Double Chocolate Tart

When I was growing up, I couldn’t understand why people would go nuts for dark chocolate -in fact, I was still saying that way into my 30s. Milk chocolate was my chocolate of choice, or no chocolate at all. When I was in college studying in France, we went to Belgium for the weekend. Of course we were looking forward to indulging in the Belgium Waffles, but when we were in Brussels walking around, all of a sudden we started smelling chocolate. We basically followed our noses and ended up at the Cote D’Or chocolate factory. It was amazing, even for someone who was not crazy about chocolate. That day turned me into a chocolate lover. European chocolate is just so much better than what we get in the states, there is just no comparison. I even loved the dark chocolate – because yes, we sampled more chocolate than you can imagine that day. Anything I put into my mouth was exquisite – it was so creamy and smooth, it was unlike anything I had eatenbefore. After that trip I kept good chocolate in my room, just to have a little nibble after dinner – that chocolate changed me.

When I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, my mind instantly went to Belgium. As I read through the recipe though, I noticed it called for milk chocolate – and I just couldn’t do it. A rich chocolate tart deserves dark chocolate, and high quality dark chocolate. Basically you should never skimp on chocolate, the better quality your chocolate, the better quality your finished product will taste. There are no shortcuts. I adapted the recipe, and it was amazing. I could only eat a small sliver it was so rich – but fortunately that made the tart last longer. We had some friends over and they agreed this was atart worth splurging for. So as the country is focused on candy right now for Halloween, I am focused on really good chocolate, because really there is nothing better…

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 6 1/2 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers; about 28 cookies), coarsely broken
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 15 ounces high-quality dark chocolate (such as Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, or Lindt), chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Special equipment: A 9″-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat tart pan with nonstick spray. Finely grind cookies in a food processor. Drizzle butter over; pulse until blended. Press evenly onto bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until firm, about 15
minutes. Let cool completely.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate; stir until melted. Pour filling over cooled crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Remove the tart pan side. Cut tart into wedges, working quickly as tart will become gooey as it sits; place 1 piece on each plate.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Double Chocolate Tart

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Onion Tart

My 8 year old daughter is part of a book club.  It’s amazing to see these 3rd graders get so into these books – and of course the moms get into them as well.  This is my first book club – I always heard about them, but I never had enough time – and since I really only read about food, I figured it wouldn’t be for me – unless I started my own “food book club,” but then who would I get to join me, since most of my friends laugh at the fact that I only read about food.  So, when the invitation came for my daughter to join her friends in this book club, along with the moms, I decided it was finally time.

There are a few rules we have to follow – we all take turns hosting, and the host orders the pizza.  That’s right – instead of slaving all day in the kitchen, you pick up the phone and order the pizza – DONE!  Then, everyone else brings stuff to the host’s house – appetizers, drinks, salad, dessert, fruit…and anything else people can think of.  My stand-by is the dessert – if all fails, I know I can always bring a dessert – and I am starting to feel like a dessert hogger – since we sign up in email, first come first server, and secure what we are bringing, so we don’t end up with just desserts – and nothing else except pizza.

This month I held my breath and replied appetizer.  I had no idea what I was going to bring, but I wanted to give someone else a chance for dessert.  I saw this recipe in Cooking Light – and even though it was very similar to pizza, I had to give it a try.  I just love onions, especially the sweet ones.  This was super easy – and it was excellent – it had a really beautiful soft onion flavor, and the crust (even though I cheated and used pre-made) was still fantastic around those onions.  I was pretty full when it was time to eat the pizza, but that meant there was more leftovers for the host – or the host’s husband…which is always appreciated, especially in my house.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2  (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Roll dough out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle feta cheese in center, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border; top with onion. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Fold piecrust border up and over onion mixture, pleating as you go, leaving a 6-inch-wide opening. Combine egg and 2 tablespoons water; brush over dough. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool for 10 minutes.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Onion Tart

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Apple Treacle Tart

My father loves to ask questions (this must be where my girls get it from) – but not questions that you would expect.  In fact, when I was young, we used to joke about a book that he was going to write – “101 Stupid Questions” – for example, “What color is an orange?”  When he comes to visit, he peppers my daughters with questions – and at first they actually entertain the questions and give him solid answers.  After a little while though, they start tuning him out.  I’m sure they are probably thinking, hey, this is my job to ask the questions – not yours.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit a while ago, and I thought it looked interesting, so I threw it in the pile.  If it wasn’t for the golden syrup, I am not sure I would have ever made it – but after making these, I had a lot of golden syrup left in the pantry.  When I was reading through this recipe, I noticed that it called for golden syrup as well – and just about the amount that I had left.  Therefore, it moved up on the list, and I really had no excuse not to make it, unless I wanted that delicious golden syrup to go bad (if it could ever go bad). 

Ok, so what does this have to do with my father and asking questions? He was visiting when I made this.  He asked me a couple of times what I was making – and each time I told him an Apple Tart – but I am not sure he really believed me, because it really didn’t look like one.  He asked one more time, “What did you make?”  I said, “An Apple Treacle Tart.”  He said, “What’s in it?”  Then I decided to have some fun and said, “Apples and Treacle.”  Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.  Both my husband and I just started laughing, and tears were streaming down my face.  My father said nothing, and no follow-up questions.

So what is a treacle?  I looked it up, and here is the definition:  Treacle is the generic name for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane.  The most common forms of treacle are the pale syrup that is also known as golden syrup.  So, I was telling the truth, even though it sounded hilarious to say it. 

If you like pecan pie, you will love this tart.  It was basically a pecan pie with apples instead of pecans.  The crust was delightful, and went beautifully with the filling.  I didn’t have any more whipping cream left – but this would have been great with some freshly whipped cream (like the original recipe).

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water, divided

Filling

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless whole wheat bread
  • 1 1/4 cups golden syrup*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon light (mild-flavored) molasses
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated peeled tart apples (such as Granny Smith)

 *A type of cane syrup popular in Great Britain; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and British import shops.

Preparation

Crust

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor 5 seconds. Add butter. Using on/off turns, cut in until very coarse meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons ice water. Blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD Dough can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Soften briefly at room temperature before rolling.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12- to 13-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut off all but 1/2 inch of overhang and fold in, pressing sides of dough to come 1/4 to 1/3 inch higher than pan sides. Freeze crust until firm, about 10 minutes.

Line crust with foil and dried beans or pie weights. Bake until sides are set, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until crust is pale golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, 12 to 15 minutes longer. Cool 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Filling

Scatter breadcrumbs on small rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dry and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Combine golden syrup, eggs, whipping cream, lemon peel, molasses, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in apples and breadcrumbs. Pour filling into crust.

Bake tart until filling is set in center and cracks appear at edges, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

Serves 8-10.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Apple Treacle Tart

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