Whenever I need a chocolate fix, I either turn to a fine chocolatier’s products (here and here) or to Jacqueline Bellefontaine‘s What’s Cooking Chocolate (here, here and here), or François Payard‘s Chocolate Epiphany (here and here) and others, for an incredible recipe featuring that delicacy as a main ingredient.
Last evening I made another of Pâtissier Payard‘s recipes, from his Chocolate Epiphany and, as expected, it was superb… From page 136
Chocolate Meringue Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart; serves 8-10
I created this tart with one of my childhood favorites in mind: lemon meringue tart. They obviously share technique rather than flavor; both are made with a buttery dough and a thick , fluffy meringue. The filling is simple, to allow the dark chocolate flavor to come through. In addition to the two methods for covering the filling with meringue described below, you can pipe it in nickel-size mounds, pulling the pastry bag straight up to form small peaks, as pictured.
- 10 ounces 60% chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces), unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- One 9-inch tart shell made from Sweet Tart Dough***, fully baked and cooled
Make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pourr the hot cream over the chocolater, and mix until smooth. Add the butter and stir until it has completely incorporated.
Make the meringue: Fill a medium pot one-third full of water and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
Whisk together the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Reduce the heat to low and place the bowl over the pot, making sure that it is not touching the water. Whisk continuously until the mixture is hot and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, place the bowl in the mixer, and fit it with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until the whites hold stiff peaks and are cool.
Assemble the tart: Pour the warm chocolate filling into the tart shell, stopping about 1/8 inch from the top. Refrigerate the tart until the chocolate is set, 15 to 30 30 minutes.
With a spatula, spread the meringue over the ganache , creating a slight mound. For a fancier finish, fill a pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag with the meringue. Cut a 1/2-inch opening in the tip or corner, and pipe the meringue in a spiral over the top of the filling.
Brown the top of the meringue with a small blowtorch, or by placing the tart in a preheated 500 F oven for 1 to 2 minutes.
***Sweet Tart Dough
This dough is also known as pâte sucree. It works with most tarts, since there are few things thatcan’t be complemented by its rich, buttery taste. Freeze it, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap., for up to one month, and thaw it out in the refrigerator. You can also place it in a tart shell, wrap it and freeze it in the tart shell. Make individual tarts by using small fluted tart pans (four-inch molds are perfect).
- 4 sticks (1 pound), unsalted butter (or unsalted margarine, for a parve version), at room temperature
- 1 cup, and 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Make the dough: Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until they are fully combined.
With the motor running, incorporate the egg yolks and the egg one at a time. Do not add an egg until the previous one is completely incorporated. Add the flou, and mix until everything is incorporated and the dough is smooth.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until it is completely chilled, at least 1 to 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Prepare a tart shell: Brush the sides and bottom of a fluted 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, with butter.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in all directions until it forms a circle about 1/4 inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. Drape the dough over the rolling pan, and unroll it over the the pan. Gently press the dough into the pan, making sure it fits snugly. Roll the the pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Dock (prick)_ the dough with a fork. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, to let the dough rest.
Partially bake the tart shell: Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place a circle of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the for 12 minutes, until the tart turns slightly golden and is about three quarters of the way done. Let it cool in the pan in a wire cooling rack.
Fully bake the tart shell: Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 F.
Place a circle of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, remove the paper and the weights and continue baking for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!