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La Tarte Au Chocolate Basilic

My favorite dark chocolate is Lindt, 90% supreme dark. These chocolate tarts showcase the balanced superlative flavor of dark chocolate, but if it’s too intense for your palate, substitute your favorite dark or semi-sweet chocolate to make them.

On a foodie road trip in Europe, a colleague and I drove through the charming village of Villeneue, France. We could not resist having a coffee break at a small Pastry Shoppe in the town square. This recipe is as close as one can get using US ingredients to the tart that we devoured that day.

Only true chocoholics will love this decadent double chocolate tart adapted from the great chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. On the lighter side, fill the baked chocolate tart shell with strawberry ice cream and top it with fresh strawberries for a spring treat. Bon appétit!

Serves 6 to 8

For the crust:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
8 to 10 large basil leaves, bruised
2 large egg yolks
1 cup Crème Fraiche
About 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate for shaving and grating

To prepare:

For the tart shell: In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Working in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, add the dry ingredients to the butter and mix well.

Add the eggs and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about thirty minutes or up to three hours.

On a floured pastry cloth, roll out the dough to about one-eighth of an-inch thick. Fit the dough into an eleven-inch removable bottom tart pan and trim of excess dough and crimp the edges. Line the tart with foil and freeze one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Partially bake the tart shell with the foil on the dough for fifteen minutes. Remove foil and chill the shell again. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.

For the filling: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-mixing bowl. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add milk and basil and bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and steep for fifteen minutes. Reheat the milk to a simmer and pour it through a sieve set over bowl of chocolate and discard the basil. With a wooden spoon, gently stir the chocolate until melted and smooth (do not whisk or add air).

In another small bowl, whisk egg yolks into the crème fraiche until blended. Add the crème to warm chocolate and blend carefully. Set aside, and bring to room temperature.

To assemble; Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Grate a layer of chocolate over the prebaked pastry shell. Pour chocolate filling into the tart shell and bake in the center rack until the filling is set, about twenty minutes (it will be somewhat soft to the touch, but will set up when cold.) Transfer the tart to a wire rack and chill in refrigerator at least two hours. Just before serving garnish the edge of the tart with chocolate curls and cut into serving sized pieces

Chocolate Tart in Chocolate Crust: Adapted from Jean-George Vongerichten