A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.
Recipe source: unknown
In the spirit of calories and tarts, check out the fabulous dessert I’m making for the second anniversary with my man! I’ve had this recipe for so long, I don’t even know now where it came from. My apologies for plagiarizing. The one and only other time I’ve made this dessert was for Bosses Day circa 2002. I was working in an office and our boss had taken us out for a beautiful Italian lunch at a very authentic restaurant where he knew the chefs and they made us custom dishes. We didn’t order anything from the menu, except for dessert. There were eight desserts to choose from, and the three of us could not decide. So he said “get them all.”
It was such a great gesture that we decided to do something equally great for him in return. We brought in linens, fancy dishes and silverware from home, and spent most of the morning cooking rather than working. I made a goat cheese bruschetta (hmmm, I should find that recipe again) and this dessert. My mom helped me and at the time… well, let’s just say I didn’t have the confidence then that I have now. We even had to borrow a food processor for the crust! How our kitchens have evolved… So I’m hoping the recipe will be less terrifying this time around, because it’s so, so worth it. (Jump to recipe.)
To start, you’ll make the crust in a food processor by blending unsalted butter, superfine sugar, salt and vanilla extract until creamy, then adding in unsweetened cocoa powder, then flour until you have a crumbly dough.
Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a flat, round disk with your hands, and wrap. Refrigerate for one hour. Then remove from fridge and allow dough to warm on counter for 10 minutes. Unwrap, place another piece of plastic wrap on top, and roll with a rolling pin into a 13-inch circle. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and flip into an 11-inch tart pan with removable base. Then peel off the remaining wrap and piece together the oops pieces with your fingers. Prick crust with a fork and refrigerate for another hour.
Around the 50-minute mark, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When crust has been chillin’ for an hour, remove it from the fridge. Make a piece of wax or parchment paper to cover the bottom by tracing around the tart pan and cutting just inside the line. Place the paper into the crust, then top with pie weights or raw, dry beans. And when I say beans, I mean beans. Not popcorn, which I almost did… for an inevitable, yet comedic popcorn-throughout-the-oven disaster – and not lentils, which I did… and ruined, as they don’t require the pre-boiling that beans do.
Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove beans and parchment paper, and bake for another 5 minutes. Then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. And when I say use a cooling rack, I mean… not a small, round trivet which will press the removable base up and out of the pan and crack your crust. Like I did. Thank you.
Now you can make the ganache filling and berry sauce. For filling, boil heavy cream and seedless preserves. I decided to use blackberry this time, but you can use any berry of your choice. Then remove from heat and add in semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli, yum) and unsalted butter, to melt. Pour into cooled crust. (You will likely have a little extra, so be careful… like I wasn’t.)
For the berry sauce, you will process fresh or frozen berries of your choice (I used raspberries), lemon juice and superfine sugar.
Then place a strainer over a bowl, pour the sauce into the strainer, and add berry-flavored liqueur (I used Chambord). Doing it this way will add a little more liquid to help in straining through the seeds. If necessary, you can also add a little water.
And lastly…. (drumroll please)… serve up that puppy! Remove torte from pan by lifting up removable base and holding on to the edges. Arrange fresh berries on torte and serve with sauce on the side, or in an artistic drizzle over the top.
RECIPE – Rich Chocolate-Blackberry Torte with Raspberry Sauce
Raspberries, blackberries, wild strawberries, boysenberries, loganberries, or any combination can be used to top this torte. Likewise, the sauce can be made with the same berry or from a berry with a complementary flavor.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup superfine sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups flour
CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup seedless blackberry/raspberry preserve
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 oz fresh or frozen blackberries/raspberries, plus extra for topping
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tbsp blackberry/raspberry-flavor liqueur, such as Chambord
Prepare pastry. In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla until creamy. Add cocoa and process for one minute, until well blended; scrape side of bowl. Add flour all at once and using the pulse action, process for 10-15 seconds, until just blended. Place a piece of plastic wrap on work surface. Remove metal blade and turn out dough onto plastic wrap. Use wrap to help shape dough into flat disc and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for one hour.
Lightly grease a 11-inch tart pan with removable base. Soften dough for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Roll out dough between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap to a 13-inch round, about ¼-inch thick. Peel off top sheet of plastic and invert dough into prepared pan. Ease dough into pan. Remove plastic wrap.
With floured fingers, press dough onto base and side of pan, then roll rolling pin of edge of pan to cut off any excess dough. Prick base of dough with fork. Refrigerate for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line tart shell with foil or parchment paper; fill with dry beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes; lift out foil with beans and bake for 5 minutes more, until just set (pastry may look underdone on the bottom, but will dry out). Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Prepare filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream and blackberry/raspberry preserve to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate all at once, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in butter and strain into cooled tart shell, smoothing top. Cool torte completely and refrigerate to set.
Prepare sauce. In a food processor combine blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar and process until smooth. Strain into a small bowl and add blackberry/raspberry-flavor liqueur. If sauce is too thick, thin with a little water.
To serve, remove torte from pan. Place on serving plate and arrange with the berries on top of the torte. With a pastry brush, brush berries with a little of the blackberry/raspberry sauce to glaze lightly. Serve remaining sauce separately.