- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

Research tells us that 14 out of every 10 individuals like chocolate, according to Sandra Boynton. I wholeheartedly agree with the celebrated cartoonist, illustrator and writer.

Who doesn’t like chocolate?

I look forward to Valentine’s Day, the favorite holiday of chocoholics everywhere. The chocolate walnut tart that follows would make a seductive ending for a small, intimate dinner for two, or you could invite friends for a valentine dessert celebration and offer slices with glasses of champagne.

Chocolate walnut tart

CRUST:

1 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons ice water, plus an extra to 1 teaspoon ice water, if needed

FILLING AND TOPPING:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, divided (see note)

1 cup whipping or heavy whipping cream, divided

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

cup sugar

1⅓ cups walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided (see note)

To make crust, place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in 3 tablespoons water; process several seconds more.

Stop machine; check to see if dough is moist and holds together when a small amount is pinched between your fingers. If not, add another to 1 teaspoon water and repeat until mixture is moist and holds together when pinched. Pour onto lightly floured work surface and knead dough to form a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes or until firm.

On the lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a circle 12 inches in diameter, about inch thick. Place dough in 9-inch tart pan. Fold in overhanging dough to make a high-standing border, then flute edges and prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Freeze 15 minutes.

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tart shell from refrigerator; line it with a sheet of aluminum foil that extends over the sides of the tart pan. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes, then remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until crust is light golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from oven to a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

To make filling, finely chop 2 ounces of chocolate and set aside. Heat cup cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove; now stir in chopped chocolate. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool 5 minutes.

Place egg, egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Spread 1 cup nuts in tart shell. Pour egg mixture over nuts. Bake until filling is set and a tester comes out almost clean, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Chop remaining chocolate and set aside. Heat remaining cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, remove and stir in chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Using a metal spatula or a table knife, spread melted chocolate over baked tart filling.

Sprinkle remaining walnuts in a 1-inch border around top edge of tart. Refrigerate tart until chocolate is set, an hour or longer. (Tart can be prepared 6 hours ahead; bring to room temperature 15 to 30 minutes before serving.) Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate works well in this recipe. To toast walnuts, spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on center shelf of a 350-degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove, cool and chop.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES INTERNATIONAL

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