Baking has taught me a lot about failure. For every complicated recipe I manage to nail on the first try, there are at least three flops on the other end of the scale. And with baking, all of your failures are very physically present, sitting on the counter in front of you, challenging you to take another bite (maybe it’ll taste better on the second tasting?), or to toss the whole thing (which always requires explanations to those you live with).
With tantrums in the kitchen and half-cooked food thrown out, flops in the kitchen are an inevitable, if unenjoyable, part of baking.
This tart made its first appearance at my niece’s first birthday party. I was taking care of everything that had to do with the dessert table. But before I say anything else, I have to set the mood a bit. It was late July/early August, in Mediterranean summer heat, and Lebanon was going through an unprecedented heat wave. I was working in a kitchen that wasn’t mine, with limited equipment.
Fail one: The first batch of cupcakes overflowed in the pan because I wasn’t used o the oven. Thankfully the second batch turned out perfect.
Fail two: The tart dough would not hold its shape. The heat melted the butter the second my fingers touched it, which made it impossible to actually form a dough since it was sticking all over the place.
After drowning in a puddle of my own sweat and tears, I decided to let the dough rest in the fridge and deal with it the next day. Which I did. I added a bit of flout to the dough, and worked right under the air conditioner. And MAGIC! It worked beautifully, and everyone was fighting for the last piece, which I sneakily managed to hide and saved it for myself.
Fast forward to last week. It was National Chocolate Day, and I conveniently had the day off, and that tart was still lurking in the back of my mind. I had to make sure it was as good as I remembered it. But I did take a few precautions before starting the dough. 1) since I live in the desert, I turned on the AC at its lowest to avoid any melting dough. 2) I cut the butter into small cubes and used it straight out of the freezer.
Et voila, it was as just as perfect as the first time I made it, minus the nerve wrecking almost fail. Of course my impatience had to kick in, and I managed to take a slice out of it before it completely set, but you can’t blame me, the dense smell of chocolate was filling the entire house!
I also made a couple Halloween themed mini tarts. I can see this recipe popping up a lot of times in the near future.
(This picture was taken off my Instagram account, feel free to follow @RouSweetCorner :))
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Tart
For the dough
- 320g plain flour
- 60g cocoa
- 160g caster sugar
- Pinch salt
- 160g cold butter, diced
- 1 eggs
- 1 tsp Almond Essence (you can use vanilla, but I like the slight bitterness almond gives)
For the Chocolate Ganache
- 300 ml double cream
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- A pinch of fine sea salt
- 50 g unsalted butter , softened
- 200 g 70% bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt), broken into small pieces
- 50 ml whole milk
Start out by making the dough.
- Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and essence and process until dough just starts to come together.
- Turn on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes to rest.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Roll out the pastry about 3mm thick. Line a round tart tin with a removable base with the pastry and trim any excess. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
- Bake for around 10 minutes until firm to touch. Take out and let it cool while you prepare the chocolate ganache.
For the Ganache:
- Put the cream, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove as soon as the mixture boils up. Off the heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth.
- Take a couple of minutes to let the mixture settle down a bit, then stir in the milk. Keep stirring till shiny. Pour into the tart shell and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to set.