) into the refrigerator
or freezer to chill. Pour cream into chilled bowl; beat at high
speed until traces of beater marks can be seen in the cream.
Add confectioners' sugar. Beat in at low speed. Return speed
to high; beat cream to stiff peaks.
Spread topping over top of tart, right to the tart edges. Garnish
sparingly with bittersweet chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
To cut, use a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. Cut
straight down through the tart, making sure your cut goes through
the bottom crust. To cut this neatly, you'll have to rinse the
knife blade under hot water, then dry it off, before making
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