Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

Nothing could be simpler—or better—than this tart. The flavor of the filling is of course entirely dependent on the quality of the chocolate you use, so hang the budget and get the best available—you only need a single pound. We’re fortunate that chocolate now comes labeled with its cocoa content—the actual percentage of ground up roasted cocoa beans in the mixture. For this tart, I would choose any chocolate in the 65 to 70 percent range. More than that might be just a little too bitter.

Makes one 10- to 11-inch tart, about 10 servings

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, melted and cooled

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

One tart crust made from Sweet Tart Dough, below, baked and cooled

1 tablespoon chocolate shavings for finishing

Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

  1. Combine the cream and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and whisk well to mix. Place over medium heat and bring just to a slight simmer—about 140˚F. Pour the cream into a bowl and cool it to 110˚F—you’ll be able to insert a fingertip in the cream and leave it there without any burning sensation.
  2. Pour the cooled cream mixture over the chocolate and use a small whisk to mix it in, just to combine smoothly, without whisking air into the mixture.
  3. Let the ganache stand at room temperature until it is cool to the tough, about 85˚F.
  4. Whisk in the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time. The butter has to be really soft –the consistency of stiff mayonnaise—or it will form lumps.
  5. Once all the butter has been incorporated, scrape the filling into the prepared tart shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate the tart for an hour to set the filling.
  6. After the filling has set, bring the tart to room temperature for an hour or two before serving.
  7. Scatter the chocolate shavings in the center of the filling and dust them very lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

Serving: Unmold the tart and slide it to a platter. Serve it with a few raspberries if you like, but it is best unadorned.

Storage: Keep the tart at a cool room temperature for up to half a day before serving. Wrap leftovers and keep at a cool room temperature no more than 24 hours more after serving.

Sweet Tart Dough

This is a variation on a dough recipe I have been making for years. It’s quick to prepare, easy to roll out (and it can also be pressed into the pan instead), and always bakes up tender and flavorful—who could ask for anything more? The recipe doubles easily, but don’t try to make more than a double batch in the food processor at one time—most food processors will not handle such a large amount of dough.

Makes one 10- or 11-inch tart crust or a 9-inch pie crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon water

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the butter is finely mixed into the dry ingredients—you don’t want any visible pieces of butter.
  3. Add the egg, egg yolk, and water. Pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Invert the dough to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Form the dough into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days before rolling.
  5. Flour the work surface and the dough; roll it 3 inches larger than the diameter of your tart pan.  Fold the dough in half and set it in the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan.
  6. Unfold the dough into the pan, fit it into the bottom and sides, then sever the excess dough at the rim of the pan.  Chill the dough while preparing the filling
  7. To bake the tart shell empty, use a fork to pierce the bottom of the crust at 1-inch intervals and line the crust with parchment paper.  Fill with dried beans and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. 
  8. Remove the paper and beans and return the crust to the oven to bake through until golden, about 10 minutes longer.
  9. Leave in the pan and cool on a rack before filling.