Tarte au Chocolat
This recipe came from Odile Engel, a dynamic Alsatian chef who owned a gorgeous little restaurant, Le Beffroy, in Rouen. She retired some time ago, but among her recipes to live on is this one. It is one of those rare things – a perfect dessert, easy to make, luscious to serve. I like to sprinkle it with finely chopped pistachios, or fleur de sel before baking.
1 recipe Sweet Pie Pastry (see recipe below)
1 pound (500g) bitter chocolate (containing 52 to 55% cocoa)
½ cup (125ml) heavy, non ultra-pasteurized cream
4 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Gently press the pastry dough into a 10 ½ inch (26 ½ cm) removable bottom tart tin, then line it with aluminum foil and pastry weights.
2. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove the pastry weights and aluminum foil, then return the pastry to the oven to bake until it is very lightly golden, another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
3. Place the chocolate and the cream in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring and shaking the pan occasionally. If the chocolate is getting too hot, simply remove the pan from the heat for awhile and stir so that it blends with the cream, then return it to the heat. When all of the chocolate is melted, remove the pan from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. If the chocolate and cream mixture cools and becomes too solid to whisk easily, simply return it to the heat and whisk until it is soft again.
4. Whisk together the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. When the chocolate and cream mixture has cooled to lukewarm, mix in the eggs until the mixture is loose enough to whisk, then continue whisking until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pastry shell. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is set, about 20 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove the ring from the tart and serve.
Sweet Pie Pastry
This is a wonderfully easy, all-purpose pastry for fruit and other tarts.
1-3/4 cups (230g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons fine sea salt
½ cup vanilla sugar
4 large egg yolks
8 tablespoons (125g) unsalted butter
1. Sift the flour onto a work surface and make a large well in the center. Place the salt, the sugar, and the egg yolks in the well and mix them with your fingers until the sugar dissolves. Pound on the butter to soften it slightly, add it to the well and quickly combine it with the other ingredients, using the fingertips on one hand, until partly blended. Gradually work in the flour with the fingertips of your hands, pulling flour from the side towards the butter mixture, until large crumbs form. Continue blending the pastry by cutting it into pieces with a dough scraper. When the dough is smooth, gather it into a ball then continue to work it by pushing it away from you and against the work surface with the heel of your hand and gathering it up with the dough scraper until it is pliable and thoroughly combined. Press the dough into a flat round and let it sit in a cool place for at least 30 minutes. Roll it out as specified in the recipes.
Dough for a 10-1/2 inch (26.5cm) tart