If you're looking for a rich, smooth, chocolaty dessert, then look no further. A chocolate tart (tarte au chocolat) is just what you've ordered. Plus it's super easy, especially with Lara's Perfect Pie Crust recipe. I chose to use the chocolate filling recipe from French food at About.com. It looked like the easiest to do! You can make it to impress your friends, or to just savor the deep chocolate taste all by yourself. Serve it with whipped cream, top it with powdered sugar, chocolate curls, or your favorite fruit. It's so versatile.
For Pie Crust:
1 c butter flavored Crisco
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg + enough ice water to equal 1/2 c liquid
For the Chocolate filling
1 1/4 c heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
First, follow Lara's recipe for the Perfect Pie Crust. This really is the best pie crust recipe I've come across and I have NEVER had a problem with pies since I discovered it. I have to tell you that I avoided making pies for nearly 10 years because I hated the pie crust process. (I once nearly threw pie dough at the wall in frustration). But not any more! If you don't want to link back to her recipe then here are her instructions: (but I highly recommend checking out the step by step tutorial for how to make it)
1. With a pastry blender (or fork) cut shortening into flour and salt, crisscrossing across the shortening pieces until mostly the size of peas
2. Make the egg/water mixture by placing an egg in a half cup measuring cup, beat the egg slightly with a fork, and add ice water to the top.
3. Make a slight well in the flour/salt/shortening mixture, then add the egg/ice water mixture and stir with fork until just barely clinging together (10-15 seconds at most).
4. Knead with hands for 15-20 seconds just bringing in some of the loose crumbs. Only do this until the dough is just holding together.
5. Refrigerate for a little bit if desired. Roll out onto a floured surface to the size needed for your pan.
I have a removable bottom tart pan. You do not need to have one of these to make this. You can use a regular pie pan if desired. Because a pie pan is deeper than a tart pan you may need to increase the amount of cream to 1 1/2 cups, and use 12 oz of chocolate (ie the entire bag of chocolate chips...minus a few that accidentally fall onto the counter and end up in your mouth)
Place your rolled out dough onto the tart pan.
Take your rolling pin and roll it over the top of the pan while pressing a little, thus cutting off the dough to fit the pan. (Skip this if using a pie pan. Just crimp the edges to make it look nice)
Prick the crust all over with a fork. Cut a square of tin foil slightly larger than the bottom of the pie plate. Form it into a slight bowl shape. Carefully fit it into the bottom of the crust. Place pie weights or dried beans into the foil 'bowl'. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
After the crust comes out of the oven, lower the temperature to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, prepare your chocolate filling. Heat the cream in a medium pan over medium heat just until simmering. Stir occasionally so the cream doesn't burn or stick on the bottom.
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Stir until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix well.
Time to temper the eggs. If you add the beaten eggs to the hot chocolate mixture, your eggs will become scrambled and we don't want that. So you need to bring the beaten eggs up to the chocolate temperature a little at a time. Scoop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into the eggs and incorporate well. Keep adding the chocolate and mixing it into the eggs until the eggs reach a temperature that is like the chocolate mixture.
Pour the tempered eggs into the chocolate mixture beating it so it is smooth.
Pour into the baked crust. (I placed mine on a cookie sheet just in case there were spills and to make it easier to transfer to the oven)
Carefully place tart into the 375 degree oven and bake for 18-25 minutes or just until the center is a little jiggly. I personally took mine out at 18 minutes.
Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Make sure that you can remove the tart ring. Remove the outer ring if desired and place in refrigerator. Decorate as desired and serve chilled.