The wind whistled as it made its way around the house. Tiny cracks where the storm windows no longer fit snugly, let in some of the cool outside air. After a sudden drop in temperature, the old furnace kicked into motion though, it would be some time before the radiators caught up. When we awoke, the trees were bare. Still green leaves littered the ground. We went from summer to winter, overnight.
Rather than welcoming sweater weather, we pull out winter boots, scarves, heavy mittens, toques, snow pants and parkas. These items will comprise our outerwear uniform until March. The change means more time inside. Time to read, snuggle under a blanket and just go about life a bit differently. Cravings for hot drinks and soups to warm our insides. Sunday roasts and warm bread slathered in butter. A change in palette that categorizes creaminess and decadence in foods as more appealing.
Chocolate fits the bill. Dark chocolate, of course. Rich and complex with serotonin enhancing properties. If chocolate were to have a season, I think it would start about now and end sometime in March. Would you agree?
Chocolate can be a daunting ingredient to work with. Good quality chocolate is expensive and must be carefully watched when melting. Too much heat and it stiffens or splits. I write this not to scare you off but rather to admit to chocolate failures in my baking. This tart is easy though and you won’t run the risk of overheating or over-mixing the chocolate. The combination of ganache and tart raspberries adds a lovely finish to a warm, weekend meal. It is relatively quick to whip up if you have some pre-made sweet pastry in the refrigerator or freezer.
Fudgy Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
Makes: 1 20 cm (8-inch) tart which serves 6-8
Time: Sweet Pastry 1.5 hours + Prep and Baking time (45 min) + Cooling time (1 hour)
Removable bottom tart tin/pan
Food processor to make the caster sugar
¼ cup (50 g) caster sugar*
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup 2 tbsp (100 g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup minus 2 tsp (66 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (220 g) whipping cream
225 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), chopped
1 ¼ cups (150 g) fresh raspberries
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder to finish
1. Mix the sugar and egg yolk with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Add the butter and blend on low using a hand mixer. Sift the flour and salt over the mixture. Incorporate using a wooden spoon.
2. Once the majority of the flour is mixed in, use your hands to quickly shape the dough into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour or, up to 5 days.
Assembly and Filling
1. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and let it warm up for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until it is 4mm thick. Brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Transfer the pastry to the loose-bottomed tart tin by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Gently, release the pastry from the rolling pin and line the tin, pressing the dough into the edges. Trim off excess pastry with a knife or by rolling your rolling pin over top of the tin (see this video from Le Cordon Bleu). Chill the pastry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the pastry with aluminum foil and fill with ceramic baking beans, uncooked pantry beans or rice. Bake blind** for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully, pick up the aluminum foil wrapped beans and set to the side. Bake the pastry for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before adding the filling.
3. Make the filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the whipping cream and bring to a near-boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk the butter-whipping cream together and then add the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for several minutes then stir until you have a smooth ganache. If the mixture seems thin, allow to cool.
4. Pour enough ganache into the pastry to coat the bottom. Evenly assemble the raspberries in the tart. Slowly and evenly pour the remaining ganache into the tart base and level with a palette knife.
5. (Optional) To add decoration, you may wish to place a stencil over top of the tart. Add a dusting of dark cocoa powder and then carefully remove the stencil. Refrigerate to set. It should be firm before it is taken out of the refrigerator and served.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve small slices after a dinner party to really wow your guests.
* Caster sugar is not easily purchased in Canadian grocery stores. Caster sugar has a finer grain than granulated sugar but is a bit coarser than icing (powdered) sugar. Make your own caster sugar by placing granulated sugar in a food processor. Blend or pulse until it reaches a finer consistency. Store excess caster sugar in a sealed container.
**Blind baking refers to baking a pie crust without the filling. This technique is commonly used in French patisserie and prevents the crust from becoming soggy.
Adapted from Konditor & Cook by Gerhard Jenne.