Monday, April 18, 2011

Chocolate Tart with Candied Cranberries

You know you're in love with chocolate when you’re sitting alone at the kitchen table eating a mini chocolate cranberry tart at midnight. The clock strikes twelve and the new day begins. The world is sleeping, but you’re awake, indulging in a tartlet so divine and rich that the world could end tomorrow (or rather, later that day), and your life would be complete.

I don’t normally eat so late at night, but I had to make an exception for this lovely chocolate tartlet.  The mini tart is the perfect one-serving size under normal circumstances, but a little too large for a midnight snack. I could almost feel my waistband expanding by just looking at the chocolate tartlet, but I didn’t care. I’ll eat half and save the rest for tomorrow, I thought naively.

My eyes closed as I bit into the mini chocolate cranberry tart. The tart shell, crisp and rich, was the perfect base to a creamy chocolate filling. Hiding underneath the deep chocolate filling were candied cranberries. The tartness of the cranberries hit my taste buds and cut through the richness of the filling; a perfect balance.

Eating only half was out of the question. 

Click below for the recipe.

Chocolate Tart with Candied Cranberries

Adapted from: Bon Appetit, December 1999
Yield: 10 servings

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons (about) ice water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream
  • 10 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
Candied Cranberries:
  • non-stick vegetable oil spray
  • 8 ounces frozen cranberries, thawed
  • ¼ cup sugar

For the crust, blend flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.

Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don`t have a food processor, you can cut the butter in with a fork or with your fingers.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 ½ tablespoons water, egg yolk, and vanilla. 

Add the liquid and blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by ½ tablespoons if dry. (I had to add 2 extra tablespoons of water.) Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead; let soften before rolling out.) 

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 13- to 14-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut dough overhang to ¾ inch; fold over-hang in a press, forming sides that extend ¼ inch about top of pan. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze for 15 minutes. 

I had enough dough left over to make an extra mini tart. Perfect for a midnight snack to give away. 

Line the tart shell with a double-thickness of foil. Place pie weights on top of the tart shell and bake crust for 15 minutes. Or use dried beans like I did.

Remove the pie weights and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until crust begins to brown. Cool on rack.  

For candied cranberries, preheat oven to 375F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. Toss cranberries and sugar in a medium bowl to blend. 

Spread out mixture on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Using metal spatula, stir the berries gently. Bake until berries are thawed and most sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes longer. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes.

Spoon berries into bottom of tart shell; drizzle with syrup from sheet. 

If you don't have fresh or frozen cranberries, you can use dried cranberries. Just skip the candied cranberry steps and put the dried cranberries in the tart shell.  

In a heavy medium saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour filling over candied cranberries. Garnish with fresh cranberries. Refrigerate until filling is firm, at least 2 hours and up to a day. 

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