Tuesday, April 28, 2009

{TWD} Chocolate Cream Tart, or The Day I Liked Chocolate Again

That crust is just a bit fragile!
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 targets for me to unload this group to enjoy a good chocolate tart. (Planning is a bit trickier when the dessert is not susceptible to being frozen or easily transported.)

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.


n.o.e.'s notes:

- 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.


the verdict:

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!

Thanks to Kim from Scrumptious Photography who chose this week's recipe - you made me very happy indeed! Stop by Kim's post to get the recipe.

And finally, stop by and leave a comment on my 200th Post for a chance to win a King Arthur gift certificate.

48 comments:

Kara said...

That is seriously adorable. *sigh* Yet another pan I'm going to have to buy - because now I have to have a long, rectangular pan! I love the "buttons" down the center too. I don't think it looks rustic - it looks like a tuxedo shirt to me! Nicely done!

Megan said...

I love your "rustic" decorating. It looks like it's ready for a fancy night out!

mike said...

Wow.... we are THAT close to syncing. I almost used my long, rectangle tart pan.... eery. LOVE the topping - it's simple/sophisticated and looks like a buttoned-up dinner jacket - very classy! I'm sure everyone enjoyed it - who wouldn't? Very impressed Nancy!

Mary Ann said...

Nancy! I think we must have the same exact tart pan. Your tart is the same shape as mine.
The crust was a bit crumbly, but that didn't matter.
I am glad you spoke up and let everyone know how great this dessert was all together.
It turned out beautifully!

Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" said...

I love your tart pan! I'm in need of one, and will keep that shape in mind.

I too overworked my dough, it says to press it in the pan, but keep it crumbly. ??? huh? lol, I have to work on that. Mine came our crumbly too, but that's ok.

I need to check out TJ chocolate, do you use their HUGE bars too?

I'm compiling a list of my Top Dorie recipes, and yes this is part of mine too! =)

Cristine said...

I want your tart pan!!!! TOO CUTE!!!

Great looking tart, too! Makes me want another slice!

Marthe said...

I love your rectangular tartpan, I haven't seen them around here. From now on I'll be on the lookout for one! I absolutely loved the chocolate cream

Natashya said...

It looks like a chocolate tuxedo! I love it!

Jessica said...

I am so glad that you liked this tart, Nancy! And wow, what an honor for it to end up in your top 5 TWD recipes. I love the way you decorated the tart -- it looks like a tuxedo to me, so pretty. I want to print out the picture and put it in the book so that I remember next time.

Cathy said...

I looooove the rectangular tart pan; now that is on my (ever growing) pan list. This one completely got me back on the chocolate bandwagon as well - it's incredible! (We have very similar top 5 lists, BTW.) Love how you found a way to save two dirty pans/dishes - I need to start thinking about those things BEFORE I am standing in front of a sink full of dishes! Your tart looks beautiful, and I am so glad that everyone enjoyed it!

Amanda said...

Oh Nancy I love the tart in this pan! I almost bought one of these last week but resisted the urge LOL I LOVED LOVED LOVED this tart. Fabulous. I think my original thought on the tart dough was like yours, but eating it with the tart completely assembled was incredible. Definitely in MY top 3 of Dorie's recipes!

Oh and I had trouble with my whipped cream too, how weird is that? I made it twice and had trouble with the second one too. Oh well. ;)

Di said...

I'm with Cathy--my wishlist of kitchen gear keeps getting longer, and a rectangular tart pan is definitely on it. And here I thought I was the only one who put saucepans on my scale and weighed ingredients right into them. =) Your tart looks gorgeous. (and you came up with lots more G words than I could when I was writing before bed last night... =) )

Jennifer said...

WOW! DANG! That tart is really LONG! And beautiful! You did a fabulous job, Nancy! I always enjoy your notes and suggestions...they truly help me!

rainbowbrown said...

Pretending not to notice will is the best best method of handling situations like that. Your tart looks wonderful - I'm glad it was a hit.

Kayte said...

First of all, that looks so gorgeous...I love the shape of it, the look of it, the little chocolate bits going down the center, the way it cuts and the way the slices look...this is just one outstanding look for this recipe. Very impressive. Top 5 for the guys (as you asked on your blog comment on mine) is, I have gathered, anything chocolate and gooey...they always say, "Top 5" to anything I have made from this book that fits those categories, so in my mind, it is really like top 15...LOL...as we have made a whole lot of chocolate gooey things. I really appreciate the tip on the foil packages at Trader Joe's where you can crush up the chocolate and dump it out of the package and not have to chop chocolate...a dream come true...thanks! Wonderful job this week...the presentation is gorgeous.

Chris said...

I also encountered every single one of the problems you had when making this tart. But the final product tastes pretty dang good, so it was all worth it!
Love the tuxedo shirt look - very cute!

Karen said...

What a fun pan to make this in! It looks about 6 feet long. Glad it was a hit. I would have eaten it! :)

myfamousrecipe said...

