Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Shortbread Crust

If you’re not in the habit of using the word “ridonculous,” you’ll want to christen it after a bite of this bittersweet chocolate tart. It’s been a favorite of our family’s for nearly 20 years. This tart serves a crowd, so it’s perfect for the holidays.


This luscious tart is very rich, so a slender slice is all you’ll need. A single 10-inch tart will feed 12 or more.

Bittersweet chocolate with a dollop of writer’s block

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?

A chocolate tart beyond compare

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.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Shortbread Crust

This luscious tart has been among our family's favorites for close to 20 years. It's rich, so a slender piece is just the right amount, and a single 10-inch tart will serve 12 or more.


For the dough

  • 12 tablespoons cold butter, diced
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

For the filling

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped


For the dough:

  1. Place the butter, powdered sugar and egg yolks in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse until combined but still speckled with butter. Add the flour and run the machine just until the dough comes together when you pinch it between your fingers (see photo above). Turn dough out onto a large piece of parchment, knead a few times to bring it all together, and pat it into a disc shape. Wrap well in parchment and chill for about half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove 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 12-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. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper over the shell, making sure to cover the edges. Spread plenty of 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 and return the shell to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the filling:

  1. Raise the oven temperature to 375F. Place the eggs, yolks and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for about five minutes on medium-high speed, until thick and fluffy. Place 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 mixer with the sugar and egg mixture, and mix until well combined.
  2. Pour the filling into the tart shell. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until just set. Let tart cool before serving.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 435 Total Fat:: 30.3g Carbohydrates:: 35.7g Fiber:: 1.9g Protein:: 5.6g

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  1. Faye

    Just made this recipe. Making the pastry in the food processor didn’t work so well for me. Came out very wet. Ended up making pastry by hand in the end but the filling was divine. Very, very, very rich and intense but I served it with toffee ice cream which balanced it out. Delicious

  2. Kevin

    That chocolate tart looks so good!

  3. Hi Kathryn – oh no, shrinkage! Brave of you to put that forward, my friend. Seriously, though, first and foremost, I’m impressed with your prolific tart making!

    It sounds like one (or both) of two things may be happening. Most crust recipes tell you to add water just until the dough comes together. It’s pretty easy to be tempted to add a little too much water, since it makes the dough feel easier to work with (and we’re only talking teaspoons here – no major gaffes on your part). Once the heat of the oven hits the dough, though, the excess water will literally vaporize, leaving you with less crust – so that could be part of it. You might try working with a tad less water and see if it helps.

    The other trick is to really make sure you’ve rolled out the dough large enough that you won’t have to stretch it one bit. Stretching dough will get you nowhere. It’s like cramming yourself into too-small spandex – it may seem like a clever solution when you’re getting all tarted up (ba-dum bum), but it will leave you with unsightly bulges and sometimes even some naked spots at the end of the day. To avoid these and other reputational disasters, start by rolling out the dough to the point that it is one to two inches bigger in diameter than your pan, so that you will have enough excess to work with. Then, when you ease the dough into the pan, be sure to tuck it thoroughly against the bottom and the sides and along the seam where the sides meet the bottom – there should be some right-angle-age going on. You should almost err on the side of compressing the dough a bit rather than stretching it at all. I think there is so much talk about not handling your dough too much that people are getting afraid to even touch it. You do need to use a bit of pressure to be sure there’s no gap between the dough and that “corner” around the perimeter of the pan.

    Hope that helps. Report back when you try again! And remember, ugly tarts can be tasty tarts, so don’t worry too much.

  4. Kathryn

    Hey Carolyn! I have made several tarts over the past few weeks, and cannot seem to get the crust right. Every time I break out the pie weights and pre-bake, the sides shrink down and I am basically left with nothing but the bottom of the crust. Please help!

  5. Y

    Ridonculous is such a cute word! An apt word to sell a tart, when no other word will do.

  6. Mmm. More chewing, less eschewing. I could get into that as a personal mantra.

  7. oooh AYUM.
    I don’t think I’ll be eschewing anything like this… my chances for being a bathing beauty were ruined years ago.