Monday, November 15, 2010

Dark Chocolate Tart with Toasted Almonds & Candied Orange

Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine, March 2003
Serves 12 to 16
 Dark Chocolate Tart with Almond & Candied Orange Peel
For the crust:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (I love these brands), chopped
1 Tbl plus 1 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
candied peel from 2 oranges (see recipe below), plus more for garnish
For the whipped cream:
1  cup heavy cream
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the crust: Combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat at medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add the cocoa powder, beat on slow speed until just combined, then beat at medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add the flour, and beat on low speed until the dough begins to come together in moist clumps.  Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Using your fingers and the heels of your hands, evenly press the dough over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.  Refrigerate for 3o minutes. 
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle position.
Bake the curst until the sides look dry and set, and the bottom looks bubbly, about 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  If the dough happens to fall down the sides of the pan, use a spoon to press it back up.  (The original recipe warned of this happening, but I had no problems with a falling crust.)
Chocolate Tart Crust 
For the filling: Slice the candied orange peel to about a 1/4-inch dice or a little smaller.  In a small mixing bowl, toss to combine the diced orange peel, almonds, sugar and cinnamon, then set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepot, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Add the Grand Marnier and stir to combine. 
Pour about one-third of the melted chocolate-cream mixture over the orange-almond mixture and stir to combine.  Transfer the orange-almond mixture into the cooled crust, then evenly spread it over the bottom of the tart.  Pour the remaining chocolate-cream mixture over the top, then evenly distribute it across the tart, smoothing the top surface with a rubber spatula.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. 

For the whipped cream:  Whip the cream to soft peaks (When you stick a spoon into the cream and lift it out, a point will form then droop down after a second or two).  Add sugar and vanilla and whip to firm peaks (The point formed in the cream will stand straight up and not fall over).

Slice the pie into 12 to 16 wedges.  Serve each slice garnished with sugar-coated orange peel slices (See ‘For an Extra Special Treat’ below), and a dollop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream.


Candied Citrus Peels
Adapted from Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti

Candied Orange Peels

6 large oranges OR 4 medium Ruby Red grapefruits 
5 cups granulated sugar
4 1/4 cups water
2/3 cups light corn syrup

Cut the fruit into six equal wedges through the stem end.  Pull out the flesh of the fruit (the part we normally eat) and save for another use or a snack.  Leave the pithy white underside of the skin in place. 

1. Orange Slices

2. Orange Peels

Fill a large saucepot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.  Add the citrus peels to the boiling water.  Keep the heat on high, and allow the water to return to a boil, stirring occasionally.  As you wait for the water to boil, fill a large mixing bowl with ice water.  Drain the peels from the boiling water in a colander, then plunge the peels into the ice water.  (This is the first of three times you’re going to do all of this.  But don’t get ahead of yourself – step 3 is a little bit different.)

Refill the saucepot with water and bring to a boil again.  Drain the peels from the ice water, then again add them to the boiling water and wait for the water to return to a boil.  Drain the peels again, and then again plunge them into a new bowl of ice water. 

Refill the saucepot with water for a third time, and again bring to a boil over high heat.  This time, while you are waiting for the water to boil, slice off about half of the thickness of the white pith from each piece of citrus peel.  It’s best to use a thin, sharp, flexible knife to do this, such as a fillet knife.  Discard the slices of pith. 

Place the peels in the boiling water for a final time, and again return the water to the boil, then drain the peels from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice water.  Drain them from the ice water when cooled. 

3. Orange Peels in Water, Bringing Back to a Boil

4. Peels with Pith Sliced Off

Now it’s time to candy the peels.  Stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup in a large saucepot.  Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, cut 2 rounds of parchment paper slightly wider than the circumference of the pot.  When the sugar syrup comes to a boil, add the citrus peels and bring back to a simmer.  Cover the peels with the 2 sheets of parchment paper, to keep them submerged in the sugar syrup.  Adjust the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a bare simmer.  Cook until the pith is soft and the peel begins to look translucent, about 1 hour 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the citrus peels to cool in the sugar syrup, at room temperature overnight, with the parchment paper in place and undisturbed.

The next day, transfer the citrus peels and syrup to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.  The candied peels will keep indefinitely.

5. Orange Peels Simmering in Sugar Syrup, Covered with Parchment

6. Candied Orange Peels in Sugar Syrup

For an extra special treat:
While you can use the candied citrus peels just as they are for recipes like the Chocolate-Orange Whoopie Pies, they’re really, especially lovely all on their own, dusted with sugar.  To do this, first remove the peels from the syrup.  Rinse off the syrup in cool running water.  Slice the pieces lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.  Place a wire cooling rack over a parchment paper or foil-lined sheet pan, then arrange the strips of candied citrus over the rack.  Leave them at room temperature overnight, or until dry.  Place granulated sugar in a bowl. Add the dried peel, a few strips at a time, and toss to coat evenly with sugar.  Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place (but not in a refrigerator).

Air-Drying the Sliced Candied Orange Peels

Dipped In Sugar