Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tarte Noire


One of the many things I love about Tuesdays with Dorie is that we make lots of recipes I never would have thought would be good and others which I would have thought were too hard for me. This tarte noire was one of the later. I've enjoyed slivers of deep, dark chocolate tarts in Paris and was in love since the very first one I had.

It was our first trip to Paris and we were still in that first year where you fight a lot have many misunderstandings. We'd had a fight difference of opinion and I stormed out of the hotel and set off walking. I walked all over Paris and in my ultimate act of defiance, I went to La Maison du Chocolat alone. I spied these mini chocolate tarts and I had to have one. Even though I was angry, I wanted to take something back for M., so I asked for four rochers. I was showing off, using the twelve words of French that I know, so I was quite shocked when she handed me a bag with four rocher that were larger than golf balls instead of the tiny bon bons I thought I'd asked for. One of the pitfalls of pretending you speak a language that you don't is you get things you didn't ask for and you have neither the nerve to admit you made a mistake nor the words to ask for what you really wanted. So I headed back to the hotel with the huge chocolate golf balls. I had no idea what kind of mood M. would be in (though, truth be told, his moods were far more rational than mine) but having scarfed down my mini chocolate tart, I was ready to find out.

He had gone out after I stormed out, and at the little grocery store across from our hotel he found pear/peach flavored bottled water that he knew I'd like. So he bought it for me. I gave him the rochers and he gave me the waters, and all was good with the world. Those rochers remain one of our favorite things. The water only lasted a few years before the store stopped stocking it. To this day, neither of us can remember what we argued about.

I always thought chocolate tarts were difficult. Tart shells don't like me. Dorie's tart crust, supposedly easy to pat in the tart pan, only highlights my inability to do anything evenly. A while ago I saw Deb's post that she solved that problem by adding the whole egg, not just the yolk, to the dough. Eureka! This enabled me to roll out the tart shell and get the flat bottom and sharp sides I had been missing.

Look at those sharp sides and even bottom!

The star of the tart is the filling. Use your very best chocolate because that is where your flavor is coming from. I gradually heat the cream rather than cranking it up to high to avoid breakage. Stir the ganache from the center and slowly. I thought I'd get creative and make a swirl pattern in my tart so I let it set a little before attacking it with a palette knife. BIG MISTAKE. Some of the chocolate had started setting and my swirl made it look grainy. Panicked, I heat an offset spatula over the flame of a burner and reswirled the top until the chocolate had smoothed out.

This tart was a huge hit at work. It was cruel of me to take 3/4 of a 9 inch tart for 60 people, but I had to get it out of the house. Our host this week is the fabulous Jessica of bliss: towards a delicious life. I love reading Jessica's blog because she can write, unlike my stream-of-consciousness babbling. Thanks, Jessica, for bringing back a great memory and helping me overcome my tart shell demons.

If you'd like the recipe for this delectable tart, Jessica has it for you here. But really, you should buy the book everyone is talking about, Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I was a decent baker before I joined TWD, but the things I've made from this book in the last almost-two years have honed my skills considerably.

NOTE:  If you'd like to see the ethereal tarte noir from La Maison du Chocolat, stop over at Nancy's. She included a photo in her post.

19 comments:

Susan said...

What a beautiful tart crust! :)

Thanks for sharing the memory. My hubby and I are getting ready to celebrate 20 years on the 20th. :) This tart will make a good anniversary dessert. (Great excuse to make it again!)

AmyRuth said...

Leslie, I stopped by earlier and discovered you knew Dharma girl's proper name, which led me back to her blog. Oops, I'm back, and goodness knows you now have no battles with that tart shell. Wow, the first thing I noticed in your photo was the perfect 90 degree angle. "How cool!" I loved this tart, duh. Its cocolate perfection. Made with your favorite chocolate. I must expand my horizons and discover some new chocolates. Have you tried the beautiful packaged variety of chocolates made by Amedei chocolate makers? Such a great example of cocoa origins. Nicely done.
AmyRuth

Clivia said...

Oh Paris. I always seem to moon over stories of Paris. By the time my hubby takes me there, I'm sure all the fight will have gone out of me.
Your tarte looks delicious and that crust perfect.

Hanaâ said...

Cute story, Leslie. Made me giggle. I'm glad some rochers and flavored water fixed everything :o) Onto your tart... it's gorgeous. The filling is luscious and the tart shell is ever so neat and pretty. Thanks for sharing the "whole egg" trick. Will have to try it next time.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your tarte look beautiful! Tarte crust I can manage but pie crusts are my nemesis.

Hanaâ said...

Your tart has captured my imagination, haha. And so I'm back for another comment. I couldn't help but think that this would be delicious with a thin layer of caramel below the ganache too.

Jennifer said...

I love living vicariously through others-I've never been to Paris-but have always wanted to go.

Your tart looks amazing! That crust is so thick!

Amber Marie said...

Lovely Paris story. It's funny the things that stand out as the important ones. :) Congrats on your crust - I'll have to remember to add the whole egg!

mikejdunlap said...

Great story - panicked over the temperature of chocolate (been there)! Looks wonderful and wickedly "sharp" - just as it should!

mike
TWD blog
web.me.com/mikejdunlap

Valerie said...

I love reading about experiences in Paris! Thank you for sharing yours. Your tart is perfect! Congratulations on the crust. :D

Di said...

Great story, Leslie! I'm sure most of us have similar moments from those early years. =) Your tart looks lovely.

Cakelaw said...

Bravo on your perfect pie crust!!! I of the shabby frozen shortcrust cardboard crust salute you. Must remember the whole egg trick. It's weird how we argue over the small stuff - but we all do it. And you are both sweet for buying the other a make-up present. Your tart turned out wonderfully - even if I only got 1 sixtieth of it, I'd love it.

Chef Dennis said...

Paris was my wife and my first trip together....it will always be my favortie city! YOur tarte noire looks amazing....what a perfect recreation of a timeless classic!
Dennis

Peggy said...

What a wonderful tart and perfect crust! I hope you had a nice holiday weekend. I am just now posting the vanilla cake so I am running a little behind due to the holiday. Maybe I can do it perfectly after reading about all of yours and learning from you - the best!

Kayte said...

Gave you a shout out on my blog post about that whole egg thing, worked wonders for me. Your tart looks perfect! Bet you can guess what is on top of mine...guys here are so predictable. Loved the story of you in Paris with M.

Mags said...

Picture perfect!

jillbert said...

Your tart looks like a work of art! I enjoyed your story about Paris, even though it was about an argument!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Great story, Leslie! My husband and I had an epic fight in Salzburg; I remember walking that one off also. So funny to think about now. Chocolate tart and rochers sound like great balms to me!

Thanks for pointing me to La Maison du Chocolate; we are rationing out our purchase there!

Lovely tarte noir, and how fab that you've now unlocked the secret to a perfect tart crust.

Lauryn said...

Aww, what a cute story! I love how all you needed was food and beverage in order to make up! Your tart looks gorgeous! Love your photos!!