Chocolate Cream Tart is Cookies and Cream all grown up.
This chocolate cream tart reminded me of cookies and cream brought down from heaven, or, an oreo cookie all grown up.
It begins with a chocolate shortbread crust, which I was reluctant to make, fearing this would be just too much chocolate. In fact, I only made two smaller tarts, a half recipe, thinking I might even give one to my neighbor. But, that didn’t happen. These were just too good to give away, making this my very favorite Dorie Greenspan recipe so far. I will make this again and again.
The good news is that this chocolate cream tart is easy, and can be done in steps. You can make the chocolate shortbread crust ahead and freeze it, and make the pastry cream up to three days in advance.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I forgot the butter)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s dark)
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- 9 tablespoons cold butter (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- Bring milk to boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until well-blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk to will temper, or warm, the yolks so they don't curdle.
- Add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
- Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
- Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Whisk in butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard or, if you want to cool the custard quickly.
- Put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the custard occasionally until it is fully chilled, about 20 minutes.
- When you are ready to assemble the tart, whisk the chocolate cream vigorously to loosen it and to bring back its velvety texture. Spoon the cream into the tart shell, stopping just short of the crust's rim (you may have some left over) — you want to leave room for the topping. Smooth the top and, if you are not serving the tart immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the cream and refrigerate the tart until needed (or up to 6 hours).
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks.
- Spread the whipped cream over the tart and smooth it with a metal icing spatula or, if you prefer swirls, go for them. Serve the tart now or refrigerate it for up to 2 hours before serving. When you are ready to serve the tart, scatter chocolate shavings or curls over the top or, if you'd prefer, lightly dust the top with cocoa powder.
- Put the flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.
- When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
- Press the dough into the buttered pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
- To partially or fully bake the crust:
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius, Gas Mark 5).
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust as necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
- To fully bake the crust:
- Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Keep a close eye on the crust's progress — it can get too dark in a flash. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.