Winter Dark Chocolate Tarte

I often get emails about posting recipes for dishes and pastries.  For some reason it seems that I am always so busy with other elements of cooking that I never really focus on this.

I had a day to myself, nothing to do and tired of doing things that i’m supposed to do.  So I looked around and noticed that I had fresh kumquats from the tree outside, one fresh coconut and some chocolate.  Here was my opportunity to do something so I decided that they would make a wonderful flavor combination.  This would be best expressed in a tarte.

I am above all, grateful that I studied pastries in France.  There is an element of finesse and a delicacy that exits in their pastries that just don’t exist in American pastries.  With that being said, I focused on elements and baking techniques  that I learned in Paris.

Chocolate, kumquat and coconut tarte

Sweet Tarte Dough (based on Pierre Herme’s recipe)
285g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut in small 1/2 inch pieces
150g icing sugar, sifted
100g ground almonds
3/4  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla bean pulp
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
490g all-purpose flour, sifted
In a food processor, add the flour, almonds and powdered sugar.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  Next add the salt and butter and pulse until the butter is course and uniform.  At this point mix the eggs with the vanilla.  Turn the processor on and add the eggs in one thin stream just until the ingredients come together to form a soft, moist dough that doesn’t clean the sides of the bowl completely but does hold together. Don’t overdo it.
Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into three or four pieces, depending on the size of the tarts using.   Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days before rolling and baking. At this stage, the dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.
Roll the dough out to 1/16-1/8 inch thickness and place inside the tarte rings, details below.
To bake: 385F for 15 min, then 340F for another 10-15 min depending on the size of the tart

Fresh picked kumquats just moments ago.  The beautiful element of a kumquat is their sweet skin and it’s tart juice.  A roll reversal from most citrus fruits.

One gorgeous coconut is all you need, don’t forget to drink half the coconut water and save 2 tbsp. for the recipe.

Left: Final result of the kumquats after they have cooked.      Right: Roughly chopping the kumquats in it’s own juices.

For the kumquats:
10 kumquats, peeled and with piths removed
1tbsp reserved kumquat juice
1tbsp honey
1/4c water
In a small saucepan, add all the ingredients and bring to a slow boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 min or until only 1tbsp of liquid remains.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  When cool, chop finely with it’s juice and chill until needed.

Shave or grate the coconut like so.

Saute 2tbsp of butter until browned, add the grated coconut, honey, coconut water and coconut cream.

For the coconut:

2tbsp unsalted butter
1c coconut, shells removed and grated fine
1tbsp reserved coconut juice
1tbsp honey
2tbsp coconut cream or milk
In a medium saute pan, add the butter over medium heat until the butter is slightly browned and has a slightly toasted nut aroma.  Add the coconut and saute for 1 minute, add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by more than half.  Set aside to cool  and refrigerate until needed.

Use just a scant of flour for the dough.

Roll out to desired thickness, about 1/16-1/8inch and brush off excess flour with a pastry brush.

After resting and pricking the dough with a fork to prevent excess rising, place inside the buttered tart ring.  Use a very sharp knife to remove excess dough from the top as above.

In France I learned to line the tart dough with plastic wrap and fill with pie weights.  I know what your thinking, “you can’t put plastic in the oven”.  Yes you can, use food safe plastic and lightly bring together the loose ends like above.

Bake 15 minutes at 385F then remove from the oven.  The plastic would have shrunk into a nice little package like so and easily removable.  Return to the oven at 340F until golden brown.

Left: This is what the tart looks like just out of the oven and cooling, it has rough edges both on top and the sides.  Center/Right: Using a potato or vegetable peeler, lightly scrape off the excess and un-uniform edges like so.

This is what it should look like when you are done, very clean and uniform edges.  Very nice!

Fill the inside of the tart with a thin later of kumquat confiture, chill for 15 min, then a thin layer of coconut mixture.  Chill until you are ready to pour in the chocolate cream.

Dark Chocolate Cream

500g milk

500g cream

120g sugar

170g egg yolks

380 70% Dark chocolate

Place the chocolate in a large plastic bowl. Bring the milk and cream to a boil with ½ of the sugar.  In a separate whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar.  Temper the milk into the egg yolk mixture then add the remaining milk return to the sauce pan and cook as for crème anglaise (84C to 86C).  Remove from heat.  Add the gelatin and whisk vigorously.  Add the chocolate in 3 or 4 increments, whisking vigorously each time. Pass through a fine mesh sieve. Pour into tarte shell at 38C.

When making any chocolate cream or mousse, always pour the cream over the chocolate and with a spatula, starting slowly in the middle.  Move in a small circular motion so the ingredients emulsify properly.

Pouring the chocolate about 38C.

Always decorate the outside of a tarte with elements of the ingredients inside the tarte.

A simple decoration

Happy baking and even more, happy eating!