Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart with Walnuts

Oh people, I made this dense chocolate tart for Halloween Night, and it was decadent and rich, if a bit boozy.

Who wouldn't want that as a descriptor, either for themselves or for their desserts?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I have been nursing one doozy of a cold, so I have not been able to stay atop my cooking, but I did make this tart for Halloween Night. We surrounded ourselves with family at one set of my in-laws houses, and in between bites of a dinner, we answered the door as children pleaded for candy. Favorite costume: adult male dressed as a banana with a small child dressed as a monkey on his shoulders.

When dessert time came around, we sliced up this rather rich tart. We did have to make a recipe and a half because I did not have a 9 1/2-inch tart pan. I did, however, have a much larger square pan and in-laws who were willing to take the leftovers off our hands. People, I am not happy with the fact that I have gained five pounds since the beginning of the school year. But I am just not ready to give up dessert. The only answer is to foist my desserts on others and eat what I can before I push what is leftover away is a wash of self control, self congratulation, and a little bit of bittersweet longing.

This recipe comes from Maria Speck, whose beautiful recipes I have featured here and here. I appreciate her longterm (and certainly not hitched to trends) commitment to whole grain cooking. And this tart not only boasts a whole wheat crust, but you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back for adding walnuts and dark chocolate to your meal rotation.  Go ahead, convince yourself this is health food.  Add to that an ample lashing of Grand Marnier, or the orange liqueur of your choice, and you have a dessert fit for any holiday meal--goblin themed or otherwise.

I cut this rich chocolate tart with whipped cream.  There is really not a lot I can do to convince you that heavy cream is health food.

Good thing this recipe has whole wheat, dark chocolate, and walnuts to counteract the whipped cream.

And now, your only work is to whip up a delightful, if a bit boozy, dessert. If you hand whip the cream, you're sure to break a sweat and burn off any extra calories, right?


Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart with Walnuts

One 9.5-inch tart, to serve 12

Whole Wheat and Butter Tart Crust
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (3 1/8 ounces)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (2 ounces)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
7 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
6-8 tablespoons ice water

1.  Place both the whole wheat flours, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process 10 pulses to combine.  Distribute the butter cubes on top and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the ice water. Process 8-10 pulses.  Pinch a small amount of the dough with your fingers.  It should hold together.  If not, add 1 tablespoon more of ice water (if very dry), or add the water by the teaspoonful (if the dough starts to hold together).  Process 2 pules each time you add water until no floury patches remain but the dough stays uniformly crumbly with tiny butter pieces.  Do not allow to form a ball.

2.  Scrape the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface.  Gently press it into a flat disk, about 1 inch thick, and immediately roll into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom and gently press into the edges.  Roll the pin across the top of the pan to remove excess dough.  Prick the dough about a dozen times with a for.  Chill, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

3.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  Set the tart pan on a large rimless baking sheet for easier handling.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the crust and fill it with pie weights (or dried beans).

4.  To partially bake the crust, carefully place the sheet with the tart pan in the oven and bake until the crust starts to pull away from the sides 15-18 minutes.  remove from the oven, and carefully slide the tart pan onto a wire rack.  Remove the parchment paper with the pie weights.  Allow the crust to cool to room temperature before filling.  

Tart filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
 6 ounces dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa content), chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other good-quality orange-flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 partially baked Whole Wheat and Butter Tart Crust
2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
12 toasted walnut halves, for garnish

1.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2.  Warm the sugar and the milk in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, 4-5 minutes.  Add the honey and cook until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, 1 minute or more, depending on the consistency of the honey.

3.  Place the chocolate and the butter in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan containing about 1 inch of barely simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Wait until melted, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set the chocolate mixture aside to cool for 5 minutes. Stir the Grand Marnier, orange zest, and vanilla extract into the sugar-honey mixture. Using a large whisk, gently add the sugar-honey mixture to the chocolate mixture, and then whisk in the eggs and yolk just until incorporated. The mixture will thicken slightly.

4.  After the crust has cooled, placed the tart pan on a large rimless baking sheet for easier handling. Sprinkle the crust with the chopped walnuts. Gently spoon the filling evenly into the crust as to not disturb the nuts.

5.  Carefully place the sheet with the tart pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and decorate the tart with the walnut halves by lightly pressing them around the outer rim. Continue to bake until the filling barely wiggles when the pan is moved gently, 8-10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the tart pan onto a wire rack.  Leave the tart to cool completely in the pan, about 1 1/2 hours, before serving. The tart can sit at cool room temperature, up to 4 hours.

6.  When ready to serve remove the outer ring of the tart pan. Cut the tart into 12 pieces with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped clean between each cut.

**The tart, including the filling, can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Wait until the tart has completely cooled and then chill, covered with plastic wrap.  Bring to room temperature before serving.


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