Chocolate Tart

Tonight my Bible study group met for dinner with the hosting couple making the main dish and everybody else contributing another meal component. There were beverages, bread, a cheese plate, and appetizers.

I volunteered to make dessert, and that dessert was a chocolate tart using a recipe from Tyler Florence via the Food Network website.

Let me provide a little back story before I continue. Since Friday was Valerie’s birthday, I decided I wanted to surprise her by baking a cake. Her favorite cake is strawberry with strawberry frosting (I believe), and I didn’t want to use a boxed mix or canned icing. Everything seemed to be going well until the layers started baking – and failed to rise. I think the baking powder had lost its leavening ability. You see, while I cook all the time I haven’t done much baking – particularly with food that rises in the oven.

This made me a bit nervous about making pastry, and understandably – this was no simple recipe.

There are essentially two key components to the tart – the pastry crust and the filling. Each presented challenges of their own. The crust, for example, was easy to mix. It was complex to cook, however. After mixing it was chilled, rolled, pressed into the tart pan, trimmed, chilled again, blind baked (!!!), egg-washed, and baked a little more. The filling seemed to be a cross between a ganache and custard – bittersweet chocolate melting into hot cream and milk with the addition of some salt, sugar, and two eggs. Those eggs were the interesting part as I had to temper them before adding them to the rest of the hot liquid. You see, you don’t want to add raw eggs to hot liquid or you get chocolate egg-drop soup. So I first had to add small portions of the chocolate mixture to the eggs while whisking until the eggs warmed up – and THEN I could pour it all into the whole.

Thankfully, the result was AMAZING. I garnished every slice with a fresh blackberry, and the dessert was a hit with everybody. Most importantly (to me), I enjoyed the pastry. The crust was butterific, the filling was seriously rich and delicious, and the last bite with the blackberry was exquisite.

I believe I’ll be baking quite a bit more in the future 🙂

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