Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

I wasn't about to waste those tart shells that I made, even if the sides were a little short. I decided to sally forth and use them for my tarts anyway. Fortunately, this is a recipe that I have used several times, always with success. This is probably because I copied it out of a book some years ago, but don't worry; we'll be changing it anyway. The ingredients:

one 10-inch tart shell
3 oz butter
3 oz raspberry puree
6 oz whole milk
8 oz chocolate
1 whole chicken egg

This is actually the changed recipe. Remember my post about dairy percentages? This is a perfect example of the application of that knowledge. The butter and the raspberry puree have replaced heavy cream in the original recipe. When I looked at the original chocolate tart recipe, I thought it was kind of boring. Chocolate is nice and all, but it can be kind of boring by itself. And how can one call it a tart if it's not actually tart? Well, raspberries are tart. I've replaced the cream with equal parts butter and water-type liquid, namely, the raspberry puree.

The procedure is relatively simple. Melt your chocolate and butter in a double boiler, and then add the milk and raspberry puree. Remove from the heat and whisk slowly to combine, just like you were making ganache. Be careful not to incorporate any air bubbles. About this point in time you'll want to add in the egg, and whisk it in thoroughly. If you want, you can strain the mixture, but I don't bother.

At this point, you can go ahead and pour it into the tart shell. Be sure to use an actual tart pan for this, with short sides. It's not going to quite work out well if it's too thick. It'll be good as it is, but why don't I share a little pastry chef trick with you? You'll want some melted white chocolate for this part, and something to pipe it with. Go ahead and pour your melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag and snip a little piece of the corner off. Just a little piece, mind you. You'll be using this to pipe a little spiral onto your tart.

Come to think of it, you will also need a toothpick. After you've piped your spiral, go ahead and drag your toothpick through it, from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, then from 9 o'clock to 3'clock, and so on.

With your little spiderweb in place, it's time to bake our tart. What's that? Did I hear somebody on the back row say something about custard? That's right, this is a baked custard! That's what that chicken egg does for us, it gives us just the right proteins to firm up the rest of the filling once it's baked and cooled. Speaking of baking, you'll want to bake this thing at 375F for about 15 minutes. Just like with cheesecake or other baked custards, you'll want to pull it when the center is just barely wobbly. Let it cool for half an hour on the counter before refrigerating for a few hours.

You'll want to be careful when cutting this thing. It's pretty intense stuff. In fact, I wouldn't cut it into any fewer than 12 pieces. You may also want to wait until it's time to serve before cutting it, so that you can show off your spiderweb pattern in the middle. Make sure to make this at least a day in advance so that it'll have time to set up, and your tart will be the belle of the ball.

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