Make a chocolate tart to compare to chocolate cream pie. My grandma has been the pie maker in our family for decades. Unfortunately, she hasn't been able to get a chocolate cream pie to "set" recently, so cutting the pie is messy. My mom is craving a good chocolate pie, so I want to figure out either a good alternative or a good recipe.
Hypothesis: the chocolate tart will be denser and richer than chocolate cream pie.
1 1/2 cup pastry flour, sifted
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup minus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
5 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butte, softened and cut in chunks
2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. milk
To make the pastry shell:
1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and mix until the mixture is grainy like coarse meal. This can be accomplished with hands, a pastry blender or using a food processor.
2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Knead until the dough comes together in a uniform ball. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, wet your hands and knead in a little bit of extra moisture.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425°.
4. Roll the dough to a circle large enough to fill an 8-inch tart pan (or 8-inch pie plate). Thickness should be no more than 1/8 inch.
5. Line shell with foil and pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes at 425° then lower the temperature to 375° and bake another 10 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights, cover the edges of the crust with foil if the edges are starting to brown, and return to the oven 3-5 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
6. Cool crust completely on a wire rack before proceeding.
To make the chocolate filling:
7. In a saucepan, bring cream, sugar and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over the chocolate and butter in a large bowl (a batter bowl or another bowl with a spout works well for this).
8. Let stand 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the chocolate and butter are covered with the hot mixture.
9. Stir (slowly to prevent bubbles) until smooth.
10. Whisk in the milk, slowly.
11. Pour into the cooled tart shell.
12. Chill until firm (2 hours or over night).
The tart shell is crispy. The chocolate filling set perfectly over night. The filling is rich and firm, but very creamy.
Discussion and Future Directions
This is a deliciously rich tart. For some, it might not be sweet enough. I used 53% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips. For people who do not like dark chocolate, it might be best to halve the bittersweet chocolate with milk chocolate or use semisweet chips.
I used whole wheat pastry flour for the pastry shell because it was the only pastry flour I could find. As might be expected with whole wheat flour, the final product was a bit gritty/grainy. Doing a little searching, Joy of Baking suggests a substitute for pastry flour. To substitute for 2 cups of pastry flour, use 1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour to 2/3 cup (80 g) cake flour. I recommend trying this to improve the texture.
In regards to the hypothesis, I don't think this chocolate tart would satisfy chocolate cream pie lovers. It has the feel of creamy fudge in a crisp tart shell. Cream pie is more like thick pudding in flaky pie crust. Overall, the tart is delicious. It is good on it's own but could be topped with whipped cream, raspberries, white chocolate shavings, nuts, etc. The assembly time is minimal, but it does take around 2 1/2 hours because of the time to chill the dough. Give it a try!