So yeah, it’s that day today. Valentine’s Day, the day pastry chefs everywhere secretly (or not so secretly) despise as I’ve discussed before. The intense need to do something special, something important, something meaningful is so high it’s nearly unattainable. So I recommend you stay home and simply enjoy the company of your loved ones from the comfort of your couch. Avoid the obnoxious crowds and eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. Maybe even Lucky Charms where you picked out all the marshmallows except the pink hearts.
But even saying that, there are a few things that you should do. Go buy some of those conversation heart candies. You have to if only to laugh at all the goofy sayings as you deliberately eat just the yellow ones. Buy a cheesy Valentine card for your sweetheart – or just yourself. No one works harder or deserves it more than you. Or better yet, purchase a box of cheap Valentine’s like when you were a kid and hand them out to your work colleagues. You’re guaranteed to get smiles all around, especially if you can track down some Scooby-Doo cards. Those were always the best.
And bake something chocolate for dessert. There is never a more appropriate time for something deep, dark and chocolatey than Valentine’s Day and if anyone knows chocolate it’s Pierre Hermé. This tart, this warm chocolate raspberry tart, will serve you well. The crust is a simple, basic pastry dough and can be done hours in advance. The filling comes together quickly if you have everything measured, chopped and ready to go (aka your mise en place). You could even make and fill the tart an hour or two ahead of time and keep chilled. But you do have to bake it pretty much to order – say, ½ hour before you want to eat it.
I have one rule on this one: you must eat this warm. It’s a little richer and more decadent and the raspberries are incomparable when they’re hot and bursting with flavor. Sure the leftovers are still decent cold the next day but you should really give them a zap in the microwave. There’s just something about warm chocolate and blazing hot berries that needs to happen here.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: BIG HAPPY SIGH. There’s so much stress inherent in this damn day, don’t add to it. Make something easy, something stunning but above all, something delicious. Then kick back and enjoy yourself.
Other chocolate desserts from this blog:
– Drinks: Mexican Hot Chocolate
– Tarts & Pastries: Chocolate Churros, Chocolate Ganache Tart, Nutella Torte, Chocolate Banoffee Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Turnovers
– Sauces: Chocolate Cabernet Sauce
– Cookies & Brownies: Double Chocolate Alfajores, Whatchmacallit Brownies, Peppermint Patty Brownies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Peanut Rice Krispie Treats
– Ice Creams: Chocolate Dulce de Leche Swirl Ice Cream,
– Custards: Chocolate Malt Pots de Crème, Chocolate Pear Clafouti, ChocoFlan
WARM CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART – a few tweaks on a recipe in Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Desserts
Makes one 9” tart, serving 6-8
For the tart dough:
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½” chunks (4 ounces/1 stick)
1 large egg yolk
3 Tablespoons ice water
for the filling
½ cup fresh raspberries
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 60% cacao or more
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (3.5 ounces)
1 large egg, room temperature
3 large yolks, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
fresh raspberries (for garnish)
- For the tart dough: In the bowl of food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse several times until the mixture is the size of small peas.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk and the ice water.
- Add the yolk/water mixture and process until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently knead to combine any remaining dry bits.
- Pat into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least ½ hour. Note: Can be made up to two days ahead, refrigerated or freeze up to 2 months.
- Roll the dough: remove the dough from the fridge and let warm up a little bit – 5-10 minutes so it’s easier to roll.
- Lightly flour the work surface and rolling from the center out, roll the dough about 1 ½” larger than the 9” tart pan.
- Transfer the dough to the pan – roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and carefully unroll roll it over the tart pan.
- Carefully ease the dough into the pan, making sure it fits into all the flutes and corners.
- Roll the pin over the top to cut off excess dough (or pinch off excess.)
- Freeze for at least 30 minutes until solid. Note: this can be done several days in advance.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and place oven rack in the lowest position.
- Blind bake: bake the empty tart shell for 15-20 minutes. With chocolate dough it’s tough to tell if it’s done because you can’t really use the “golden brown” visual cue. Take the dough out of the oven and touch it – if it’s done, it will be firm not soft to the touch.
- Immediately press down any bubbles to flatten the crust. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the filling: reduce the oven to 375ºF.
- Fill the cooled baked tart crust with the raspberries.
- Place the chocolate in a large bowl and melt until smooth. Microwave method: In a microwave safe bowl, melt at 50% power in 45 second bursts, stirring between bursts until smooth. Double boiler method: Place the bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth.
- Place the egg in one small bowl and the yolks in another and beat each lightly with a fork.
- With a rubber spatula, gently stir the whole egg into the chocolate, taking care not to agitate the mixture – you don’t want to incorporate any air.
- Bit by bit, stir in the egg yolks, then the sugar.
- Finally, working gently, stir in the warm melted butter.
- Pour mixture over the raspberries in the tart shell, gently nudging the berries to evenly distribute the batter.
- Bake for 10 minutes and check– the top of the tart should be dull, like a cake and the center of the tart will jiggle slightly when shaken. Mine is usually not quite ready at this point and needs another 4-5 minutes in my oven.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Dust with a little powdered sugar and garnish with a few fresh raspberries. If you want to get really fancy, crème anglaise would pair beautifully. As would a nice glass of ruby port or cognac.