Hello out there! I've missed you so!
This has been one of the longest stretches I've gone without blogging, and I'm beyond happy to be back. It's been so nutty around here that I even forgot about my 2-year blogiversary a couple of weeks ago. We're gradually settling into our new life in the San Francisco Bay Area, and so far it's been nothing short of blissful.
One of the best things about living here is the stunning produce. We didn't have it too badly up in Oregon, but there's nothing quite like California fruit. I took advantage of my new-found loot last week to make a tart for Andy's birthday. He requested chocolate and more chocolate, and the intensity of the pastry cream combined with the shortbread crust packed a powerful chocolatey punch.
I'm so giddy to have my kitchen back and a whole new foodie world at my fingertips. Thanks for bearing with me during this time of transition!
Chocolate Fruit Tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the Chocolate Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
Pinch of salt
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature
For the Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tbsp (9 tbsp) very cold or frozen unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Fresh fruit for topping
Make the Chocolate Pastry Cream:
1. Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and well-blended. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm the yolks so they don't curdle-- then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
3. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly, and thoroughly, bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1-2 minutes, then remove pan from the heat.
4. Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until cold.
Make the Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
5. Put the flour, cocoa, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in-- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
6. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses-- about 10 seconds each-- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change-- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
7. Press the dough into a buttered 9-inch fluted tart pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.
8. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 33 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
9. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
10. Once the tart is cool, remove outer ring of the pan and place on a serving dish. Fill crust with the chilled chocolate pastry cream (if it's difficult to work with, let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature to take the chill off) and smooth the cream.
11. Top with fresh seasonal fruits and berries. Enjoy!