This past Sunday I decided to make a FEAST for Easter. My roommate, her boyfriend and I enjoyed a delicious entree of cheddar mashed potatoes with lamb stew and an impromptu peach and apple sangria. No truly amazing meal can ever be complete without at least a little something sweet to finish it off. By now I'm sure most of you are aware that I'm not that big of a dessert person, but I do have my cravings every once in a while, which is where this recipe comes into play.
One of the things that I've found interesting about culinary school is that the measurements for most recipes are by weight (pounds, ounces, grams, etc.) as opposed to the more standard volume units (cups mostly) that the common cook is used to. What I've taken away from this is that weight measurements are much more precise and useful when it comes to baking. For example, a cup of sifted flour is quite different than the same volume when unsifted. Enter the usefulness (and some might even say necessity) of a food scale! (See below for details on the giveaway.)
Let's start with a great pastry dough that I learned in school. Its called pate sucree, and is a slightly sweet dough that is good as your standard pie or tart crust. Another great thing I've discovered is that it freezes wonderfully!
Pate Sucree Ingredients:
- 200 grams flour
- 30 grams sugar
- pinch (~5 grams) salt
- 100 grams cold, cubed butter
- 1 egg
- cold water (if needed)
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. You can do this by hand or use a food processor. You should keep going until the largest pieces are no bigger than a pea.
- Incorporate the egg until dough just begins to come together. If too dry, then add a few drops of cold water to the dough.
- You can then use a fancy technique called fraisage to bring everything together, or you can just keep mixing until you see it forming a ball in the machine. Be careful to work it to much.
- Form the dough into a disc and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest. (Resting is important when working with doughs.)
- 1 pie shell crust (from above or store bought)
- 1 lb of dried beans (any bean will do)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs (separated)
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups milk
- pinch of salt
- powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and begin rolling out your pastry dough. Place in your tart mold and place in the refrigerator to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Use the beans to fill the tart shell (be sure to put a layer of parchment paper or plastic wrap underneath so you can remove them later) and bake for 20 minutes. This technique is called blind baking (since the filling isn't in yet) - it is good for dishes that won't be cooked very long or for those with very wet fillings.
- Remove from the oven and take out the beans. (FYI - You can't really use these beans for anything else anymore besides tasks such as this.) Allow to cool and now it's time to start on the filling.
- Beat 3/4 cup of sugar with the egg yolks until they turn a pale yellow.
- Separately, begin whipping the egg whites and slowly add the other 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. (You're gonna need a lot of bowls for this recipe.)
- Heat the milk in a saucepan and then pour over the chocolate chips to melt. Stir together and add in the pinch of salt.
- Combine the egg yolks and chocolate. Then fold in the egg whites. Pour into the tart shell (there will be excess filling, so this recipe should probably be scaled down a bit...) and bake for about 30 minutes. The dessert is done when there is little-to-no more jiggle left (i.e. shake the tart pan to see the looseness of the filling).
- Allow to cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Want to take a bite?
OXO Food Scale Giveaway!
Enter here (competition is now closed) for your chance to win a 5lb food scale from OXO and The Hungry Hutch. One entry per person by using the online form. You can earn an additional entry into the sweepstakes by following me on Twitter and tweeting the following message: "Enter for a chance to win a food scale from @thehungryhutch and @OXO here: http://www.thehungryhutch.com/2012/04/dark-chocolate-tart-plus-giveaway.html", and then leave a comment on this post with a link to your twitter post. The drawing closes April 30, 2012 at midnight EST.