Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker, I will be too busy to bake all of the recipes, so I'm getting ahead whenever I can. Especially since the tarts and pies look so amazing.
When I needed a dessert for my brother's housewarming this weekend, I was inspired by Sara (at Three Clever Sisters) and Andrea (at Family & Food & Other Things) to jump ahead to the chocolate orange hazelnut tart (p. 179). Sara made it as written, and Andrea made a chocolate raspberry almond tart.
I do not like hazelnuts, so I was glad Andrea suggested the almond substitution. Chocolate raspberry is my absolute favorite combination, so I really wanted to go that route, but unfortunately raspberries are one of the few foods my hubby dislikes, so I stuck with chocolate orange.
Last night, I prepared the almonds and made the tart shell. N.M.'s directions for blanching and roasting the almonds were pretty slick; I had no idea it was so easy to get the skins off!
The sweet tart dough (made with ground almonds) was pretty easy to throw together in the food processor, and then I put it into the fridge overnight. Even cold, it was still incredibly sticky today, and I could not roll it, so I used N.M.'s instructions for pressing it into the pan. That process actually went pretty well.
The filling came together pretty easily, too: cream, sugar, butter, and chopped chocolate melted together; eggs whisked with rum and orange zest; all of it combined, poured into the shell, and topped with chopped almonds. It baked for 25 minutes and looked and smelled absolutely wonderful.
We took the tart to the party this afternoon, where it got many compliments on its looks. Unfortunately, it is so unbelievably hot here that no one felt much like eating anything ~ especially not a rich dessert. Still, I noticed slivers of it disappearing, and I wasn't sad to have leftovers to bring home with me. It has a very rich, dark chocolate flavor, and the hint of orange is awesome. It really needed something creamy and light to accent the bittersweet chocolate ~ whipped cream or ice cream. N.M. suggests whipped cream, but I didn't want to have to make and transport it to the party; I will definitely be making some for us tonight, though! =) And I will definitely make this recipe again, whenever I need an impressive dessert.
Update: Added some sweet whipped cream tonight . . . amazing! I think I will probably still try 60% chocolate instead of 70% next time, but either way, YUM!