Wednesday, 19 September 2007

ALICE MEDRICH'S BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE TART

I've been dying to try out Medrich's Bittersweet Chocolate Tart recipe...and having read it through, I noticed how unconventional it was. It calls for melted butter in the tart dough. While pressing the dough into the pans was easy, I was starting to wonder if I could make the dough stretch to cover all the surface areas. The crust would be super thin I realized.

The chocolate tart filling was also quick to make and only required setting in the oven. After pulling out the baked tart shells, you turn off the oven. You then pour the filling into the hot tart shells, and pop it all back into the oven to set for 10 minutes. Now how easy is that? The hardest part was waiting for it to cool down enough to eat it.


I didn't want to bother with decorating the tarts, so I sprinkled a little Fleur de Sel on top of half of them to see if it would taste okay. It did. But I prefer it without the salt.


Bebe inhaled it. The tart is somewhat like a shortbread cookie and is crispy, light and slightly sweet. The chocolate filling is custardy and truffle-like. I would say the crust to filling ratio is just right in the recipe since it is so rich and decadent. I used organic dark chocolate with 70percent cocoa content and I remember it being expensive. You can really taste the chocolate quality in this tart and should only use good quality chocolate. It's a keeper; especially the tart dough recipe.
as per Posh-Kimchi's request: here's the recipe...adapted by cakebrain

Bittersweet Chocolate Tarts

Crust:
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 t pure vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Filling:
1 cup half-and-half
2 T sugar
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly whisked
Special Equipment:
eight 4-inch (measured across the top) fluted tartlet pans (about 3/4 inch deep) with removable bottoms
*cakebrain's note: I think you can make do with 6 tart pans

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Crust: Combine melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the flour just until blended. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 equal pieces (according to however many tart pans you're using). Press one piece very thinly and evenly across the bottom and up the sides of each pan. This takes patience--the amount of dough is just right (according to Medrich).
  • Place the pans on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crusts are a deep golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small saucepan, bring the half-and-half and sugar to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  • Just before the crust is done, whisk the egg into the chocolate mixture.
  • When the crusts are ready, remove from the oven. Turn off the oven. Pour the hot chocolate filling mixture into the crusts. Return the tartlets to the turned-off oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or just until the filling begins to set around the edges but most of the center is still liquid when the pans are nudged. Set the sheet on a rack to let the filling continue to cool and set.
  • Remove the pan sides and serve the tartlets warm or let them cool completely. Just before serving.

notes:

To use chocolate marked 62% to 64% instead of standard bittersweet: use 7 oz chocolate

To use chocolate marked 66% to 72% instead of standard bittersweet: use 5.5 oz chocolate and increase the sugar to 5 T

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi
i was reading the recipe and i don't understand what you mean by half half on the filling of the tart

cakebrain said...

Hi, well, in North America we purchase cream with various percentages of milk fat. We have various types of cream for different uses:
whipping cream (33% milk fat),
half-and-half (made by homogenizing a mixture of milk and cream. It must contain at least 10.5 percent milkfat, but not more than 18 percent).

Half-and-half can be mixed at home using equal parts homogenized whole milk and light cream


Some other creams you may encounter in a North American market:
Heavy cream: must have at least 36 percent milk fat.
Light Whipping Cream: must have at least 30 percent milk fat, but less than 36 percent.
Light Cream: also called coffee cream or table cream, must have at least 18 percent milk fat, but less than 30 percent milk fat

In Canada we have:
Light Cream: made with only 6% milk fat - perfect for those who want to whiten their coffee with less fat, but enjoy the equally rich and creamy taste as the original.

"Creamo": 10% cream is ideal in sauces for pasta, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, and adds richness and flavour to cream soups. Great with breakfast cereal and fresh fruit.

Coffee Cream: made with 18% milk fat and is enjoyed by lovers of mellow, full bodied coffee. Poured over fresh fruit, it makes a quick, delicious dessert topping, as well as can enhance many soups, sauces, and purees.

Whipping Cream: made with 33% milk fat and is the ultimate cream. It whips into a light, creamy and smooth topping that works wonders on pastries, fresh fruit or hot cocoa.

Aerosol Whipping Cream: convenient and ideal for last minute dessert preparations. Made with real cream, it has a taste that non-dairy substitutes just can’t match. It can be substituted for 35% whipping cream as a topping on any dessert.

Rachael said...

I just made these and they came out PERFECT. Thank you so much for printing this recipe!

Rachael said...

I meant to ask...did your pre-baked tart dough come out quite oily? I had to add a bit more flour since it was just wet, wet, wet.

cakebrain said...

Hi Rachael,
Actually, it appeared to be a tad on the oily side as I recall...before baking. However, I did not add any additional flour. After baking the shells, I didn't really notice any oiliness. My tart dough wasn't really wet. The finished tart shells were crunchy (almost deep-fried crisp) and didn't have any oily residue. Your tart shells look great though so obviously it needed the extra flour. Maybe your flour had a different moisture content than mine?

Rachael said...

I used Gold's All Purpose flour.

I do think I used convection bake too. That may be part of the difference. The crusts werent greasy once they were baked, but they sure were crispy and buttery!

OH, and you know what else I did? I made the dough by hand. I mean, with my hands, in a bowl. LOL.

Baking, what a mystery~

cakebrain said...

Rachael,
You said it. Baking is so like chemistry. (My greatest challenges have always with been with macarons). This chocolate tart was not too bad to figure out; nor was it as temperamental. Your making the dough by hand is admirable. It gives you a better feel for the product in the end.

cakebrain said...

this is for the anonymous commenter in my spring petits fours post...talking about my chocolate tart post: no, i don't think you could freeze the whole chocolate tarts. however, i would freeze the baked tart shells and then perhaps finish the chocolate filling on the day of serving it. the chocolate might not look very appealing after it's defrosted.

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