Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate Pudding Cream Tart

As promised, here is the skinny (really, not skinny, very very NOT skinny) on the Chocolate Pudding Cream Tart I made again this past weekend.  This tart, courtesy Ina Garten, is a roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head, lip-smacking-good dessert any chocolate lover will bow down and worship you for.  It looks complicated, tastes as though you spent all day making it, and is really quite easy.  The most difficult part for me is the clean-up.

This slice(s) of deliciousness comes from her latest cookbook: how easy is that?  Needless to say, I own every cookbook Ina Garten publishes.  They make me look like a genius in the kitchen, and my family generally laps up whatever creation I whip up from those pages.  Mmmmmmm...yum.
Latest volume of the kitchen "bible"

Chocolate Pudding Cream Tart
Serves 6

For the Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approx. 14 whole crackers crushed)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter

For the Filling
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 extra-large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
7 oz good bittersweet chocolate, broken
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon Kahlua liqueur
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder, such as Nescafe Clasico
Sweetened whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract whipped until forms firm peaks)
Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Lightly press the mixture into an 11-inch metal tart pan with removable sides.  Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. 

Got a chance to use my new Russian nesting doll measuring cups!
Mountain of yummy goodness-before you press it into the tart pan
I always bake this tart pan on a cookie sheet so I don't accidentally remove the bottom
I have to insert my own notes here...the first time I made this I accidentally forgot to press "start" on my timer.  The crust baked for who knows how long, and came out browner than most graham cracker crusts usually do-not burned though.  It was MUCH better that time than the second time I made it.  I will probably go closer to 15 minutes when I bake it again.  I liked the crispier texture and browned-butter flavor it had.  But either way, this crust is so delicious, I could eat it without the filling (but who would want to?!).

It helps to arrange everything first so you don't leave an ingredient out!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until almost simmering.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk into the bowl. (I pour the hot milk into a large measuring cup first to reduce spills.) Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is very thick.  Off the heat, add the chocolate, butter, Kahlua, and coffee.  Beat with a whisk until smooth and pour into the cooled crust.  Place plastic wrap directly on the chocolate filling and chill the tart for 6 hours, until cold.  Decorate with whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve cold.

You MUST use whole milk in this. If you want skim, walk away now.

Here's the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch mixture

And here is what it should look like after you combine it in your mixer-pale yellow

My favorite part of this recipe-broken chocolate, not chopped. I abhor chopping chocolate!

Adding the instant coffee to the prep bowl of chocolate

Your custard before it thickens-stir, stir, stir!

So, I missed a few steps-it goes fast! But I wanted you to see that the plastic wrap does go directly on the pudding.  Don't worry, it will come off cleanly. (and yes, that is my porch-I saved fridge space on a cold day!)

First, I don't bother with the small saucepan/large saucepan dilemma she presents.  I use a 3 quart dutch oven for heating the milk, pour it into my stand mixer, then use the same dutch oven again.  The most difficult thing about this recipe is all the bowls/pans it uses.  This cuts down on one.  I also prep everything before heating the milk-break the chocolate, dice the butter, measure out the instant coffee, etc.  Once you get that milk warm, the process goes quickly....until you have to stand and stir the pudding over low heat.  I kind of like that part.  It is soothing, smells like sweet warm milk, and while you do it, poof!  Pudding magically appears out of a runny custard.  Who wouldn't love that?  Both times I have made this, I found it took closer to the 10 minute mark to get the mixture to thicken.  
All decorated and ready to eat.

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