Bittersweet Chocolate and Strawberry Tart
I am a cookbook hoarder.
And not because I’m cooking up a storm every night with the recipes inside them. No, I just have an unhealthy obsession with food.
I can’t resist the urge to pick up a few new ones every time I’m near a Half Price Books store. And I’ve got an Amazon Wish List a mile long with all kinds of new releases. I particularly love to collect cookbooks on different types of cuisine or from restaurants we’ve visited (or hope to someday). I’ve even got a few that are signed by chefs; some of my most prized on the shelf!
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More so than actually cooking anything, I love to read about the ingredients, the process, and the story behind every recipe. But every once in awhile I’ll get a wild hair and decide “I’m going to make something!”. And it usually ends in me flipping through the pages, salivating over some fresh pasta or delicious-looking crepes, and then putting it back on the shelf. I’ll gawk at the beautiful photos, knowing good and well I’m not going to be fermenting my own kimchi anytime soon.
“But this time’s going to be different!”, I told myself on my most recent wild hair. “This time, I’m actually going to make something!” So I pulled out a recent purchase from Half Price Books: Frenchie. Even though every recipe in the book looked well above my skill level, it was one I had to add to my collection since Matt and I shared our 3rd anniversary dinner at Frenchie in Paris just a few years ago.[irp]
I started flipping through the pages in search of my next project. Foie gras au torchon? Ehhhh, seems a little overkill for a Monday night dinner at home. Tagliatelle with chanterelle mushrooms? Looks fantastic, but then I’d have to figure out how to make fresh pasta. I don’t think we’re quite ready for that…
And then I found this beauty:
A bright and beautiful tart, filled with bittersweet chocolate cream and topped with fresh strawberries. Is there anything more perfect?
Seeing how Matt has never met a chocolate dessert he didn’t like, I would give it my very best try.
I’ve attempted several tarts in my day, but this one was by far the easiest (and the most forgiving). The dough is soft and buttery, making it easily pliable. The chocolate is just the perfect mix of creamy with a hint of salt. And the strawberries mellow out the bittersweet chocolate with their fresh and juicy sweetness.[irp]
The tart is ideally made using fresh wild strawberries. But because our local farmers markets don’t sell a ton of them (and even so, they’re a bit expensive), I used a mix of beautiful little wild strawberries from the farmers market and a few store-bought ones in between to fill it out.
I’ve noted some of the ingredients below in both metric and US measurements. I find when I’m baking, I’m much better off to use a food scale so I get just the right amount of each ingredient since even the slightest variation can throw things off. Nonetheless, either way, will still produce a pretty fine dessert!
If you’ve ever wanted to make a tart from scratch, this is a fantastic one to start with!
- 1/2 lb cold unsalted butter
- 175 grams all-purpose flour 1 1/4 c. plus 5 Tbsp
- 66 grams cake flour 1/2 c.
- 25 grams almond flour 2 1/2 Tbsp
- 72 grams confectioners' sugar 3/4 c
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 egg beaten, for egg wash
- 170 grams 70% bittersweet chocolate 6 oz.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 small egg
- 8 ounces strawberries
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, confectioners' sugar and salt. Cut butter into small pieces. With your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until you have coarse crumbs.
Beat the egg with a fork in a small bowl, then add to the mixture. Mix with your hands until the dough just comes together. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.
Once chilled, put the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap, placing another sheet on top. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Lift the top sheet of plastic wrap off the dough, and carefully invert the crust into a tart pan. Lift off the second sheet of plastic wrap and press the dough into the bottom of the pan.
Cut off the excess dough by running a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan (if your dough has any cracks, you can fill them in using the excess dough). Chill in tart pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cut out parchment paper into a large circle. Line the tart shell with parchment, and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and pie weights and bake for another 5 minutes.
Brush the tart shell all over with egg wash. Bake for 5-7 minutes longer, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let tart shell cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Finely chop chocolate and place in a glass bowl.
On the stove, combine the cream, milk and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Once just at boiling, remove from heat and pour the hot liquid over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds to begin melting the chocolate. Mix with a spatula until the mixture is smooth.
Let mixture cool to lukewarm, then mix in the egg. (Note: I used what was left of my large egg used for the tart shell egg wash, since I didn't have a small egg).
Pour the filling into the baked tart shell.
Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set. It should look like pudding, and move as one solid mass when the pan is gently shaken. Let the tart cool to room temperature. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.
Once cool, unmold the tart. Arrange strawberries on top of the tart. (If using smaller strawberries, leave them whole. For larger strawberries, cut them into halves or quarters).
The tart is best served at room temperature on the day it is made (so you have my full permission to eat the entire thing in one sitting!) 😉