Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Tart

If you're still seeking a decadent, fresh idea for dessert on Christmas day perhaps this recipe will help. I made this for Thanksgiving, and it doesn't take too long to put together, can be made a day in advance, and definitely ticks the luxury box.

It's a pretty classic kind of dessert (although classic, in this case, doesn't mean it's too common), and can be dressed up as you see fit, or kept simple - it's delicious either way. My little tweak was covering the baked shell in pieces of strawberry before pouring the ganache in, for a nice little summery surprise. You could do the same with any berry (though they need to be fresh, as frozen ones will leach too much water and spoil the ganache), or spread jam or set a thin layer of jelly or something else under the chocolate - so many options. I'm all about the options. ;-)

This is one of those recipes which is super-easy with a food processor, but is perfectly viable without - the food processor is used to grind almonds, but you could just buy ground ones a mix by hand. You do want to keep the butter as cold as possible, as with any pastry, so if you need to handle it too much it'll probably pay to chill the dough for 20 minutes before baking to prevent any shrinkage.

Now close your eyes tightly and imagine I actually showed you how to make the pastry - I was in a pretty massive kind of hurry when I made this, and apparently missed taking photos of lots of the process. ;-)

To make the ganache, get your chocolate all broken up in a bowl and the cream in a saucepan. Bring the cream just to the edge of the boil and pour over the chocolate.

Gently stir it up till it's all combined and you're almost done. 

I mentioned I sliced up strawberries - it's almost a shame to cover them but I did have fun letting the ganache ooze over them - it's a bit silly but I do so love a good pouring consistency! 

And it's even better when a little escapes and you have to tidy it up a little, and then of course you need to clean your finger - just as well really, since it wouldn't do to serve a dessert without having trialled it. ;-)

This was really yummy - the base was very crunchy and extra special with the inclusion of almonds, and got favourable comments from several people. And the strawberries were a pretty good accompaniment to the rich chocolate - though it would also have been great with vanilla ice-cream, or even cream.

What will your Christmas day dessert be? Traditional or something else?

Chocolate Ganache Tart (adapted from Martha Stewart)
3 Tbsp slivered blanched almonds
6 Tbsp sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp grated orange or lemon zest (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
85g butter, cold and cut into pieces
340g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 C. In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground. Add sugar, flour, zest (if desired), and salt, and pulse to combine. Add butter, pulsing until coarse crumbs form (dough should clump together when squeezed with fingers).

Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to the boil, then pour the hot cream over chocolate. Gently stir until smooth then stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into cooled tart shell. Chill for 1 hour until set, or for up to 24 hours before serving. Serves 10

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