Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Tart

I have been making this tart since 1990 and it’s no coincidence that it is the same year Alice Medrich’s cookbook, Cocolat, came out.

For those of you who don’t know Alice, during the 1970’s, she had a chocolate dessert shop of the same name (Cocolat) in Berkeley, California.

The chocolate truffles alone, which were sinfully delicious, were well worth the drive from the Bay Area.

This past weekend, I ran into Alice at The Tucson Festival of Books. She was in Arizona promoting her latest book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.  I love the title.

It was a full day on the University of Arizona’s campus, with more than 400 authors, workshops, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations.

When I got home that evening I had to make something chocolate.

The Cocolat recipe calls for a chocolate tart pastry, which is very good, but I’m abstaining from grains during Lent. So, I came up with a toasted almond and coconut crust that needs no baking and voila … a modified version of Alice’s rich, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth, sinfully delicious (minus the sin) truffle you eat with a fork.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil or coconut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for decoration
  • whipped cream, optional … on second thought … a must!

To Prepare the crust:

Toast almonds, cool and chop in a food processor. You want them finely chopped, but be careful not to turn it into almond butter.
Add the coconut and pulse until they are mixed together. Add the coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time. (It’s oil when it’s liquid, butter when it’s solid). If you have solid, melt it until it’s a liquid.

 

 

Pour the crust into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Press down to form a crust (just like you would for a graham cracker crust on a cheesecake).

 

 

 

Now let’s make the filling:

Place chocolate in a medium-size heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a simmer.
Pour the cream over the chocolate; let stand for 30 seconds. Stir very gently (if you stir too briskly you will create air bubbles and foam that will cause a dry grainy texture) just until chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth.
For the shiniest tart, avoid using a knife or spatula to smooth the filling once it has been poured.
Pour the filling into the crust, quickly spreading it evenly.
Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Remove the finished tart from the refrigerator at least 45 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly and bring back it’s shine. Remove the ring from the tart pan, set the dessert on a plate.
With a fine strainer, sift cocoa powder on top of this silky smooth tart. A touch of whipped cream is a must!

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