Chef/Owner James Laird, Restaurant Serenäde, Chatham, New Jersey


Pecan-Crusted Warm Chocolate Tart with Secret Center

Yield: 4 servings

Chocolate Pecan Dough:

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup ground pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

1. Cream butter and sugar well. Mix in eggs one at a time.
2. Add in flour and cocoa powder until just mixed.
3. Mix in pecans.
4. Chill well.
5. Divide into four equal portions and roll into quarter inch thick discs.
6. Press into individual tart shells and bake for five minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.

Chocolate Filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 7 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

1. Melt chocolate and butter over bain-marie (water bath)
2. Whisk together eggs and sugar.
3. Stir egg mixture into chocolate mixture.
4. Chill.
5. Place one secret center square in center of shell and fill with chilled filling. Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes.
6. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Secret Center:

  • 3 ounces praline paste
  • 3 ounces feulletine
  • 3 ounces white chocolate

1. Melt chocolate over double boiler.
2. Add praline paste and mix to combine.
3. Add feuilletine and mix to combine.
4. Spread mixture one inch thick on plate or in small dish.
5. Chill and cut into one inch square pieces.

Wine pairing: Pedro Ximenez, "San Emilio" Emilio Lustau (sweet sherry)