Portuguese Creamy Chocolate Tart

I wanted to make a chocolate tart for my friends in Lisbon. Chef Vitor Sa Esteves told me, “Creamy tarts, sim; chocolate tarts, não. They are never served in Lisbon. They are a regional dessert found mainly in the Azores.” So Vitor and I gathered all of the ingredients to give it a go and within an hour we were eating warm, crisp, creamy Chocolate Tarts.

Makes one 9-inch tart
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Chill Time: 2 hours
Level: ***

Special Toolbox:
• 9-inch fluted tort pan with removable bottom
• rolling pin
• wire cooling rack
• sifter

Ingredients

For the pastry shell:

1 vanilla bean

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons toasted whole blanched almonds

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted plus more for rolling

Pinch of salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the filling:

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup Dark Chocolate Ganache (see recipe), room temperature

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting

Directions:

Make the pastry shell:

1. Flatten the vanilla bean with the broad side of a large knife and then slit it in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the egg yolk and stir to blend. (Discard the bean or bury it in a canister of granulated sugar to flavor it.) Add the vanilla and almond extracts and stir to blend.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix together the sugar and almonds and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse to blend.

3. Cut the butter into pieces, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Add the egg yolk and pulse just until the dough begins to hold together. Do not over process; the dough should not form a ball.

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and very gently pat the dough into a disk, handling it as little as possible. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until well chilled.

6. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into an 11-inch round. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, rub some flour on the pin. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and gently press it against the sides, allowing about a 1/2-inch of dough to hang over the rim. With a fork, prick the bottom of the dough all over and refrigerate the crust again for at least 1 hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for about 5 minutes, until the pastry just begins to firm up. Remove from the oven and, with a sharp knife, carefully cut off and discard the overhanging pastry to make a smooth, even rim.

9. Return the shell to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the pastry is nicely browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool the crust completely before filling.

10. Do not turn off the oven.

For the filling:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the Dark Chocolate Ganache and stir until melted. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm and then whisk in the egg until thoroughly blended.

2. Pour the custard into the pastry shell and bake in the middle of the oven until the filling is almost set but still trembling in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool.

3. Sift the cocoa powder over the tart and serve warm or at room temperature.