Dark Chocolate Tarts
Irish whiskey and black coffee add depth to rich chocolate tarts, which are served on a plate of creme anglaise with chocolate swirls and berries.
- Tart Shells
- Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Egg yolks - 3 large
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 , cold, cut into bits
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 6 , chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick), at room temperature
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Eggs - 3, separated
- Black Coffee - 1/4 cup
- Irish whiskey - 2 tablespoons
- Almonds - 1/4 cup, ground
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Granulated Sugar - 1/4 cup, fine
- Creme Anglaise (see Basics) - 1 cup
- Chocolate Sauce (see Basics) - 1/2 cup
- Vanilla Ice Cream - 1 quart, slightly softened
- Blueberries - 1/4 cup
- Raspberries - 1/2 cup
- Mint sprigs - 6, small
- Strawberries - 6, large
To make the tart shells: Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together. Drop the egg yolks and vanilla into the center of the dry ingredients and mix together with your fingers to moisten the dry ingredients. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, then cut with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture has a mealy texture. Gather the pastry and form into a ball; turn out on a work surface. Using the heel of your hand, press the pastry away from you until very thin, then gather it up and press again, working just until it pulls clean of the surface and is pliable; this step evenly works the ingredients through the dough. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roll the pastry out thin on a lightly floured board. Cut into 4 circles to fit inside six 4-inch individual tart molds. Press into the molds, trimming any excess at the top. Place on a baking sheet and blind bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove and cool on the baking sheet. The raw tart crusts may be sealed in freezer wrap and kept 4 to 6 weeks in the freezer; the baked crusts may be stored up to 3 months in the freezer. If using prebaked frozen crusts, bake for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 F to re-crisp them, then cool before using.
To fill the tarts: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and allow to melt. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk in the coffee and Irish whiskey. Add the melted chocolate to the butter-egg mixture and stir together quickly. Combine the ground almonds and flour and add to the mixture.
Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the fine granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir a large spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold remaining whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the tart shells and smooth the tops. Bake 10 minutes, until firmed. Remove and let cool.
To serve: Fill each dessert plate with a pool of creme anglaise. Put the chocolate sauce in a squeeze bottle with a very narrow tip and draw two circles of chocolate, 1/2-inch apart, 1/2-inch in from the edge of the creme anglaise. With a toothpick, use a swirling motion, drawing across both chocolate circles to create a design all the way around the plates. Unmold the tarts and place one in the center of each plate. Form the ice cream into quenelles with two large spoons and place two on each plate. Place berries around the edge of the creme anglaise on each plate, alternating blueberries and raspberries. Garnish each with a sprig of mint. Leaving the hulls on, slice vertically through the strawberries almost to the cap. Fan a strawberry on each mint sprig.