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Chocolate Tart for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2009 | Desserts, Tarts

I’m a firm believer of cooking for Valentine’s day instead of going to a restaurant, and true to form I’m hosting my own Valentine’s Day dinner party tomorrow night for eight. I was hoping to have this chocolate tart recipe complete by today so I could fully photograph it for you, but I’ve been on a whirlwind of cooking events this week – two group lessons on fish and vegetables for 16 women, a private group of 8 for a Thai dinner class, my first Operation Frontline Eating Right class for 16 of the women in the Tooley Hall (part of the prison system), an Asian cooking dinner party for 10, and tonight a special Italian cooking dinner party for 15. So here’s the recipe without many photos – sorry! Begin by making the crust first (I actually think that photo above is a different type of crust, but use your imagination!). Then make sure to only use the best chocolate – Whole Foods has some great ones. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Crust
Serves 8-16 (it’s rich!)

1 egg white, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
Hazelnut crust, recipe follows

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle, then transfer it to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, making sure to press dough into the fluted edges of the pan. Trim excess dough and discard. Place crust in refrigerator for 30 minutes to relax or up to 24 hours (wrap in plastic wrap if leaving more than 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet, line crust with aluminum foil and pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and beans, then brush bottom of crust with egg white. Return to oven and bake until the crust is just barely light golden brown, about 8 to 10 more minutes. Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat just until it simmers at the edges. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate, and stir until melted and combine. Add sugar and salt and whisk until combined. Beat the eggs in a small bowl before adding to the chocolate, whisking to incorporate. Pour filling into the pre-baked tart shell and bake until set and the surface is glossy, about 20 minutes. (Remove immediately if you see any cracks in the surface of the tart.) Cool completely before cutting.

Hazelnut Crust
Makes one 11 inch tart crust

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup hazelnuts, dry-roasted, skin removed and finely ground
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Combine butter and sugar in a mixer and beat mix on low until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low until incorporated. Add ground hazelnuts and mix until incorporated, then add flour a little at a time until combined. Remove dough, divide in two, and shape into flat disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour and up to 24 before using. Before rolling, remove from refrigerate and bring to room temperature for 20 minutes.

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