This is not a subtle dessert. It simply overpowers all other chocolate desserts. By an order of magnitude. Putting this tart up against, say, a chocolate cake, is like putting Andre the Giant up against a fifth grade wrestler. Or Nadia Comaneci up against first grade tumblers. It is that good. And once you see how to make it, you’ll understand why.
Years ago, we happened across this dessert at one of our favorite restaurants, Simon Pearce at the Mill in Quechee, VT. We would drive up from the Boston area, have lunch, this dessert, and wander around the shops and watch the glassblowing. In the afternoon, we’d drive back home on some of the back roads admiring the beautiful New England scenery. It made for a really pleasant day, especially in the fall.
Then one day we showed up for lunch and the Bittersweet Chocolate Tart was not on the menu. Horrors! We couldn’t believe it! No Bittersweet Chocolate Tart! How would we survive? Panicked, we inquired of the waitstaff, and they said yes it was true, no more Bittersweet Chocolate Tart, it had, indeed, been taken off the menu. But, not all was lost; we explained our devotion to this desert, and, before we left, we were presented with a copy of The Recipe. This one is always capitalized.
Serves: About 12-16 or more
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 Tbs sifted cocoa
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
We think you can see why this dessert crushes all other chocolate desserts. The filling is the star. A pound and a half of chocolate! Two cups of cream! So, naturally, you want the best possible chocolate. We have used Valrhona 73% cacao, and Callebaut 70% cacao. Both expensive, but this is not a cheap dessert, by any means; it is, however, the best.
Combine sugar and butter. In a food processor, combine the sugar and butter. Process until creamy; you will have to scrape the sides down with a spatula. Do it, then process some more.
Add vanilla, salt, and cocoa. Process until the mixture forms a smooth paste
Add flour. Add the flour, and process until just blended. Looks good already, huh?
Turn out the dough. Place it on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Shape into an 8-inch disk, wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for an hour (no, not you, the crust dough).
Roll out the crust into an 11-inch circle, and fit into a 9 1/2 inch tart pan, making strong sides. It has a tendency to slump a bit when baking.
Chill at least 30 minutes (you and the crust).
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, then pop it in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the pastry is dry to the touch. Smells good, doesn’t it?
Cool. Set it on a rack and let cool.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Heat cream. On medium heat, heat the cream in a sauce pan until bubbles form along the edge of the pan.
Pour cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds.
Stir until melted and smooth. Don’t lick the spoon yet, that’s coming up.
Pour the chocolate into the tart shell. Smooth it out on top so it looks nice, and refrigerate until it is set, about 3 -5 hours. In the meantime, lick the spoon and the bowl. We do!
Slice into very narrow slices (a little goes a loooong way, with all that chocolate). Bite into it and be transported directly to chocolate heaven. And you scratched 100 percent of it. Five stars (that’s all we have).