Making Up with Chocolate

For Valentine’s Day I made Jeremy a Meyer lemon tart with a chocolate-painted crust, from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I had been planning it for some time, since we had just the right amount of Dagoba chocolate pieces left over from the Chocolate Velvet ice cream I made. I thought the tart came out really nicely. The crust was beautifully flaky and tasted of butter, the Meyer lemon curd set perfectly and had a nice sweet-tart balance that was set off by the fruity chocolate. Jeremy, however, despised the addition of chocolate to the crust. He scooped the curd out of his slice and ate that plain, which felt like such a travesty when it was practically the best crust I had ever made. Not to mention the amount of butter and egg yolks and cream in that tart, which was likely to kill me if I ate it all by myself. I ended up giving a big chunk of it to a co-worker, and her family had no problem with the lemon-chocolate combo.

At any rate, the crust for that tart made enough for two, so I had a half batch left in the fridge. I decided that the best way to make up for the rejected lemon tart was to make my chocoholic husband a perfect chocolate tart. The crust was rock-hard from being refrigerated and wasn’t thawing fast enough for my itch to get started, but a trip to the microwave for 25 seconds on 30% power made it just right for rolling out. As I had noted when prepping the last crust, the dough wouldn’t really fold over the rolling pin; it just broke into pieces and I pressed them into the tart pan and didn’t worry about it. You’d never guess from the finished product.

The filling was easy to do, though I don’t have a double boiler. I just used very low heat, and it took a long time to melt. I went with Scharffenberger 70% bittersweet chocolate and European-style butter for that extra oomph. We had the first slices slightly warm with cinnamon whipped cream, and the chocolate was untuous and gooey. The next day we ate it unadorned straight from the fridge, and it was more like chocolate truffles in a crust. Jeremy liked it better that way; I thought it was lovely in both cases. But either way, it was an out-and-out success, and I’ve got a happy hubby again.

Perfect Chocolate Tart

Pâte sucrée (enough for 2 tarts):
1/4 C heavy cream
2 extra-large egg yolks
2 3/4 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 C plus 3 T granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter

Chocolate Filling:
2 eggs
3 yolks
45g granulated sugar
150g butter
200g dark chocolate, in pieces

Make the pâte sucrée: Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until you have a coarse meal. Gradually add the cream and yolks and pulse until just combined. Do not overwork the dough. Transfer the dough to a large work surface and bring it together with your hands to incorporate completely. Divide the dough in half, shape into 1-inch-thick discs, and wrap one of them to refrigerate or freeze for later.

If the dough is too soft, put in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up a little. If the dough is manageable, place it on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle a little flour over the dough, and roll it out into a 12-inch circle, flouring as necessary. Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. If the dough crumbles or breaks when you move it, don’t worry too much; just patch it into the tart pan with as little fuss as possible and it will be fine. To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan for a nice clean edge, or work your way around the edge pinching off any excess dough with your fingers. Chill for 1 hour.

Blind-bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take the tart pan with the pâte sucrée from the refrigerator. Prick the bottom with a fork and line it with parchment paper. Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the paper and beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely and adjust the oven temp to 350°F.

Make the filling: Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler, or in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally. While the chocolate is melting, beat together the other ingredients until the mixture becomes thick and fluffy. Pour chocolate into the egg mixture and beat until combined. Pour into tart shell and return to the oven for 5 minutes. The tart won’t look set, but trust me, it is as cooked as it should be. Set the cooked tart aside to cool completely. Serve with cinnamon whipped cream.

Sources: Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques and Tamasin Day-Lewis’s The Art of the Tart.

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