Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sophie Germain

Dark Chocolate and Orange Tart with Toasted Almonds

Well-Loved Recipe

I first tried this recipe in the fall of 2003. I printed it out from Epicurious and made notes after reading the reviews. Among the changes I noted: multiplying the filling recipe by one and a half, taking the crust out of the oven after 9 minutes instead of the recommended 12, and stirring the filling into the ganache before spreading it into the crust.

Chocolate Shortbread Crust with cinnamon and sea salt, already baked

It's not a complicated dessert, really. I would give it an intermediate rating for difficulty. The only real trick is starting early enough. At least two days before you plan on serving it, or you'll be in the kitchen all day. That first time, I decided to make the tart to celebrate Casey's first week of law school, and planned ahead accordingly. I made the dough for the crust two days ahead and let it chill overnight, then rolled it out and baked it the day before.

Filling: chopped toasted almonds, chopped candied orange peel, brown sugar and cinnamon

I also candied the orange peel ahead of time, and let it cool and dry overnight before chopping. The filling is just the candied orange peel, toasted slivered almonds (both all chopped up), plus sugar (the recipe calls for white but I've used brown) and cinnamon. Then I made a ganache, which is so simple that it makes me laugh, and poured a little into the filling so it would hold together on top of the crust. Spread the filling into the crust and pour the rest of the ganache over, then chill overnight. Really, not difficult.

Melting the chopped bittersweet chocolate in the hot cream to make ganache

The night I planned to serve this tart, Trent and I went to a baseball game. The plan was for us to head back to the South Street house after the game, where we'd meet up with Casey, Jenny and Patrick and enjoy the dessert together in celebration. But the ballgame went to extra innings, and we started getting impatient phone calls from C, J & P.

Jenny: "We want to go ahead and eat the tart. We're tired of waiting."
Me: "No, just sit tight. I want us to all eat it together, so it will be special."

Ganache all smoothed out, then a little bit added to the filling to hold it together

Another phone call, ten minutes later...
Jenny: "We're getting really hungry and tired. We want to eat the tart. Stop being selfish."
Me: "Don't be mean! Just be patient!"

Phone rings again...
Jenny: "We aren't waiting anymore. We're going to eat it!"
Me: "FINE. Screw you guys. Whatever." Click.

Filling spread into the tart crust

And then another call, two minutes later...
Jenny (sounds sheepish): "Laney? We love you..."
Me: "Yeah, yeah."
Patrick: "Laney? We love you..."
Me: "Fine, fine."
Casey: "Laney? We love you..."

Finished, with ganache poured over the filling, smooth and shiny. Just chill!

I got home to over a third of the tart (which is supposed to feed 16) gone, and a note next to the pan on the counter:


If you can't read it, it says:
Suggested Names:
1. Holy Fucking Shit Tart
2. Ain't Fuckin' Around Pie
3. Does somebody have to go to law school to get this? Tart


4. Sex Pie All grown up
5. Everybody Loves Delaney (and we're gonna stay up all night thinking about it) Tart
(heart) J, P, C

After all these years, this is still known as the HFS Tart. I brought two to work today, and am feeling pretty good about my status as Most Popular Employee. Who Also Tries the Hardest to Be Most Popular. And Has No Problem Resorting to Shameless Bribery for Affection If Necessary.


Vickie said...

Mercy! I need to try this HFS tart. XOXO Mom

Casey said...

i can't believe you still have that note! love that story.