Did you ever have any ingredient in your kitchen that was just begging to be used? I did. Creme Fraiche. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. The clock had been ticking & I kept checking the "use by" date. I wanted to make a chocolate tart & if I was going to use this creme fraiche, now was the time. I had watched Giada make Chocolate Ricotta Pie and loved the look of it. Giada's crust used pine nuts and that sounded good. But alas, the filling used 4 eggs and if I was going to be able to eat the pie I would need to use a recipe with fewer eggs. (I don't have a good relationship with eggs.) What I finally decided upon was a crust which used pecans instead of pine nuts and a filling with creme fraiche and 1 egg.
(I will make this the day before next time.)
AP Flour 1 1/2 cups
Cornmeal 2 tablespoons
Pecans 3/4 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Butter 1 stick, melted & cooled slightly
Process the dry ingredients (including the pecans) in a food processor until fine. Add butter & process until dough forms. Press dough over the bottom & sides of tart pan. My tart pan is one piece and it works fine with this crust. At this point the original recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. I placed mine in the freezer for 15 minutes & all was well. Blind bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until just set. Remove foil & weights from blind bake. (I lined my crust with aluminum foil and sat a pie plate on top for weight--next time I will spray the foil before it touches the dough, as I lost a bit of crust when removing the foil.) Bake the shell about 10 minutes more or until golden. Cool completely. I put my crust in front of a fan at this point to speed the process. Now you know why I will do it the day before next time.
Chocolate Filling Ingredients******
The creme fraiche I used was from Bellweather Farms (got it at Trader Joe's) and it was delicious. Very smooth & buttery tasting. The packaging has several recipes as does their website. I used their Chocolate Tart recipe as a starting point for my filling. Their recipe uses bittersweet chocolate and no sugar. I am a chocolate lover but knew that DH would not go for a dark chocolate pie that was not sweet. This is my version--
Half & Half --1/2 cup
Creme Fraiche--7.5 ounce
Powdered Sugar--6 tablespoons(This was another deviation from the original recipe.)
Vanilla-- a few drops(Another deviation, use the best you have.)
Chocolate--7 ounces, finely chopped (I used 3 rectangles of Dagoba Organic Eclipse 87% extra dark chocolate, 2 squares of Lindt 85% dark chocolate, and made up the difference with Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.) Use what you like.
Lightly whip egg yolk with creme fraiche. Bring half & half to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Add vanilla and mix. Add powdered sugar a spoon at a time, stirring after each addition so that the mixture remains smooth. Slowly add egg/creme fraiche mixture & mix thoroughly. Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. At this point my tart was not set. I upped the temp to 350 and set it to be checked in 5 minute intervals. I removed my tart 13 minutes & 33 seconds later. Sounds rather unorthodox but I was panicking when it was not done at the appointed time. Next time I will try 35o degrees for 25 minutes.
For a little color and extra taste I added the strawberry puree with a ittle sugar and topped with a few chopped pecans.
The verdict--a thumbs up! Very rich, very chocolatey, needs the fruit (raspberry would be excellent). What we liked best--honestly as delicious as the filling was, we loved the crust and decided it would make great cookies!
Now I want a tart pan with a removeable ring so I can make
tarts with different (not as sturdy) crusts and have the nice shape hold together.