Back in "the" day, I had a reputation as a chocolate fanatic. And while I still really like chocolate, there are times when enough is enough, and a bit more is, well, too much. I reached that point right after Easter. I'd given up all sweets for Lent, and then found myself awash in Easter bunnies and not one, but two, intense chocolate creations. I was totally chocolate-d out, but decided to make this tart fresh on the heels of the torte and the cake because my book group was meeting Easter week. I knew they'd be the perfect
That crust is just a bit fragile!
The recipe sounded like a bit of chocolate overkill. Chocolate filling in a chocolate crust? I was veeerrrry tempted to substitute a different - nonchocolate - tart crust, but since I was serving this to a large group of people who had not just made and eaten two cakes, I baked the tart as written.
And I've got to confess to a healthy dose of skepticism about this recipe. Back in our pre-TWD days, my daughter J.D.E. baked Dorie’s Tarte Noire - which is a totally and amazingly delicious chocolate tart. I didn’t think this would come even close to measuring up.
- This tart has three components: chocolate crust, chocolate pastry cream filling, and sweetened whipped cream. I made a full recipe in a rectangular tart pan that is equivalent in size to the round pan that Dorie specified.
- The tart dough was not sweet - at all, really. Dorie was telling stories when she said it's delicious on its own.
- I'm pretty sure I overworked the tart dough. I forgot to reread the instructions and then got carried away pressing it in the pan.
- I froze the tart dough in the pan for a good hour.
- I was pretty cavalier in my foil-buttering, so my crust stuck and crumbled apart when I pulled the foil off. Of course I had forgotten to keep a bit of dough out for patches.
- I cooked the pastry cream over med-low heat. It thickened really fast, and in fact I caught it trying to scramble but I took the whisk to it very vigorously and it relented of the mischief tht it had planned. It still was not as smooth as I'd like but I pretended not to notice.
- For chocolate I used Trader Joe's 72% bar chocolate. It comes in thin 3.5 oz bars, so two were perfect for this recipe. Even better? I could break them while they were still wrapped in their foil and just empty the foil packets into the pan - no chopping required.
- I eliminated another dirty dish by measuring the milk by weight right into the saucepan. It's the little victories, people.
- After putting in the butter the pastry cream seemed really oily - it almost didn't incorporate but it finally came together.
- I probably should have built up the tart crust walls a bit higher, because I ended up with an extra bowl of pastry cream after I assembled the tart. It turns out that some people churned theirs into ice cream, but I've been content to eat mine from the fridge with a spoon.
- I was sure that I'd stopped the mixer at the perfect time for soft luscious whipped cream, but somehow by the time I spread it on top of the tart it didn't look as silky as I'd hoped. I would have liked piped whipped cream on this tart, but seeing as I would have been the one to do the piping, it didn't happen. I decided to dress the tart up with a row of something all lined up. All I could put my hands on was mini chocolate chips, and lining them up neatly before they melted (or I lost patience) was a bit beyond my decorating abilities.
In the end, it didn't matter that my crust was a touch crumbly, or my pastry cream was a bit thick and grainy, or my whipped cream a tad dry, or my decorating more than a little wobbly. No, what really stood out was how fabulous this tart tastes! Oh, my, those three elements: crust + filling + whipped cream combine for a total flavor experience that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! It shook me out of chocolate overdose and landed me right back on my chocolate-appreciating feet.
This tart easily rates in my top 5 Dorie recipes. (along with the French Pear Tart, the Dimply Plum Cake, the Tall Creamy Cheesecake, and the World Peace Cookies. Oh, and the Chocolate Armagnac Cake. Well, you get my point.)
I served this to book group, and people were in agreement that it was delicious. AT said that it would be even more fantastic with a drizzle of raspberry coulis. Her husband JT disagreed: "It's perfect - don't change anything." When I asked him if he liked this one or the pear tart better, he said, "Don't make me have to pick."
proving once again that rustic is my only option!