I’m not a real food blogger.
1. I forget to take pictures of the finished product.
2. I don’t photograph many recipes in progress because my nail polish (when I’m wearing any) is usually chipped beyond salvaging. Not pretty.
3. I am passionately interested in tasting the food of great restaurants, but I get so engrossed in the meal that it doesn’t occur to me to photograph what’s on my plate while it’s still pristine and unspoiled by a fork. Bon Appétit magazine is naming Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, the best hotel in America for food lovers in its May 2013 issue. I enjoyed several fabulous meals there last December. See?
So be it. In an imperfect world, sometimes one must accept “good enough” as the standard worthy of pursuit. Then again, sometimes one takes a bite of a chocolate tart with raspberries and realizes that perfection is within reach.
Chocolate Tart with Raspberries (adapted from a recipe in Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, by Pam Anderson, © 2005 by Pam Anderson, published by Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston and New York. This recipe includes the use of uncooked egg yolks. If your health could be compromised by this practice, please make something else.)
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
8 ounces of semisweet chocolate (Buy the bars intended for baking, then break them into pieces. Don’t use chocolate chips.)
2 cups heavy cream (divided use)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature (Discard the egg whites, or save for another use.)
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
A handful of raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Carefully unfold the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the pastry, then, with a rolling pin, roll the pastry a little thinner and larger but keep the rectangular shape. Fit it into the bottom and sides of an 8×11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to shear off the excess pastry. (If you don’t have a tart pan, you can still make a pastry shell. Trim about 3/4-inch off each side of the rectangular sheet of pastry; save the strips. Place the pastry sheet on a parchment-lined baking pan. Score the bottoms of the pastry strips with a sharp knife, as well as the corresponding borders of the pastry sheet. Make an egg wash with 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of water, and brush the borders of the pastry sheet with it. Place the strips atop the egg wash, trimming to fit. Press gently to adhere. Proceed as directed.)
2. Pierce the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork. Line the pastry box with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, and weigh it down with a layer of uncooked rice or dried beans. Bake until light brown, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the paper and rice or beans (cool and save for future blind baking of pie and tart crusts) and re-pierce the bottom of the pastry. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, and the inside of the pastry box appears dry and lightly colored. Let cool on a wire rack.
3. Make the chocolate filling. Combine the broken pieces of chocolate and 1 cup of heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat in a microwave until the cream is hot enough to melt the chocolate. (Don’t let the cream boil!) Whisk until smooth. Put the 2 egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk to break them up, then continue whisking while slowly adding about 1 cup of the warm chocolate mixture. When thoroughly combined, pour that mixture into the first bowl of remaining chocolate and cream, whisking vigorously. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that all is thoroughly mixed. Unmold the tart shell from the pan and place on a platter, then pour the filling inside.
4. Let the tart sit for 2-3 hours while the filling firms up. Dot the top with fresh raspberries, and serve with a dollop of cream whipped with a little granulated sugar to soft peaks.
P.S. I don’t know why my blog displays so many different font sizes. It doesn’t look like that in draft form, but when I try to fix it, whole paragraphs disappear. I believe I’ll live with it for now.