There are times when I want to make something really indulgent, and really simple. You know, a dessert that won’t mess up every pot, pan, bowl and whisk in my kitchen and leave me with bits of
meringue and melted chocolate in my hair. This warm chocolate tart, created by pastry chef François Payard, fits the bill perfectly. Years ago, I worked on François’ first book, Simply Sensational
Desserts (Broadway Books, 1999), rewriting and testing all the recipes, and this was one of my favorites. François’ tart dough, made in the food processor with flour, confectioners’ sugar, a whole
egg and lots of butter, is very easy to work with and doesn’t crumble when you slice it, which is a big plus. The filling is an unfussy combination of melted bittersweet chocolate (I used a good quality
60% variety), cream, milk and egg. It’s baked for a short time and should be served warm, with either ice cream or whipped cream. Thank you, François, it’s delicious.
François Payard’s Warm Chocolate Tart
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Sweet Tart Dough:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (122 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 ¾ cups (254 g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
9 tablespoons (127 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
8 ounces (227 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup (174 g) heavy cream
½ cup (121 g) whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Make the dough:
1. Sift together the confectioners’ sugar, flour and salt into a bowl.
2. Place the butter in a food processor and process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scatter the flour mixture over the butter, add the egg, and process just until the dough forms a mass; do not overmix. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in two. Shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften. Lightly butter a 9 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
4. Dust a work surface lightly with flour. Dust one of the discs lightly with flour and roll it out to a rough 12-inch circle. Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and gently unroll it over the prepared pan. Press the dough into the pan and roll the pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over a with a fork. Chill the tart shell for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a piece of aluminum foil large enough to generously line the tart pan. Line the tart shell with the foil, buttered side down, and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking for 7 to 9 minutes longer, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
Make the filling:
6. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
7. Combine the cream and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 1 minute to the melt the chocolate, then whisk until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
8. Whisk the egg into the chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the tart shell. Bake the tart for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the filling are set; the center will still be soft. Cool the tart on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve warm with ice cream.
Note: you can make a the tart ahead and refrigerate it. Reheat it in a 200°F oven for about 10 minutes before serving.