Although I have spent the past year up to my ears in pie, I have not been inspired to make a tart. Tarts just seem so high maintenance – so pristine with their tight little crumb and perfectly filled shells. It’s like they are the fancy older sister of pie. The one from the Upper East Side, with a big job and a crisp, pressed suit who comes home to see the crunchy little sister with the non-profit job who lives in t-shirts and jeans. To me, that’s the difference between a tart and a pie.
My time to conquer the tart has come with the latest Tuesdays With Dorie challenge: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets. You can find the recipe at the site of one this week’s hosts: Spike.does.stuff. You can also visit Tuesdays With Dorie to see how others fared.
I have to be honest – this challenge came very close to squashing my dreams of perfecting the art of French pastry. I came out of the gate strong, making a chocolate dough for the tart shell. Flour – check. Really good cocoa – check. Sugar – check. 5 Tablespoons of butter – FAIL. It was supposed to be 8.
See, the recipe for the chocolate dough was on a different page than the tart recipe. Midway through the dough, my page flipped back to the main tart recipe and I read 5T of butter from the chocolate filling recipe on accident. I was totally oblivious to this, even as I dumped a dry pile of crumbs onto my work surface. Honestly, did I really think this mess was going to form into dough? Yes, I did.
I knew something wasn’t right when the recipe instructed me to do the French fraisage technique to bring the dough together. Little by little, you take your crumbs and with the heel of your hand, smear it across the work surface to stretch the butter. This is supposed to create a delicate, flaky dough. But, when you have not used enough butter, this technique is nearly impossible. Rather than create a delicate dough, you just make your hand sore and sprain your finger from all the poking and patting (seriously).
I was determined to not let this dough get the best of me. I smooshed, I smeared, I was the definition of overworking the dough. I was still clueless to the fact that I was missing 3 Tablespoons of butter. I refrigerated the dough and returned to prepare the tart pans. What I pulled out of the refrigerator was not dough – it was a hard, dry hunk of chocolate something. I broke it into as equal pieces as possible, but I was certain that I was not doing Julia Child proud.
I was too far into this to turn back. Using all of my strength, I tamped out circles with a rolling pin and lined the pans with dough. By the end, I was feeling like there was hope left for these to be edible.
I baked the shells and turned my attention to the filling. This recipe is not for the person who just kind of likes chocolate. This is a prove your devotion to chocolate, beyond chocoholic recipe. Not only is there a chocolate crust, but there are three types of chocolate – bittersweet, milk and white chocolate. Not to mention 8 egg yolks.
I combined the melted chocolate with the whipped egg yolks, chopped chocolate and chopped biscotti and spooned the mixture into the cooled tart shells.
After the tarts were baked and cooled, I removed them from their pans. The result was better than I expected. They stayed in tact and made for a very pretty presentation. The taste? Well, the crust was pretty good considering the butter issue. But to be honest, these were way too chocolatey for me. I liked the rich taste and the chunks of the biscotti, but two bites was more than enough. I just know there’s a chocolate fanatic out there that would love these!