La Maison du Chocolat. I was in heaven.
Byrne & Carlson, in Portsmouth, NH. They made beautiful and delicious little wreaths studded with a variety of fruits, nuts and flowers. They now make mendiant bars with almonds, orange peel, dried cherries, crystallized mint leaves, violet petals and pansies. While not the traditional four fruits and nuts, theirs are so delicious and elegant that tradition doesn’t matter!
The Modern Trobadors.
Mendiant Tart With Dark Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from the New York Times
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
499 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring work surface
155 grams (1 1/3 cup) confectioners’ sugar
pinch of kosher salt
16 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
Nonstick baking spray
8 ounces 60- to 70-percent-cacao dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons full-flavored honey
pinch of kosher salt
candied violet petals
fleur de sel
First, make the tart shell. This recipe will make enough for two tarts - the second shell can be frozen for future use.
In a small bowl, combine the vanilla, 1 whole egg and the yolk of another, reserving the remaining egg white for sealing the baked shell.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed, then add the butter and continue until mixture has a sandy consistency, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla-egg mixture and continue to mix until the dough comes together around the paddle, 3 to 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 disks and wrap individually in plastic. Chill until dough is cold but not too hard to roll, about 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 325°F. Apply baking spray to a fluted 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness, about 12 inches in diameter. Gently roll dough onto a floured rolling pin, and unroll into tart pan. Press dough into pan’s corners, being sure it remains the same thickness all around. Roll the rolling pin across pan edges to cut off excess dough. Place pan in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Line tart shell with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights, dry beans or rice. Bake until edges of dough start to color, about 12 minutes. Remove parchment and weights. Return to oven until base of pastry loses its sheen and is slightly golden, another 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly whisk the reserved egg white, and brush it over the entire inner surface of the hot shell. Return shell to oven to dry the egg white, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling.
While pastry shell is cooling, make the ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine cream, honey and salt. Bring to a simmer and immediately pour over the chocolate; allow to sit for 1 minute. Gently stir the mixture to create a silky ganache.
Pour ganache into shell, filling it to the brim. Allow to rest in a cool place for 10 minutes so chocolate can lightly set. Gently place all toppings, except for salt, on the ganache surface. Let rest in a cool place for another hour, or refrigerate for 20 minutes for a faster set. Serve at room temperature, slicing with a sharp knife first dipped in hot water. Serve fleur de sel on the side, letting your guests sprinkle a little on their slices. (If you add the salt to the tart too early, the moisture from the ganache will dissolve the salt. Not pretty and it lacks the crunchy texture, although it tastes fine.)
Makes 1 9-inch tart, 2 9-inch tart shells
Thoughts for variation... I think it might be worth adding some lemon or orange zest to the crust, and perhaps some orange emulsion to the ganache. Just some thoughts...
|These are my mother's wedding china - British pottery, actually - and I only have a few left.|