Nothing elicits more memories for me than a well-prepared tart. Its simple, yet elegant presentation suggests interior flavors to be discovered. Linzer, lemon, raspberry, fromage, apple and, of course, the star of them all–chocolate–are all fantastic examples of straightforward sophistication. None, though, are more rich and inviting than the chocolate tart itself.
Historically, tarts are known as being a precursor to pie. Pie was originally rough, rustic and most likely a shapeless conglomerate of dough and meat. Later, a sweeter version was developed that included honey and nuts. Slowly, these sweeter pies began to transform themselves from unrefined to finished, as we see with the custard tarts of medieval England.
Modern tarts represent fine ingredients and well planned production. Unlike their predecessors that originated from formless crusts filled with minced meat and sweet cream, today’s flawlessly formed tarts take center stage in bakeries around the world.
Since its roots are as an à la minute (made to order) dessert, this tart is best served at room temperature. It bakes quickly, similar to custard, and it is recommended that the tart be sold and consumed the day it is baked.
Adding sesame seed nougatine on top of the custard adds yet another dimension to this already exquisite dessert. The assembly is simple, and the finish is decidedly sleek. Try introducing chocolate tarts next to pumpkin and apple pies during the holidays. No doubt they will become a best seller.
The chocolate tart represents the most sinful of the old custard tart’s successors and always seems to elicit the same pleasurable response from the customer, “Ahhh, chocolate!” The rich, classical depth of flavor from the chocolate custard and the flaky, buttery crust generate instant customer satisfaction. Simply put, this tart takes the chocolate “pie” to a new level.
|1. Line three rectangular tart moulds with sweet dough, and bake until the dough is golden brown.||2. Prepare the custard, and fill the baked tart shells immediately. Bake at 300ºF until the custard is just set.|
|3. Roll the nougatine, and cut to the desired size.||4. Once the tart is baked and cooled, place the nougatine on top.|
Chocolate tart with sesame seed nougatine
| Sweet dough |
|Unsalted butter, 82% fat||8.5|| 240 g |
|Sea salt (finely ground)||0.07|| 2 g |
| Bourbon vanilla bean pulp ||0.02|| 0.5 g |
|Confectioners’ sugar||5.8||160 g |
|Almond powder||2.1||60 g |
| Whole eggs, fresh ||3.2||90 g |
| Cake flour, sifted ||1||450 g |
|Total appr. wt.||2||4|| 1 kg |
Method: Cream the butter with the salt and the vanilla. Add the confectioners’ sugar, almond powder, eggs and a quarter of the sifted flour. Add the remaining flour without overworking. Wrap the dough and refrigerate overnight. Roll the dough, and line three rectangular moulds or two rounds. Let the dough rest in the cooler for 30 minutes before baking. Bake in a convection oven at 325°F (160ºC), vent open. Cool on wire rack.
|Chocolate custard mix|
|Whole eggs, fresh||3.5||100 g|
|Whole milk, 3.6% fat||5.6|| 160 g |
|Heavy cream, 35% fat||13.4||380 g|
| Dark chocolate couverture, 64% ||14.1|| 400 g |
|Total appr. wt.||2||5|| 1 kg |
Method: Mix the eggs with the milk and cream. Bring to 158ºF (70ºC), and strain over the melted chocolate. Pour into the baked sweet dough, and bake in a convection oven at 325ºF (160ºC), vent open until custard-like.
|Sesame seed nougatine|
| Glucose D.E. 36-39 ||5.2|| 150 g |
|Sugar||7.1|| 200 g |
|Sea salt, as needed|
| Unsalted butter, 82% fat ||0.4|| 10 g |
|Almonds, sliced with skin||5.2|| 150 g |
|White sesame seeds||2.1|| 60 g |
|Black sesame seeds||2.1|| 60 g |
|Total appr. wt.||1||6|| 630 g |
Method: Warm the glucose in the pan, and slowly add the sugar with the salt to make a caramel. Add the butter, the warm almonds and sesame seeds. Roll on a non-stick mat to the desired thickness and cut. Place on top of the baked and cooled tart.
Yields three 3-in. by 7-in. rectangles or two 8-in. rounds