These ethereal chocolate tarts come from my friend Lesley Chesterman, restaurant critic and food writer at the Montreal Globe, Quebec’s premier English-language newspaper. You can also make a single large tart—you may have a little more filling and/or ganache than you need.
Makes 8 individual tarts
8 4 1/2-inch tart crusts made from Sweet Pastry Dough (see below), fully baked
CHOCOLATE CUSTARD FILLING
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa solids), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 ounces dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa solids), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Set a rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Arrange the tart pans on a jelly-roll pan.
- For the custard filling, whisk the milk, cream, and half of the sugar together in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Whisk the eggs with the remaining sugar. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl.
- Once the cream mixture boils, pour a quarter of it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and melted. Whisk in the remaining cream mixture, then whisk the chocolate and cream mixture into the eggs. Pass the filling through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Fill the tart shells to within 1/4 inch of the top with the chocolate cream. Carefully place the tarts in the oven and decrease the temperature to 325°F. Bake until the chocolate cream has set, about 20 minutes.
- Cool the tarts on a rack.
- For the ganache glaze, place the chocolate in a mixing bowl and bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk smooth.
- Pour an eighth of the ganache on one of the tarts and tilt it to cover the surface evenly and entirely with ganache. Repeat with the remaining tarts. Let the glaze set at cool room temperature and serve the tarts the day they are baked.
SWEET PASTRY DOUGH
Makes enough for 2 single-crusted pies, 1 double-crusted pie, or 10 individual 4/1-inch tarts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons/1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
2 large eggs
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix.
- Add the butter cubes and pulse again until the butter is finely mixed throughout the dry ingredients and no visible pieces remain.
- Use a fork to beat the eggs enough to break them up, and add them to the bowl. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball; avoid pulsing too much or the dough might become too soft.
- Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it together 3 or 4 times to make it smooth.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form them into disks, and wrap each one in plastic. Chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling.
- Before rolling the dough, place it on a floured surface and gently knead until smooth and malleable. Form into a disk again before beginning to roll.
To mix the dough by hand, stir the dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients, occasionally using your hands to scrape the bottom of the bowl and incorporate any unmixed flour. Once the butter is finely mixed throughout and no visible pieces of butter remain, use a fork to beat the eggs to break them up; add them to the bowl. Use the fork to scrape up from the bottom of the bowl and incorporate the eggs. You can also stir with the fork while using the other hand to move the bowl back and forth on the work surface. Once the dough starts holding together, continue with step 4 as described.
To mix the dough in a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl and place it on the mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on the lowest speed for a few seconds, then add the butter and continue mixing until it begins to break down into smaller pieces, about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the bowl and beater, then repeat 30 seconds of mixing, followed by stopping and scraping, until the butter is finely worked into the dry ingredients and no visible pieces remain. Whisk the eggs to break them up; add them to the mixer bowl. Mix again on lowest speed until the dough begins to hold together, then continue with step 4 as described.