Good News Tart

December 20, 2007

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I love nothing more than a happy occasion that calls for a special treat. In truth, I made this tart the other night, to congratulate my husband for some work-related good news. But the beauty of a food blog is that I can send out the “leftovers” for a virtual congratulations for even more good news in my life.

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So this delectable combination of deep, dark chocolate contrasted with sharp tinges of citrusy orange goes out to our newly engaged friends in San Diego. (“Goes out to?” Who do I think I am, Casey Kasem? Or, as the kids call him these days “Ryan Seacrest.”) Yes, folks, my oldest friend in the world (it all started when we were in the second grade …) got engaged last night and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

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It’s times like this that I wished more than anything that my friend lived across town, rather than across the country and that I could show up on her doorstep bearing treats like this for such a wonderful occasion (actually, a bowl of steaming “Jimmy Dean Dip” would do just fine too — if you all are lucky, I’ll get her permission to share the recipe with you soon).

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But since their doorstep is half-an-America away, this virtual offering will have to do. This tart is entirely celebration worthy too. A warning, though: it’s definitely strong on the citrus. If you read over the recipe and think that it might be too orange-y, I would suggest reducing (maybe even eliminating) the amount of candied orange peel that you use and perhaps increasing the amount of orange liqueur a bit. I’m guessing that doing so would impart more of a background note of orange, which will highlight the chocolate rather than stealing the show.

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Whether you decide to reduce the candied orange peel in this tart or not, be sure to make it to celebrate wonderful news. It’ll make it that much sweeter.

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Dark Chocolate and Orange Tart with Toasted Almonds
Bon Appetit

Candied Orange peel:
1 orange
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

Crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Filling:
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped*
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

For candied orange peel:
Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (orange part only) from orange in strips. Cut strips into matchstick-size pieces and place in small saucepan. Cover with cold water; bring to boil. Cook 30 seconds; drain. Rinse saucepan; add 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and peel. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until peel is translucent and syrup is thick, about 20 minutes. Using tines of fork, transfer peel to plate and cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.)

For crust:
Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in cocoa powder. Add flour and beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Roll out dough between sheets of waxed paper to 11-inch round. Peel off top sheet of paper. Invert dough over 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Gently press dough into pan. Press dough overhang in to form double-thick sides. Pierce dough all over with fork. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until sides look dry and bottom looks bubbly, about 14 minutes. Transfer crust to rack. Using back of spoon, press up sides of dough if falling. Cool completely.

For filling:
Toss almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl. Chop all but 2 strips of peel. Sprinkle chopped orange peel, then almond mixture over bottom of prepared crust. Place cream in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth; mix in Grand Marnier. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until filling is firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with remaining 2 orange peel strips. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated.)

Using sharp knife, gently loosen crust from pan sides. Remove pan sides. Cut tart into wedges; serve cold.

* I used hazelnuts in lieu of almonds: delicious.

 

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