Perfect chocolate tarts are flecked with specks of gold leaf. Inside, at the bottom, is a surprise layer of orange marmalade. Edible gold leaf may be purchased from www.ediblegold.com -- or you can garnish the tarts with candied orange rind or a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
- Flour - 1-1/4 cups
- brown butter or soft unsalted butter - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cold Solid vegetable shortening - 1/2 cup
- Ice Water - 3 tablespoons
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Eggs - 2
- Milk - 1/2 c
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 6 ounces, chopped
- Orange Marmalade - 1/2 cup
- Orange Sauce
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
- Grand Marnier - 1 tablespoon
- Edible gold leaf (optional) - 1
To make the pastry: Sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Divide the shortening into quarters or tablespoons and cut half of it into the flour with a pastry blender, two knives or forks, or your fingers, or with the paddle attachment of a mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the remaining shortening and cut it in until the mixture forms small pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the water over the mixture and blend with a fork just until mixed, using a little water as possible and as little handling as possible. Gently gather into a flattened ball and wrap in plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (it may be made 2 to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, or up to 1 month ahead and stored in the freezer).
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let warm for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly dust a cool work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, about 1/8-inch. Cut 5 circles approximately 5-1/2-inches in diameter, using a cutting wheel with a scalloping cutter. Press the circles into individual 4-inch tart pans, pushing the dough into the crease around the bottom with a small ball of floured dough. Put a circle of aluminum foil in the bottom of each and add some pie weights or dry beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on the baking sheet. Take out the weights and foil. Set aside.
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Bring the cream and sugar to a boil over medium high heat, whisking occasionally as it heats. Whisk the milk and eggs together in a small bowl. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. When the cream-sugar mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds, then slowly blend together with a spatula. Do not incorporate air; it will create bubbles and holes in the tart filling. Strain the milk-egg combination into the chocolate mixture and blend together gently with the spatula.
Place the tart shells on a baking sheet. Put a spoonful of marmalade in the bottom of each tart shell, spreading it out. Spoon the chocolate filling over the marmalade, filling almost to the tops of the shells. Bake until the filling is just set, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
To make the sauce: Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook until it begins to thicken slightly and becomes very pale gold; remove the pan from the heat and set into a pan of ice. Do not cook too long or it will darken. Stir in the orange juice and Grand Marnier, being careful of spatters. The sauce will be runny.
To serve: Put a tiny dab of orange marmalade in the center of each serving plate and anchor a tart on each plate. With the tip of a knife, scrape a dot of gold leaf onto the center of each tart. Spoon or drizzle sauce on the plates around the tarts.