Chocolate Cream Tart

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This chocolate cream tart has a crisp, buttery shortbread crust and smooth filling.  You can serve it with or without the whipped cream topping, but be forewarned that without, the chocolate flavor is very intense!

 

Chocolate Cream Tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9-inch tart

For tart crust:

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For filling:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature

For topping (optional but recommended):

  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

 

  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  (I skipped this step and it was fine.)
  2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.
  3. Beat in egg yolk.
  4. Add flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar, and salt and beat on low speed to start mixing the ingredients together.
  5. You won’t be able to beat in most of the dry ingredients, so use your hands to knead until you have a dark brown ball of dough.  (At this point, you can wrap the dough well and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
  6. Press dough into the bottom of the pan, spreading dough evenly across the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides.  Save a little piece of dough in case the crust cracks during baking and you need to patch it later.
  7. Freeze crust in pan for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.  (At this point, you can wrap the unbaked crust and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.)
  8. While crust is freezing, make the filling.  In a small pot on the stove, bring the milk to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well-blended and thick.
  10. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk — this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they don’t curdle — then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
  11. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get in the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1-2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  12. Whisk in the melted chocolate.
  13. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the custard occasionally until it is fully chilled, about 20 minutes. (At this point, you can keep the custard, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  14. While filling is cooling, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  15. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust.  (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.)
  16. Put pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.
  17. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.  If there are any cracks in the crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges, and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust.
  18. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until it is firm.  Again, if there are any cracks in the crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges, and very gently smooth the edges into crust.  Bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.
  19. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
  20. When you are ready to assemble the tart, whisk the chocolate cream vigorously to loosen it and to bring back its velvety texture.
  21. Spoon the cream into the tart shell, stopping just short of the crust’s rim (you may have some left over) — you want to leave room for the topping. Smooth the top and, if you are not serving the tart immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the cream and refrigerate the tart until needed (or up to 6 hours).
  22. If desired, make the topping.  Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks.  Spread the whipped cream over the tart and smooth it with a metal icing spatula or, if you prefer swirls, go for them.  Serve the tart now or refrigerate it for up to 2 hours before serving.
  23. When you are ready to serve the tart, lightly dust the top with cocoa powder.

 

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