I tried, I really did, to follow a recipe exactly. A blizzard outside, tired inside, wanting a break with something easy, and chocolate, I turned to the January issue of Fine Cooking to make chocolatier Alice Medrich's Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramelized Pistachios. Weeell…. then I realized that the pistachios went into the girls' lunches a few days ago… aaannd we didn't have any oranges but I'd bought lemons at the beginning of the week…. aaaand the half and half was unmentionable but the whole milk with cream on the top had just come from the farm. And there we have it, the recipe is not the recipe any longer.
Chocolate Tart with Lemon and Caramelized Pecans
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk or half and half
2 tablespoons sugar
7 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 large egg
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients until just combined. Press into a 9 1/2 -inch tart pan. Freeze for 15 minutes and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.
While the tart is baking, in a small saucepan, bring the milk, sugar and salt just to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Return to heat very briefly if the chocolate doesn't all melt, stirring constantly. Cover to keep warm with the chocolate is completely melted.
When the tart is done, add the egg to the chocolate mixture and transfer to the hot tart shell. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and return the tart to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate is set but still jiggly in the center. Set aside to cool.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Heat the pecans in a microwave for 1 minute or in a 200 degree oven while making the caramel. You want them to be hot when you add them to the caramel.
In a medium saucepan, pour the water and add the sugar and salt to the center. Pat down with a wooden spoon so that all of the granuals get moist. Heat over medium-high heat without stirring until the color is a medium yellow. Swirling the pan if the sugar begins to color unevenly. Add the nuts and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes or until the color is a reddish amber. Transfer immediately to the baking sheet with foil and spread with a spatula as quickly as you can. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. When it has cooled, break into small pieces and serve as a garnish on the tart.
One, I'm definitely making this on the boat and two, thank you to Alice Medrich for the inspiration
© 2008 Anne Mahle