Rich Dark Chocolate Tart with Maine Sea Salt
For this tart you make a simple crust by crushing Amaretti cookies (those wonderful crunchy Italian almond cookies that come in individual colorful wrappers) and mixing them with a touch of sugar and melted butter and lining a French tart pan. The filling is like a chocolate mousse—good bittersweet chocolate, cream, eggs, vanilla, and sea salt. What I love about the tart is that the filing has no sugar—it’s all about honoring the chocolate and the balance of the sea salt.
Serve the tart in thin slices with hot chocolate (sure, why not, it’s still February), dark coffee, or top it with vanilla-scented whipped cream, frozen yogurt, or ice cream.
The tart makes a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift for someone you love. Even if they are the type who would hide chocolate from you.
Plan on letting the tart cool for at least one hour and up to 12 hours.
- 1 cup ground Amaretti cookies *
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar **
The Chocolate and Sea Salt Filling:
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65% cocoa), well chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon good sea salt, see head note, plus some for sprinkling on top
* You’ll need about 20 cookies, depending on the brand and the size. Place the cookies in a food processor or blender and blend until finely ground. You can also place them in a tightly sealed plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin until finely ground. You could also substitute with graham crackers, or chocolate graham crackers.
** I don’t like the pie too sweet. If you like a sweeter crust you can add another tablespoon or two of sugar, but the cookies are awfully sweet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl mix the crushed cookies, the melted butter, and the sugar. Press the crust into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (with a removable bottom). You can also make this in a regular pie plate but it looses some of its sex appeal! Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Bake on the middle shelf for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile place the cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
Place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot cream on top and stir steadily, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt until frothy. Add the whisked egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake on the middle shelf for about 25 to 28 minutes. To test for doneness: gently shake the tart and if the middle wobbles a little (and still appears undercooked) but the sides seems solid, it is perfect. The tart will continue to cook when it’s removed from the oven and will firm up when cooking.
Remove from the oven and, while the tart is still warm, sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of the salt, very gently pressing it into the chocolate if it doesn’t seem to adhere. Let the tart cool for 1 hour. Some claim the tart is best served after that hour of cooling, but I like it best after it’s been covered and placed in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight. Serves 6. Or serves 2 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
From the blog and soon-to-be-book Notes From a Maine Kitchen by Kathy Gunst