Archive for the ‘pies/tarts’ Category

I was all set to post the recipe for Snickerdoodles (thought it was about time given the name of my blog), but I made this last night and it was so delicious, I wanted to write about it first. This tart is fabulous, easy, and will receive rave reviews (and recipe requests) by whomever tries it. I took this into work today and we were all trying to find the perfect descriptors for it. The best thing we could come up with – and even it falls short – is the best brownie batter you have ever had complimented by a buttery crust. If ever there was a dessert I could sit down and eat in its entirety, this is it. I can see it as the perfect compliment to any dinner and paired with a great glass of pinot noir or rich coffee. Make this RIGHT NOW!

This recipe comes from my new cookbook The Pastry Queen.  Along with some scrumptious Texas-sized recipes, the book chronicles the comings and goings of the regulars to Rebecca Rather’s Texas bakery, Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe.  She has created this wonderful meeting place for the locals in Fredricksburg, TX where they feel free to jump behind the register and ring up their own breakfast if the cafe is too busy – now THAT is my idea of a local bakery.

Tart Crust – I LOVED this tart crust recipe because it allowed you to do all the mixing in a standing mixer – my kind of tart crust.  With a paddle attachment, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar.)  Drop in 2/3 cup butter – diced into small 1/2 inch cubes.  With your mixer on low, mix until it resembles coarse crumbles – you still want to have pea sized pieces of butter so be sure not to mix it too long.

Whisk the egg slightly along with the cream and add to your flour/butter mixture.  If you can’t form the dough into a ball, add a little bit more cream.

Once it starts to come together, form it into a disk, cover tightly with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator for an hour.  (Don’t you just LOVE stretch-tile plastic warp?  It just sticks so much better to things!)

Filling – preheat your oven to 350 degrees and toast your walnuts for 8 minutes or until golden brown.  The recipe calls for “coarsely” chopped walnuts.  I think everyone probably has a different idea of what coarsely chopped nuts look like, so I found a great description online.  Also, make sure you note when using nuts in baking, how they ask for them.  This recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped nuts (you measure AFTER you chop) which is very different than 1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped (measure first, chop second).

Using your microwave and a microwave-safe bowl (you can also use a double boiler, but I choose the EASY method), melt the butter and chocolate.  The recipe allows you to choose the proportions of dark to semi-sweet chocolate you want to use.  I love dark chocolate so I used more of that than semi-sweet.  Of the 14 ounces  called for, I used 10 oz of 60% cocoa chocolate and 4 oz of semi-sweet – it wound up being really well balanced.  Not too dark, but not to sweet.

Whisk in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time.

Whisk in the remaining ingredients (vanilla, salt, cream, and whiskey).  Those are the most perfect four ingredients for ANYTHING.  How can you go wrong with vanilla, cream, whiskey, and salt?

Remove your tart dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a well-floured surface.  (Notice my new marble pastry slab?  Isn’t is beautiful!?)  Fold in half and place in your tart shell.

Lightly press the dough into the sides and then using the tart pan edge – which was kind of sharp on mine – remove any excess dough.

Pour in your toasted nuts and evenly distribute along the bottom of the tart.

Pour in your chocolate using a back and forth movement to evenly layer it on top of the nuts.  Once you’ve got it all in there, use an offset spreader or knife to push it into the crevices of the tart pan.  You will want to eat it at this point, but wait – it still has to bake. 🙂

Place it in your preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake for 50 minutes.  It might seem a bit undercooked when you pull it out, but the jiggle is what you want – don’t think jiggly thighs – think jiggly yummy brownie batter – much more enticing.

And while it bakes, you can defer cleaning up the monstrous mess in your kitchen and play with one of your own fairy princesses (complete with terrible plastic high heels) instead!

Once cool and set – takes about two hours – you can slice and serve or set aside covered for later!  Although I didn’t end up serving it this way, next time I will make some cinnamon whipped cream and top each slice with a dollop (don’t you love that word.)  it is just fun to say – DOLLOP!

Silken Chocolate-Walnut Tart
adapted from The Pastry Queen

Tart Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup unsalted butter
14 ounces good quality chocolate (dark and/or semi-sweet)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T dark rum or whiskey (I used whiskey)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Tart Crust: Mix your dry ingredients together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Drop in your butter – cut into 1/2 inch pieces – and mix for about 1 1/2 minutes or until it resembles coarse meal with pea sized pieces of butter.  Lightly whisk your egg and add it with the cream into the butter/flour.  Mix on low until just combined.  If the dough is not sticking together, you can add a little bit more cream in VERY small increments until it starts to combine.  Form into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.  When it is chilled and ready, roll it out on a well-floured surface to a 10″ disk.  Fold in half and place in your tart pan, pressing gently to the sides.  Remove any excess dough so that the crust is even with the tart pan’s sides.  Set aside for chocolate filling.

Filling: In a 350 degree oven, toast walnuts until lightly browned and fragrant – about 8 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring intermittently until smooth.  Whisk in the sugar and then each egg separately – whisking after each egg is added until completely combined.  Pour in the cream, vanilla, salt, and whiskey – stirring until it is smooth, silky, and totally yummy looking.

Line the bottom of the waiting tart shell with the walnuts, placing them evenly over the bottom of the shell.  Pour chocolate over the walnuts in thick ribbons so you don’t have to do much spreading.  Evenly and gently spread the chocolate until it completely covers the nuts and is touching the shell on all sides.  Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.  Tart will be slightly jiggly, but will set as it cools.  Cool for at least two hours!  Either serve immediately or cover and set aside for later.

So – what will your proportions of chocolate be?  Are you more of a semi-sweet person or will you use all dark?


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