January 19, 2009

Milk-Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust

The Harrison, Sarah

When Sarah posted on her blog a review of a dinner she had at the Harrison in New York City with this as dessert, I knew it was something I had to try. So I was delighted when recently she also posted a link to the recipe online, provided by Food & Wine. I made it this Saturday. The original recipe says to serve it with creme fraiche, but I don't think it needed it. The other thing I learned is that it truly does need its four hours or more to chill; we cut into ours after just three because that's when we were ready to eat it, and it was a bit of an oozy mess to get back in the refrigerator. But the next day, the consistency was much more stable. The crust was very crunchy; it took a bit of wiggling with your fork to break off a piece. But, the crust combined with the cool, silky-smooth chocolate made every bite perfectly salty-sweet.

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 C coarsely crushed thin pretzels
3/4 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 C flour
1 large egg

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 1/2 C heavy cream
3/4 lb. milk chocolate, chopped

sea salt and crushed pretzels for garnish

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with 3/4 C of pretzels and confectioner's sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in flour and egg. Add remaining 1/2 C of pretzels, being sure to leave some pretzel pieces intact. Flatten dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough between the sheets of plastic wrap to about a 12-in. round. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough over a 10-in. fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough into corners and patch any tears. Refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes or until firm.

Line shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I set a cake pan on the parchment paper and it worked fine). Bake for about 30 minutes at 350, until nearly set. Remove parchment and weights and bake another 10 - 15 minutes, until tart shell is firm. Let shell cool completely. Then brush the melted bittersweet chocolate over the bottom and up the sides of the shell and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat, add milk chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer filling to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Pour filling into the shell and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and crushed pretzels. Cut into wedges, top with creme fraiche if desired, and serve.

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