Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Strawberries; or How to Make Sweet Tart Dough

by formerchef on May 9, 2009

Post image for Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Strawberries; or How to Make Sweet Tart Dough

We have a tradition of Sunday dinners in our family. I don’t have a particularly large, related-by-blood family, but I do have a wonderful group of friends who have become our extended family and are as much my sisters and brothers as if we shared the same DNA.
The dinners don’t happen every Sunday, but we try at least once a month. Occasionally, they are at my house, but usually my mother is the one to host these meals, inviting a changing cast of characters, some new, some spanning decades. Over the years it has evolved; first my mom’s friends and “strays”, then my friends (and later, my husband’s friends) came into the mix. Once our generation got married, our friend’s kids now come to Sunday dinner.

This past Sunday, my mom made an amazing rolled pork loin filled with arugula and caramelized onions (see where I get my obsession with pork?) and a few fantastic vegetable dishes. She asked me to make dessert.
No problem, I thought. When we visited the Pasadena Farmer’s market, we bought some strawberries and I figured I’d make something with them. But I was craving something chocolate and the strawberries were so beautiful I really wanted to showcase them whole. I decided to make a tart combining the best of both.

It’s been a while since I made tart dough, so I broke out my trusted 20 year old dog-eared copy of the Fanny Farmer Baking Book to check out a couple of the recipes.
In case you’re wondering what the difference between tart dough and pie dough is, the book says this; ” Tart pastry is rich and delicate, not flaky like pie pastry, but short and crumbly, like a good sugar cookie.” It goes on to say that unlike pie dough, tart pastry is not harmed by over-working and can be made in the food processor.

I decided to follow the easiest and most basic recipe which was basically butter, flour and salt.
It was a disaster.
Honestly, it was embarrassing considering my first professional cooking job was as a pastry chef and I used to be able to make pie dough in my sleep (literally, at 5 o’clock in the morning). But this was horrible; it was too salty and the crust crumbled into a million pieces when I took it out of the pan.
The second attempt was much more successful. I used a different recipe in the book, the one for Sweet Tart Dough, modified it a bit for my purposes, and it turned out beautiful.

Do you do a version of Sunday Dinner? Leave me a comment and tell me about it…

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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Strawberries

1 Sweet Tart Dough (adapted from Fanny Farmer-recipe below)
8 oz good dark chocolate
8 oz Heavy Cream
2 baskets fresh strawberries, rinsed, stem end cut flat

Tart Pan with removable bottom

Once the tart shell is cooked and cooled, heat the cream in a heavy bottomed pot, just until it gets very hot; do not boil. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Yield is approximately 2 cups.

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Pour the chocolate into the baked tart shell and chill in the refrigerator for about 1/2 an hour until it is almost firm. Place the strawberries across the top of the tart. Cover with glaze if you want, especially if you are making a day in advance. I did not use glaze because I knew we’d be eating it within a few hours. The glaze keeps the fruit looking fresh and moist and keeps it from drying out in the refrigerator. An easy glaze can be made out of melted and strained apricot jam.

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Sweet Tart Dough -baked shell
(adapted from the Fanny Farmer Baking Book -large enough for a 10″ tart pan with removeable bottom)

1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
12 Tbsp Butter (1 1/2 sticks, cut into 1″ pieces)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp. salt (only use if you are using unsalted butter)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Directions for making in food processor (this is how I did it).
Fit bowl with metal blade. Add flour, sugar and butter to bowl (add salt if butter is unsalted). Put on the lid and process in short bursts, about 10 times to break up the butter into the flour. Mix the egg yolk and water in a small bowl and with the processor on, pour the egg/water mix through the tube in the lid into the bowl. Keep mixing until the dough forms into a ball inside the bowl. Remove and form into a small cake.

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If you don’t have a food processor and want to make it by hand, that works too. Just follow the same steps you would for pie dough; cut the butter into the flour and sugar, working it through by hand until it becomes like coarse meal or breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg/water mixture with a fork until it’s incorporated and the dough comes together in a soft ball.

