I decided to take a break from my British baking craze this week but wanted to stay with my tart theme so I opted for a few easy to make chocolate tarts. As I have noted many times, as I have gotten older I have lost my penchant for chocolate. Other than an occasional craving for a Milky Way or Heath bar or a Cadbury creme egg at Easter I rarely bake many chocolate desserts these days or order it in restaurants. It just always seems to be too heavy and cloying to my palette these days. That doesn’t mean however that I don’t like it, I do, just crave it a lot less often.
This cream tart is about as easy as it gets. It has a standard crumb crust which uses chocolate wafers in place of the traditional graham crackers. So it’s just chocolate cookie crumbs, some sugar and a little melted butter. It gets pressed evenly into a 9 inch tart pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes and then cooled.
The filling is very easy. It is nothing but a standard creme pat recipe. Make the creme pat and once it thickens add chocolate and allow it to bubble for a few minutes until it is very thick. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a few minutes and then stir in your flavoring. I used bourbon here. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, cover with plastic wrap which is set directly on the filling to prevent a skin. Chill it for several hours or preferably overnight. Decorate with whipped cream and chocolate.
Ordinarily to decorate things like this I would just shave curls off of a block of chocolate but it seems my local supplier has stopped carrying it year round so I was forced to temper the chocolate and do the decor by hand. In all honesty, tempering chocolate is one of my least favorite baking chores. It seems that no matter what method I use be it seeding, temperature, stirring, the chocolate always seems to go out of temper as I am working with it and I end up having to do it several times to get what I need. I watched Jacques Torres do it on tv just the other day. He literally melted the chocolate, gave it a quick stir and proclaimed it in temper. Then he spread it on a marble, dragged his palette knife across it a few times and ended up with a pile of perfectly formed curls. I just had to shake my head and laugh. I have been doing it that way for years and 9 times out of 10 I end up with a pile of goo and melted chocolate up to my elbows. At one point back in the 90s I thought about buying a chocolate tempering machine so that when things went wrong I could just blame it on the machine. I usually end up with something usable and once it is on the dessert no one can ever tell that it wasn’t what you had in mind so I have stopped worrying about it.