June 10, 2013

Chocolate, Praline and Cocoa Nib Tart

Incredible job by our bakers this week. We kick off the Tarts section of the book with a more complex recipe, if not the most in the chapter. There are several ingredients not in a typical baker's pantry and with a total of four layers to this creation, it is not one that can be whipped up in a day. Like with all the recipes we've come across, but especially for this recipe, planning is key and making the components over the course of a few days is very helpful. This Chocolate, Praline and Cocoa Nib tart has a buttery crust, praline, ganache and dentelle for the finish on the top. It is an impressive dessert. Read on to see what our bakers think.


Pate Sucree:
Pate Sucree is one of my favorite doughs to make. I've made it several times besides the time I made it for the Florentine. I love the sweetness and the flavor the vanilla beans give the crust. The crust came out golden brown as it should have. On previous bakes the crust it was a bit pale. I only used a portion of the dough and froze the rest for the other tarts in this chapter.

The biggest hurdle was finding the hazelnut-almond praline paste. Tania emailed me that she was also having trouble finding this ingredient. I found a recipe on line and decided to make my own when I had a stroke of luck and my friend Anita came to my rescue and gave me the 144 grams I needed to make the praline. This saved me a lot of time, although, I had already blanched and peeled the almonds and hazelnuts which I need to make the hazelnut-almond praline paste. I guess I will make it to have in my pantry for other uses. Making the praline was quick. I rolled it out between two parchment sheets and froze it for 4 hours then cut out the circle the size of the crust. I used a pizza cutter which made it quick. I refroze it until I was ready to assemble the tart.

Chocolate Dentelle:
Again, this took no time at all to make. After simmering the sugar, butter and corn syrup and milk to 230˚ I added the mixture to the crushed hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and cocoa powder. I also rolled out the mixture out between two parchment sheets as thin as I could. The mixture baked in the oven and the aroma was delightful! After taking it out of the oven, I let it sit for about three minutes to stiffen and I cut out four rings using a stainless steel food mold.  

I melted the 64% chocolate and let it get to room temperature. In the meantime, I simmered the Trimolne, glocuse and cream in a sauce pan. I mixed in one third to the melted chocolate and finally the rest. As quickly as this was going, I apparently overheated the mixture because I had a broken ganache. I knew it was to be too good to be true to come out without a hitch. I added a little bit of non-fat milk as stated in the book to restore the emulsion and it worked! I poured the ganache into the crust after placing the praline at the bottom. I let it sit overnight before placing the chocolate dentelle on the tart.

I'm really pleased with this tart. It is not has difficult as it seemed when I read the recipe the first three times. My favorite part is the chocolate dentelle. I will make the dentelle when my family wants a quick snack. I will also make the tart again, but I don't think I want to use the praline. It is too much for me as it reminds me of peanut butter.  

Standard bake, standard measure, 8 inch fluted tart pan
Ingredients: cocoa nibs, Cacao Barry feuilletine, Guittard 63% chocolate, Ghirardelli milk chocolate, Valrhona cocoa powder.

First tart! After reading through the recipe and all the ingredients, I knew this would be a challenge. First I had to order lots of specialty ingredients, such as feuilletine and cocoa nibs. One thing I couldn't find was hazelnut almond praline paste, so I decided to make my own. This presented another challenge. I had to first skin the hazelnuts, then make the praline, then pulverize it into a paste with my food processor. It wasn't too difficult, just time consuming. It was magical how the shards of praline turned into a paste like peanut butter.

I tackled this tart in stages. First, the pate sucree. I made 3 batches so I'd have it for the rest of the chapter. Then, the praline disk. Fairly straightforward, but again, time consuming. Next, the dentelle disk, which translates literally to lace. I did go through a lot of parchment paper making this recipe! I also used new techniques that I had never tried before.

Finally, time to assemble. The pate sucree was easy enough to roll out, but difficult to put into the tart shell. I ended up just piecing the dough together in the shell and then blind baking it as instructed. It didn't turn out as refined and thin as I would have liked. After fitting the praline in the tart shell, I made the ganache and poured it in. When it was set, I added the dentelle disk and it was ready for tasting!

The tart was difficult to cut, with the crunchy disk on top. But once cut, OMG! It's so rich and chocolatey, but not overly sweet. I pride myself on being able to eat lots of chocolate, but this was too much for even me! The layers of flavors were subtle, and the praline gets absorbed into the ganache, but I could taste the hazelnuts and cocoa nibs, which lend a nice depth of flavor to the tart. My husband liked the dentelle the best, and happily ate up all the scraps. It would be good to make on its own and package up like brittle for gifts. Overall, a typical Bouchon recipe: time consuming, but not too difficult if broken up into stages. And definitely worth the effort! 

Guest Baker: Julie

OK, so this tart is really pretty.  It was also very, very tasty.  The crust was nice and firm, but a little bit flaky and the ganache was no joke.  The ganache set up so nicely and held up perfectly when the tart was cut.  CA said it was a "restaurant quality" dessert. 

Read the rest of Julie's recap and fantastic breakdown of all the non-staple baking ingredients on her blog:

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