Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

(I might have a better image on another computer, sorry for the blur!)

Another birthday, another tart. Actually, there were two birthdays in my circle last week, but the peanut butter chocolate cake has already made an appearance on this blog. There's a carrot cake coming really soon, I have promised it to someone. Good thing, too, I still don't think I've had enough practice for mom's wedding!

The tart crust is based on a basic French pastry crust, and maybe it still is that, but I switched from heavy cream to buttermilk and it turns out somewhere between pastry and shortbread. And I am pretty sure I've been slightly under-cooking it. Whatever I've been doing, it's been delicious, so you should try it - with whatever filling you want. The first time I made this shell, I filled it with caramelized thin-sliced fuji apples. I didn't get a chance to photograph that one. These things happen often when it comes to desserts...

Shortbread Pastry Tart Crust
1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon buttermilk*

In a medium or large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with a hand mixer on low. Add the egg yolk and beat in until combined, then mix in half of the flour. Add the other half of the flour, then the buttermilk. Lay a cookie-sheet-sized sheet of wax paper out and dump the dough onto the center of it. Place another sheet of wax paper on top and flatten to about 1/4" thick. Set this on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer and let it rest a minute before peeling off one layer of paper. Gently roll the dough around a rolling pin and remove the backing, then carefully unroll it over the tart pan. Press it into place and put it back in the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden around the edges. I remove it from the oven halfway through and press a round cake pan into it to create a nice shape. (This can also be achieved with pie weights, or by lining the tart with parchment or aluminum foil and filling it with uncooked rice.) Let cool mostly before filling.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart Filling

8 oz baking chocolate, chopped
3/4 stick unsalted butter
pinch of salt
dash of vanilla
2 tablespoons agave nectar or corn syrup
1/3 to 1/2 cup rasbperry jam (or any other flavor)

In a double boiler with barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, butter and agave nectar.
Spread the jam around the bottom of the tart shell, then slowly, gently pour the chocolate over it as evenly as possible. It helps to pour in a circular motion and spread it with a rubber spatula.
Assemble raspberries on top.
Set in the fridge or freezer to set.

*milk + lemon juice = you don't have to buy buttermilk.