This sweet but salty tart is a suprisingly easy dessert to rustle up for Valentine's Day. The rich flavor comes from the chocolate and the cream, so splurge on the highest quality of both you can find. Your loved ones are worth it, after all.
Ingredients ( Serves 12)
- ½ cup/115 g unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup/115 g all-purpose/plain flour
- ½ cup/120 ml heavy cream
- ½ cup/120 ml whole milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 7 oz/200 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate,
- chopped (1 heaping cup)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Smoked sea salt
- Creme fraiche
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180°C/gas 4.
Step 2: To make the crust: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and stir until it feels like damp sand. Press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of an 8-in/20-cm square or 9-in/ 23-cm round tart pan/flan tin with a removable bottom (which makes it much easier to remove the tart in one piece. If you don’t have a tart pan/flan tin , you can make this tart in a springform pan; press the dough evenly across the bottom and only about 1 ¼ to 1½ in/3 to 4 cm up the side of the pan). Use wax/ greaseproof paper or buttered fingers to even out and press the dough tightly into the corners.
Step 3: Prick the crust all over with a fork and chill in the fridge until ready to bake, about 30 minutes. Set the pan on a baking sheet/tray and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Step 4: While the crust bakes, bring the cream, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, without stirring. Starting in the middle of the pan, whisk together until the chocolate is evenly melted and the mixture is smooth and a shiny dark brown.
Step 5: Whisk the beaten egg into the chocolate filling and pour the filling directly into the hot crust. Decrease the oven to 300˚F/150˚C/gas 2 and return the tart to the oven
Step 6: Bake until the filling is set, but still a little wiggly in the centre, about 15 minutes (temperatures vary from oven to oven, so the visual clue is more important than time). Set your timer for 13 minutes.
Step 7: If it looks mostly set that point, test it by opening the oven door a crack and carefully jiggle the tart pan/flan tin with the edge of your oven mitt.Only the centre third should wobble.
Step 8: Remove the tart and cool completely on a rack at room temperature. Just before the tart cools and sets completely, sprinkle a few large flakes of smoked salt on the surface, or leave plain.
Step 9: Remove the tart from the pan sides and carefully transfer to a platter before serving. Let it cool just until it slices easily, and serve slightly warm, with a dollop of cream. Or cool completely, and serve by itself.