If you’re not in the habit of using the word “ridonculous,” you’ll want to christen it after a bite of this indulgent chocolate tart. Which is good news, since there’s absolutely nothing else to say about it.
I hadn’t really been planning to let you in on this sorry state of affairs; but as I’ve been sitting here for quite a few minutes now without a single word to say about this incomparable chocolate tart, it seems I have no choice. The writer’s mind is a vessel for metaphor; and with spring palpably on its way today, a girl’s prose should be awash in buds and birds and blossoms. The American literary tradition was built on days like this. So then, tart, why the blank stare?
I can only think that perhaps when I say that this luscious tart, which derives from the beautiful, if somewhat impenetrable, book The Art of the Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis, is beyond compare – well, that perhaps I mean it literally. Beyond compare. Eschewing all metaphor. Yes, that must be it, right?
Or maybe I’ve been bewitched by the dark and sultry magic of the perfectly smooth, intensely rich filling, which stops just inches shy of absurdity, repenting for its textural opulence with its sparely sweet taste. Maybe the crisp, eggy shortbread shell, whose heady aroma invites you to dive straight into the mixer, has simply driven me to distraction. People have taken vows of silence for less-divine awakenings, I’d bet.
(Reverent pause, a bit uncomfortably long.)
Oh hi – sorry. What was that about spring arriving? Spring, as in eight more weeks until bathing suits? Perhaps I’d better let you get on with making this thing of beauty so you’ll have time to properly repent for your own culinary sins of the flesh before then. I’ll be doing a bit of that myself in the coming weeks. Just so you know, I will also be continuing to futz around with the more technical aspects of this site for the next little while. Some of these changes will be visible, others not; but my (currently elusive) goal is that they all will be neutral to positive. (Notice how the comments section, though still usable – and please do! – is half its normal width today? Yeah, I don’t know how to fix that.) Since the umami tech department consists of the best and the brightest that our advertising revenue can buy (hi there, it’s scrappy old me again!), I will thank you now in advance for your patience with any glitches that may occur. With any luck, you’ll have your nose in the mixer bowl when the code starts to fly.
Simon Hopkinson’s Chocolate Tart
Adapted from The Art of the Tart: Savory and Sweet by Tamasin Day-Lewis
For the dough:
12 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
3 egg yolks
5 Tablespoons sugar
10 Tablespoons butter
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Special equipment: a 10-inch tart pan, parchment paper, dried beans.
To make the dough:
Put the butter, confectioners’ sugar and egg yolks in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and run the machine until the dough becomes a “homogeneous paste.” (Yum!) Pat the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of flour on your work surface, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to an approximately 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough very carefully to a 10-inch tart pan, pressing on the dough lightly so it sits snugly against the bottom and sides of the pan. (If this becomes a total disaster, you can also abort the rolling and just press the dough into the pan with your fingers. This will yield a thicker crust that will still taste excellent. Let’s just say I’ve made it both ways over the years!) Place a piece of parchment paper over the shell, making sure to cover the edges. Spread some dried beans over the parchment, covering the whole bottom of the tart shell. Bake for 15 minutes this way, then remove the parchment and beans, prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with the tines of a fork to release any trapped air, and return the shell to the oven naked (without the parchment and beans) for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the filling:
Raise the oven temperature to 375F. Put the eggs, yolks and sugar in a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat for about five minutes on medium-high speed, until thick and fluffy. Put the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Stir to combine thoroughly – the residual heat should completely melt both the butter and the chocolate as you stir. (If not, continue to microwave in short bursts until you can stir the mixture to a complete melt.) Pour the chocolate and butter mixture, which should be just warm, into the bowl with the sugar and egg mixture, and mix until well combined.
Pour the filling into the tart shell. Bake for five minutes. Do your best to let the tart cool before serving.