by Alice Medrich
from Pure Dessert
Makes one 9 1/2-inch-round or a 4-by-14-inch rectangular fluted tart
The subtle citrus notes in this dark-chocolate tart come from pink grapefruit and blood orange zest. The flavor and scent of jasmine-infused cream add an exotic sensuality to an easy but elegant dinner-party dessert.—Alice Medrich
For the topping
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon good-quality jasmine tea (I use Yin Hao or Jasmine Downy Pearls)
2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
For the crust
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
For the filling
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (see Note), finely chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon very lightly packed grated blood (or regular) orange zest, preferably from an organic or unsprayed fruit
1/2 teaspoon very lightly packed grated pink grapefruit zest, preferably from an organic or unsprayed fruit
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/4 cup boiling water
Candied Citrus Peel, for garnish (optional)
For the candied citrus peel
4 bright-skinned oranges, 2 grapefruit, or 6 to 8 lemons, limes, or tangerines
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for dredging
Make the topping
1. Make the cold tea infusion for the topping early in the day or a day ahead. Stir the cream and tea leaves together in a bowl. Cover and chill for 8 to 12 hours. Even if you are not using the cream right away, strain the tea out and discard it after 12 hours. Refrigerate the cream until needed.
Make the crust
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. If the dough seems too soft, let it stand for 5 minutes to firm up.
3. Press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan; to avoid ending up with extra-thick edges, press the dough squarely into the corners of the pan. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes; press it down with the back of a spoon or prick it with a fork, if it bubbles up. Let cool completely on a rack before making the filling.
Make the filling
1. Place the chocolate, butter, and citrus zest in a small heatproof bowl (stainless steel is best), set it in a wide skillet of not-quite-simmering water, and stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl, set a fine strainer over it, and set aside. Leave the skillet over low heat.
2. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the boiling water. Place the egg bowl in the skillet and stir constantly with a silicone spatula, sweeping the bottom of the bowl to prevent the egg from cooking, until the mixture registers 160°F (70°C) on the instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl from the skillet and immediately scrape the yolk mixture into the strainer set over the bowl of chocolate. Stir gently, without whisking or beating, just until the egg is incorporated completely into the chocolate and the mixture is smooth (except for the bits of zest).
3. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and spread it evenly. Place in a covered container (or cover with an inverted bowl if you don’t have an appropriate container), and refrigerate at least until the filling is set (3 to 4 hours), or up to 2 days.
1. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the tart from the refrigerator, to soften the filling and bring back its sheen. Remove the pan sides and place the tart on a platter.
2. Whip the jasmine-infused cream until thickened. Add the sugar (you want the cream only gently sweetened so that the sweetness doesn’t overpower the subtle flavor of the jasmine and the tea) and whip until it holds a soft shape, or a little stiffer if you plan to pipe the cream.
3. Using a pastry bag, decorate the tart with the jasmine cream or serve plain wedges with dollops of cream. If desired, add the Candied Citrus Peel.
Make the candied citrus peel
1. Use a sharp knife to score the peel of each fruit into quarters (or sixths if using grapefruit), cutting just through the skin from the top to bottom all around. Use your fingers to strip the peel from the fruit. It’s okay if some fruit is left on the peel for now. You should have 3 to 4 cups peel. Save the fruit for another dish.
2. Place the peel in a 3-to-4-quart saucepan and fill the pan with cold water, leaving just enough space for it to boil. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. Drain the peel and dump it into a large bowl of cold water to cool for a minute. Drain and return the peel to the saucepan. Repeat the entire blanching and cooling sequence twice for thin-skinned Meyer lemons or tangerines, three times for oranges, regular lemons, or tangelos, or four times for grapefruit. (Blanching rids the peel of excess harshness and astringency and tenderizes it. The number of blanchings is not cast in stone. With experience, you may increase or decrease the number to get the tenderness and flavor that you like. Even fruit of the same variety varies in texture, skin thickness, and bitterness, so use my guidelines as you will.)
3. After the final blanching and draining, use a small sharp knife to scrape only the mushiest part of the white pith gently from the peel, leaving thicker lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels about 1/4 inch thick and thinner tangerine or Meyer lemon peels about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the peel into strips or triangles or whatever shape you like.
4. Place the peel in a smaller (2-quart) saucepan with the 1 1/2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Wash the syrup and sugar off the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a wad of wet paper towel. Adjust the heat and very gently simmer the peel uncovered, with little or no stirring, very gently until the syrup registers between 220°F and 222°F (104°C and 160°C) and the peel has been translucent for a few minutes — this will take a little more or less than an hour.
5. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the peel to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, to catch the syrup drips. Spread the peel out in one layer and let cool and dry overnight.
6. Dredge the peel in sugar to coat. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the peel will keep for several months.
Note: If you use chocolate that exceeds 62 percent cacao, the recipe must be adjusted as follows: Use only 6 ounces chocolate marked 64 to 66 percent; use only 5 1/2 ounces chocolate marked 66 to 72 percent and dissolve 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar in the boiling water before adding it to the egg yolk.
Recipe © 2007 by Alice Medrich. All rights reserved.