I will be doing no such thing. Instead, I will continue to do things like what I did yesterday, which was to open a cookbook about whole grains and wind up arguing with my niece about who gets to lick the bowl where we mixed the chocolate and honey and eggs.
The cookbook in question is by Maria Speck—Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. It is a very good cookbook, and it is not Maria's fault that I paged straight to the chapter called Sweet Endings. There are, in fact, lots of absolutely delicious looking recipes for things like lamb stew with wheat berries in red wine sauce and homemade spelt fettuccine that I have bookmarked for another day. But yesterday I had no choice but to inaugurate the book with a rendition of her dark chocolate truffle tart with walnuts.
Where are the whole grains? you ask. In the crust! It's not the book's most adventurous recipe—many use the whole berry and call for grains like rye and barley and amaranth—but the whole wheat and butter tart crust is easy and delicious.
The chocolate filling caught my eye because it is sweetened mainly with honey. I find dessert recipes with honey hard to come by in American cooking, but Maria seems to use it in all of her sweets, crediting Greek heritage. It also calls for milk and butter and walnuts and eggs, all of which we have been eating a lot of around here (walnuts because they're tasty and good for Sally's brain).
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce the dark chocolate walnut tart of your dreams. If you know what's good for you, you'll make it without delay.
WHOLE WHEAT & BUTTER TART CRUST
Maria manages to make this all whole-wheat by using "white whole wheat flour" and "whole wheat pastry flour," but frankly I don't have the patience or the pantry for these sorts of things. I used part whole wheat flour that I ground myself from our grain CSA and part all-purpose, and the crust came out wonderfully. Do what you please.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (Maria calls for white whole wheat)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (Maria calls for whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4-6 tablespoons ice water
Pulse together the flours, sugar, and sea salt in a food processor. Add the butter and 4 tablespoons of the water—give this mixture 8-10 pulses. If it seems to be coming together, stop. If it doesn't, add more water and pulse a few more times.
Dump the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form it into a ball, then work it into a disk about 1-inch thick. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12-inch circle, roughly 1/8-inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9 and 1/2-inch fluted tart pan (you know, the type with a removable bottom), and press the dough against the edges. Use your fingers to press off and trim any excess dough from the top, prick the dough about a dozen times with a fork, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge to chill. Leave it alone for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the tart pan on a cookie sheet so it doesn't drip butter and start a fire in your oven. Cut a circle of parchment paper roughly the size of the pan and place it in the middle of the crust. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
To partially bake the crust, put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, then check it. If the edges have started to pull away from the pan and crisp up, take out the parchment paper and pie weights (carefully! they get hot!) and return the crust to the oven for another few minutes. When the bottom is a little more crisp, take it out and let it cool to room temp.
DARK CHOCOLATE TART WITH WALNUTS
On to part two! It is rare that things I make at home actually look just as good as the pictures in the cookbooks, but this one came out as promised. It is beautiful, delightfully rich, and all around a chocolate-lover's winner.
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey (I used a spring honey, which is fairly mild and runny)
6 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons nice liqueur (Maria suggested Grand Marnier; I used Chambord and kicked myself afterward for not thinking of the homemade pear liqueur we have downstairs!)
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange or lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk, beaten together
2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
12 toasted walnut halves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together the sugar and milk over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes), add the honey and whisk another minute until this dissolves too. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler; then set aside to cool for five minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the liqueur, zest, and vanilla into the honey/sugar/milk mixture. Stir this into the chocolate, then whisk in the eggs—the mixture will thicken slightly and look like chocolate pudding.
Layer the chopped toasted walnuts over the bottom of the tart crust and spoon the chocolate filling over top, making sure to spread it evenly around. Bake the tart for 15 minutes, then pull it out to arrange the 12 toasted walnut halves around the edge (like clock numbers). Cook another 8-10 minutes, or until the filling is puffy around the edges and just jiggly in the center. Pull it out and let it cool completely before serving (at least an hour and a half).