High Country Baking: Chocolate ganache tart with nuts
High Country Baking
Need a go-to dessert for the holidays? This tart could be it: delicious, classy and easy to make — just the kind of recipe we need during such a busy season.
The key to its success is its filling: richly flavored, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache sprinkled with just enough nuts to make each bite both smooth and crunchy. Pecans were my nut of choice for the tart in the photo, but the recipe works just as well with walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, so select any one you like.
You have choices for your tart shell, as well. Use one that is flour-based, as I did, or one made with crushed graham crackers or ground cookies. Don’t have a favorite tart shell? Email me, and I’ll send you my recipe. When it comes to the chocolate, you have less leeway, so stick with semisweet and select a good one.
Chocolate ganache tart with nuts
Works at any elevation. Make in a 9-inch shiny metal tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Your favorite tart shell, pre-baked
- 8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts
- Whole nuts to decorate the top of the baked tart, optional
Make and pre-bake your favorite tart shell, and cool it completely in the pan.
Finely chop the chocolate, place it in a medium bowl or a 4-cup measure, add a pinch of salt and set the bowl aside.
Place the one tablespoon of corn syrup in a half-cup measure and add heavy cream until the measure is filled. Pour this in a microwave-safe bowl, scraping the bottom of the container to be sure that all the corn syrup is transferred to the bowl. Add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream to it. You should now have the required 3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon of cream, as well as the tablespoon of corn syrup in the microwave-safe bowl. Warm the mixture in a microwave oven at a medium setting until it’s steaming hot, just short of boiling. This can also be done in a heavy saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop.
Immediately pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, submerging it, and set it aside for a minute or two until the chocolate melts. Stir it gently (you don’t want to create air bubbles) until the chocolate is completely melted and blended with the cream, and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the chopped nuts.
Scrape the mixture into the cooled tart shell, distributing it evenly, and place in the refrigerator. If you’re decorating the top with whole nuts, remove the tart from the fridge when the chocolate is set but still slightly soft, and place the whole nuts in the desired design, pressing them very gently to keep them in place. Tent the tart with foil so it’s lightly covered, return it to the refrigerator and chill it for at least three hours so the chocolate firms up.
When you’re ready to serve it, cut the chilled tart with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, warming the blade in hot water and drying it between slices. Serve the tart chilled or at cool room temperature. Whipped cream, caramel or raspberry sauce are good accompaniments. Store in the fridge for up to two days. It still tastes good after that but loses some of its shine.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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