Everyone needs a good chocolate tart recipe—especially one that calls for Cognac.
½ recipe sweet butter pastry*
7 oz. chocolate (70 percent)
⅔ cup whipping cream
¼ cup whole milk
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Cognac or whiskey
Pinch of fine sea salt
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line an 8-inch tart pan. Prick the base of the tart with a fork and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Line the tart shell with parchment and fill it with dried beans. Place the tart shell on the baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes. The pastry should just be set. Remove the parchment and beans and return the tart shell on the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until it is lightly colored. Set aside to cool, and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Finely chop the chocolate. Pour the cream and milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. Whisk the egg, Cognac and salt together, then slowly whisk into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked tart shell and shake the pan gently so that the chocolate fills the tart and is level. Return to the oven on the baking sheet, checking that your oven temperature has dropped to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the filling is barely set; it should wobble slightly in the center. Use your nose: when you can smell the chocolate, check the tart; it’s probably cooked.
Transfer the tart from the baking sheet to a rack and let cool to room temperature. The filling will firm up as it cools.
Place a spoonful of cocoa powder in a fine-mesh sieve and dust over the top of the tart. Serve at room temperature.
For the Sweet Butter Pastry
2 cups flour
Pinch of fine sea salt
⅔ cup cold, unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup superfine sugar
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Pour the egg mixture over the flour and butter mixture and then mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit of the mixture between your fingers. If it holds together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; if not, add a couple of teaspoons of ice water and test again.
Gently knead the dough into a ball, then divide the pastry in half and flatten into 2 discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Reprinted with permission from Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor by Jennifer McLagan. Published by 10 Speed Press, an imprint of Random House