When I received a tart pan this past Christmas, I could not wait to make my first tart. When, two days after Christmas, Aimee at From Chapel Hill to Chickenville left a comment about a rosemary chocolate tart she once made, I knew what form my first tart would take. Granted, “could not wait” turned into nearly three months because it wasn’t until yesterday at 10 p.m. that I began work on my first tart.
In my defense, being born on the day after Christmas (a day which my sister once dubbed the most depressing day of the year) has led me to develop a habit of
hoarding saving my gifts as long as I can before I use them. I once saved a gift card until Memorial Day so I could buy summer clothes rather than a winter sweater. I don’t quite understand why I do this given I’m all for wearing fancy perfume everyday instead of saving it for a special occasion, but so it goes.
Though I claim I wanted to “save” my tart pan, the real reason I waited so long to make a tart was I felt intimidated by the tart crust. The thought of making a pie-like crust – breaking out a rolling pin, flouring a work surface, etc. – all in hopes I would create a dough I could artfully tuck into those little tart pan pleats was just too much. But then, in a David Lebovitz blog post, I found a recipe for French Tart Dough that included the statement, “If you’ve been afraid to make tart dough, give this one a try.” I was ready.
(If you have an extra moment, I recommend reading the aforementioned blog post. It contains a cute story about the recipe’s author, humorous anecdotes like, “It was as if someone told me that Anne Coulter actually wasn’t really out of her friggin’ gourd,” as well as practical and helpful recipe advice.)
The tart dough recipe requires boiling ingredients in the oven. The original recipe cautions to take care not to grab the just-out-of-the oven bowl once removed from the oven and placed on the counter. I scoffed at that seemingly unnecessary advice, thinking I’d have to be pretty dumb (or incredibly forgetful) to grab a bowl I just took out of the oven. Well, I’m either pretty dumb (or lacking in short term memory), because I grabbed for the bowl twice. Fortunately, it was so hot I felt the heat and moved my hand before I actually grabbed it. I move bowls around on the counter all of the time, so I really was unaccustomed to having a red-hot bowl on the counter. Perhaps this means I’m not dumb as much as I am a creature of habit. The melted butter mixture also comes out of the oven bubbling and sputtering, and it will spatter a bit when the flour is added, so take care not let it splatter on your skin or in your eye.
The tart dough was a breeze to make, which was great because I had to make it twice. The recipe was written for a 9-inch tart pan, and I had an 11-inch tart pan. I went ahead with the recipe as written, curious to see exactly how it would turn out, so I anticipated another round would be necessary. After two batches, I had a dough that filled my tart pan and yielded a leftover dough ball about the size of a golf ball. I wrote the recipe below based on the original 9-inch size, so please keep in mind you may need to adjust quantities accordingly depending on the size of your particular tart pan.
The slice of the tart you see here looks a bit wrinkled as I let the plastic wrap fall on its top before I refrigerated the tart overnight. When I sleep on crinkly sheets, I wake up with sheet indents on my skin. Why I thought this same rule would not apply to placing a crinkly cover over my tart is a mystery. So, be sure to place a few toothpicks in your tart to allow its covering a place to rest.
Now about the taste. After my first bite I thought, “That rosemary means business.” I could definitely taste the rosemary, but then again, I knew I made the tart with rosemary so I was expecting to taste it. Someone else might just think it tastes unique. And while present, the rosemary certainly does not overpower the chocolate. It surprised me how well two fairly strong flavors, chocolate and rosemary, could work together without fully blending together.
If you are not a lover of rosemary, the original chocolate rosemary tart recipe indicates mint can be substituted in place of rosemary. Mint is likely a more practical flavor for chocolate, but seeing as how I seem to have developed a habit of adding unexpected ingredients to chocolate (see sauerkraut and quinoa), I went with the rosemary. And I’m quite pleased I did.
- For the tart dough:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping cup flour
- For the tart filling:
- 2 cups chocolate, chopped
- 1 - 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- Combine the butter, water, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized, oven safe bowl (like Pyrex).
- Place the bowl in an oven heated to 410 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. The butter should be bubbling and starting to brown around the edges when you remove the bowl.
- Remove the bowl from the oven, dump in the flour, and stir quickly and carefully until the dough comes together into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Place the dough in a tart mold and spread with a spatula.
- When the dough has cooled enough to handle, pat the dough along the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
- Use a fork to prick the dough all over, then return the tart shell to the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
- Remove the baked tart shell from the oven and repair any sizable cracks with the reserved dough.
- While the tart shell cools, prepare the Rosemary-Chocolate mixture.
- Place the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk the milk and eggs together in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in the rosemary, and heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove top and pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the rosemary and any bits of egg that may have cooked.
- Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted and completely smooth.
- Pour the rosemary-chocolate mixture into the crust and refrigerate until firm (likely minimum two hours).
- If desired, serve slices of the tart garnished with whipped cream and a sprig of rosemary.