At this point you can press the dough into the tart pan, or do what I did which is roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Once it was rolled out, I put it in the pan and pressed the dough into the edges, pulling off any excess.
Because the filling for this recipe is not cooked in the tart shell, the crust needs to be fully baked by itself. To keep the center of the crust from puffing up and cracking during baking, you’ll want to weigh it down.

Cut a piece of parchment paper or foil to fit the bottom of the tart pan. Tip; fold a square in 1/2 and then 1/2 again to make a smaller square. Cut from edge to edge in a semi-circle equal to 1/2 the diameter of your pan. Unfold and voila! You have a perfect circle to fit.

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Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork and put the paper on top.
Weigh down with pie weights or beans.
Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to color. Remove from oven, and carefully remove the paper and beans. Put the tart back in the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about another 8 minutes. Remove and let cool. Fill.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lailablogs May 11, 2009 at 9:21 am

Looks absolutely delicious .. and what could be better than strawberries and chocolate :) .. Laila .. http://lailablogs.com/

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2 Vivian Boroff May 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Made it this evening. So delicious! I love the sweet tart dough. I will definitely make this again.

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3 formerchef May 18, 2009 at 5:51 am

Thank you so much for coming back to let me know. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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4 Amrita June 5, 2009 at 2:39 am

That ganache looks so sinful! You just canNOT go wrong with chocolate and strawberries!

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5 formerchef June 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

Thanks so much! Chocolate and Strawberries are my favorite too!

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6 Dana June 5, 2009 at 6:03 am

Have you tried the Silver Palate tart dough recipe? It’s almost entirely made of butter, in the good way. I’m totally going to try it with this tart filling at some point. Although probably it would be better for my arteries to use this shell, instead.

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7 formerchef June 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

No, I haven’t tried that recipe, but I will check it out, thanks!

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8 Ritsuka June 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Would halfing the recipe for the chocolate ganache, by any chance, work for dipping the strawberries instead?

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9 formerchef June 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I’m not sure. I think it depends on what you want. Ganache will give you a different texture (much softer) than traditional “chocolate dipped strawberries”. For that, all you need is plain melted chocolate which will harden when chilled. I think halving the chocolate in the ganache recipe will result in a very weak chocolate cream.

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10 erick merlano February 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

made tart with ganache, but used raspberries instead they are my wifes favorite and surprised her for her birthday. she flipped when she saw it thanks for the post.

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11 formerchef February 15, 2010 at 11:24 am

You are so welcome! I’m sure the raspberries were wonderful too. I’m glad your wife liked it.

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12 Gladys March 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

I am in culinary school for baking and pastry arts and we had made chocolate ganache tartlets that were to die for.. so I set out looking to make a chocolate ganache tart for my family when I got the chance to go home. This recipe was awesome! Everyone loved it with homemade whipped cream, strawberries, and shaved chocolate. The only problem I had was my tart shell shrunk, I don’t know if that was my fault, or the lame electric oven we have.
Anyway, still came out great!

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13 formerchef March 14, 2010 at 4:47 am

Hi Gladys! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Did you put pie weights or beans in the shell while baking it? I find that really helps to keep it from shrinking. Then remove them about 5 minutes before the shell is done baking to crisp up the bottom.

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14 Amanda May 16, 2010 at 7:28 am

I cheated and made this with refrigerated pie dough in a 9″ disposable pan (bringing it to a picnic later) and right now it’s chilling in the fridge. I did sprinkle a little brown sugar on the bottom of crust before baking. It looks gorgeous and I will report back later about how it tastes!

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15 formerchef May 16, 2010 at 7:30 am

Wonderful! Thanks for letting me know!

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16 Amanda May 17, 2010 at 8:20 am

It was a success! And I can see potential for lots of variation with the toppings and even flavorings/mix-ins with the ganache. Super easy and elegant. Just needed the inspiration to start. Thanks again!

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17 nicola June 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

by preheat the oven to 425 degrees do you mean Celsius or Fahrenheit ?

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18 formerchef June 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Farenheit.

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