I love your long, slender pan, and the individual slices look gorgeous. Thanks for the top 5 list -- I only joined TWD in January, so I'll be sure to try your favorites that were before my time....

Beryl said...

Looks like a chocolate tuxedo! I'm glad you loves it, despite your struggles.

chocolatechic said...

Your little tuxedo shirt tart looks fabulous.

We loved it.

vibi said...

Wowwy! Such simple elegance!!!
...what I like best though, is the way it cuts! Love the little straight portions!

Beauttful take on the rectangular tart, Nancy! Well done!

(Loved the scratched off line! LOL LOL LOL)

Peggy said...

Wow Nancy. That is some fabulous tart! I skipped out this week, but now I am going to have to go back and make this one since everyone loved it so much. I love your rectangle look!!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Man, I love those rectangular tart pans. I agreed about the overall effect of this tart. Fabulous!!

Leslie said...

I love how you baked it in the long rectangular pan. This one rocked my world, easily at the top of my list of Dorie recipes. Easily. If you follow her instructions to listen for when the FP changes sounds, it really makes it easy to stop it before it overworks the dough. Seeing how great yours looks makes me wish I waited to slice it until it set up. Your book group must LOVE you.

pinkstripes said...

I love the mini-chocolate chips on top. It reminds me of a tuxedo. I'm glad it was a success.

Sara said...

Rustic is my only option, too. It is like something just sucked the creative decorating ability right out from my brain! Really though, the tart looks great and I love the rectangular tart pan.

Reeni♥ said...

How divine and decadent that looks! A chocoholic's dream. I love the pan!!! I have to have one!!!!

Heather said...

What a classy looking tart! The rectangular shape puts it over the top. Great job.

Jill said...

I love the pan. It would be so much easier (at least for me) to serve pieces from a rectangle than from a circle. And thanks for the tip on weighing the milk.

I'm glad that you snapped out of your chocolate overdose. This was worth it!

Carol Peterman said...

You could call this a Chocolate Tuxedo Tart! It's beautiful and I agree that this is a fantastic recipe! Gland you are back in the chocolate world.

dharmagirl said...

what a beautiful tart. rustic? no way. super chic is more like it.

i concur--this tart is near the top of the list for dorie recipes. i'm having a hard time not devouring the remainder of the dessert...

Katrina said...

I LOVE your "formal, black tie" looking tart. That's what I thought of anyway. So many people so in love. I will definitely try this again!

Tammy said...

the rectangular shape looks awesome. I loved this tart too despite its chocolateyness!

What's for Supper? said...

Your tart looks so nice. I love the shape. I also think that I may have overmixed mine as well. And I completely agree with the fact that the crust is not sweet AT ALL!

Tracey said...

I love the rectangular tart pan! I was thinking your tart looked like a tuxedo and when I started reading through your comments turns out I wasn't the only one :) Great job!

margot said...

I'm having pan envy along with everyone else, but I think it's really your amazing tart that makes the rectangular pan so appealing - excellent job. I thought I would be tired of chocolate by this recipe, but it was so delicious it convinced me otherwise.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Sooooo cute, I love your presentation. I want one of those pans so badly. I use TJ's chocolate bars too. Glad you loved this.

Teanna said...

First of all, I LOVE that presentation! It looks like a gorgeous chocolate tuxedo! Secondly, I love your idea of weighing the milk in the pan! Those small victories add up! And finally, I am SO glad that this makes you like chocolate again!

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Pam said...

As a confirmed chocolate lover, this sounds like heaven to me!

Piggy said...

I like your rectangular tart pan! I thought the dough is crumbly too, but you've managed to pull it through. Great job!

Madam Chow said...

I was out of town so I missed this round, but the rave reviews I've been reading has made me put this on my "to bake" list!

Pamela said...

I just love the way the tart looks! I seriously want a rectangular tart pan...NOW! I forgot to add the butter into the pastry cream, but I don't think it mattered. This tart was fabulous!

Linda said...

I was thinking the same thing about going into chocolate overload. This was an absolutely delicious tart --- BTW, I loved mine w. raspberries.

You book group is one lucky group of people! :)

Sweet as Coco said...

I really wanted to make this but just couldnt. BUT NOW...OMG, now Im REALLY bummed I missed out! This looks absolutely fabulous!! I love the presentation! You may have thought you had a rough time...but you could never tell. I love it!

flappergirl said...

I love the photos!! It's a tuxedo tart!!! Can't wait to try it out!

TeaLady said...

I am excited you used that rectangular pan. I haven't had a chance to use mine yet and didn't want a big tart this time after the choc the week before. It looks about 10 feet long on the table. Imagine. 10 feet of this great tart. I'm with JT's hubby - don't change a thing. It looks gret.

AmyRuth said...

Very nice Nancy, I have that pan as well and made the pair tart with it. It so fun although you do have to remember to have the right serving piece for it as well. That one caught me off guard. Crate and Barrel to the rescue. I loved this tart too. Its great! Yours is beautiful!!
congratulations on your new blog-o-baby!!!
AmyRuth