Bittersweet chocolate tart with pretzel crust

When I decided that I wanted to make a sinfully chocolate dessert for Christmas dinner with my siblings I went in search of recipes.  There were brownies and cakes, truffles and pots de creme, bread puddings and pies to choose from, but none were quite right to finish off our night of gluttony.  Then I came across this recipe and while it wasn’t perfect, it was workable.

What we have here is a shortbread type of crust which uses pretzels, rather than nuts, for a bit of texture.  The filling is a basic ganache, and it’s topped with simple crème fraiche (but you could also substitute whipped cream, ice cream, or even a yogurt dollop).  It is rich, silky, not too sweet, and absolutely lovely is small servings.  It pairs very nicely with a cup of coffee too 😉

Crust

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed pretzels

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Filling

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

sea salt, crushed pretzels and crème fraîche, for serving

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with 3/4 cup of the pretzels and the confectioners’ sugar at a low speed until creamy
  • Beat in the flour and egg
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pretzels, being sure to leave some pretzel pieces intact
  • Flatten the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour
  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Roll out the dough between the sheets of plastic wrap to the size of your tart pan
  • Press the dough into the tart pan and patch any tears, trim the overhanging dough and refrigerate the shell for another 30 minutes
  • Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (you can substitute a cake pan for the pie weights)
  • Bake the shell for 30 minutes
  • Remove the parchment and weights and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the tart shell is firm and just browned
  • Let the shell cool completely, then brush the melted chocolate over the bottom and up the side and refrigerate for 10 minutes
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer, then take it off of the heat and add the chocolate and let it stand for 5 minutes
  • Whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla (or you can substitute any liqueur) and sea salt
  • Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool to room temp for about an hour
  • Pour the filling into the shell and refrigerate until set (about 4 hours)
  • Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and crushed pretzels. Cut into wedges, top with crème fraîche (or other topping of your choice) and serve

Lime crème fraiche cookies

I absolutely adore the lemon ricotta cookie.  It’s so zesty and tart, and sweet at the same time.  After the passage of Cinco de Mayo I had a lot of limes to use up- one girl and one boy can only drink so many margaritas you know.  So I embarked on a mission to use some of those  limes and make something a little different.  Success was mine.  These cookies were served at a Mother’s Day tea at my Gram’s and had rave reviews from several ladies.

Ingredients:

¼ cup crème fraiche

¼ cup butter, room temp

1 cup sugar

zest of 4 limes, divided

juice of 4 limes, divided

1 egg

2 cups flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  • Blend butter with crème fraiche until creamy and then add the juice & zest of 2 limes and mix well

  • Gradually add sugar until well blended and then add the egg. Mix very well

  • Slowly stir in flour, baking soda and salt

  • Drop onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. This makes about 2 dozen

  • Whisk together 1 cup confectioners sugar and the zest & juice of 2 limes. It will be syrupy. Glaze the cookies with this.  If you do it while they’re hot then it will ooze down and there will be a thin glaze.  If done while they’re cold, it will be thicker

Is it just me, or does anyone else think of that South Park episode now every time they hear the term crème fraiche?

J