Um. So, I made this bittersweet chocolate tart for — surprise, surprise — National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, which was Sunday. But, uh, things didn’t go according to plan. In fact, the title of this post should really be: “How NOT to make a chocolate tart.” And these would be my tips:
- Don’t read the recipe all the way through, so you realize at the last moment that you don’t have anything that could possibly serve as pie weights and you’re forced to stop everything and make yet another trip to the grocery store.
- Forget to line the tart dough with parchment paper before pouring in your makeshift pie weights, and then spend the next several minutes picking dry beans out of the mushy dough.
- When you do remember to line the dough with parchment paper, forget to coat it with nonstick cooking spray.
- When you go to put the tart dough in the oven, ignore the little voice in your head that says, “You should probably put the tart pan on a baking sheet, because it has a removable bottom, and that’s just asking for trouble.”
- Then, when you pull the tart dough out of the oven for part two of the blind-bake, don’t hold the pan by its sides. Instead, balance the pan with one hand on the pan’s bottom, so that you inadvertently dislodge the removable bottom, causing the edges of the not-yet-fully-baked crust to crumble all over the floor.
- In the ensuing panic, take off an oven mitt so you can get a better grip on the tart pan, thus burning your fingers.
- After getting the pan on the counter, hurriedly yank off the parchment paper, which, because it wasn’t coated with nonstick cooking spray, will pull off the top layer of dough along with it.
- When you return what’s left of the tart crust to the oven for the rest of the blind-bake, burn it.
- While boiling the cream for the bittersweet chocolate filling, put a lid on the saucepan and then casually walk away, enabling the unattended cream to boil over and make a huge mess on the stovetop.
- Add an odd fruit to the filling that doesn’t normally go with chocolate — like, say, canned mandarin oranges — so that everyone looks askance at the tart and refuses to taste it.
- Forget about that whole removable bottom thing again, and put the baking-sheet-less tart pan in the refrigerator to firm up the still-liquidy filling. A few hours later, have fun scrubbing solidified chocolate off your refrigerator shelves.
Seriously, how am I qualified to have a cooking blog?
Recipe: Chocolate Short Dough
From “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly creamed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in plastic film. Chill for at least 4 hours.
- To soften the refrigerated dough before rolling it out, cut the dough into 8 or more pieces and gently knead each piece, then gather back together.
- Roll out the dough and press into the tart pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Prick the bottom of the tart shell a few times with a fork. Line the shell with parchment paper, aluminum foil, plastic film or a coffee filter coated with nonstick cooking spray. Fill the lined shell a quarter of the way up with “faux filling” (pie weights, dry beans or rice) and gently press the filling into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350˚F and bake for 10 minutes more.
- Remove the pastry shell from the oven and remove the faux filling and the lining. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until the center looks dry. Remove from the oven and cool in pan on a rack.
Recipe: Deep, Dark Chocolate Tart
From “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard
- 1 prebaked Chocolate Short Dough shell
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee or espresso
- 2 cans of mandarin oranges (optional)
- Place the prebaked tart shell, still in its pan, on a baking sheet. Spread fruit (if using) over the bottom of the tart shell.
- Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into ¼-inch pieces and place in a medium heatproof bowl along with the butter.
- Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Stir until the temperature of the chocolate and butter reaches 90˚F, about 2 minutes. The mixture should be completely melted.
- Add the coffee and stir until well incorporated. Immediately pour the ganache into the tart shell. Carefully place the tart in the refrigerator to set, which will take approximately 1 hour, before slicing and serving. Once completed, the tart will stay crisp for up to 3 days if stored in the refrigerator.
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