Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kahlua Fudge Nut Tart

One of the most memorable interactions I had in Taiwan was with a lady who sold aboriginal beads and helped tell one’s fortune based on a customer’s selection of the beads. Say what you will about the inaccuracies / mumbo jumbo of fortune telling, I’ve always been intrigued by the mystery behind the art of fortune telling and was struck by how accurate my ‘fortune’ was, just from a simple selection of craft beads OR me telling her anything about my life.

  One of my worst and best traits, she said, was the inability to let go of loved ones, even when others have moved on. It really struck home this week, when I cried pitifully in bed last night over a lingering unrequited love.  It’s blatantly obvious that I’m useless at letting go and YES, a perfect example of sad cliché of a girl who knows what’s right but still does the stupid thing and pines for what she can’t ever have. Sigh, at least that’s one thing the OLD Taylor Swift and I used to have in common. DAMN YOU TAYLOR FOR LANDING CALVIN HARRIS!! DAMN YOU FOR BEING SO CUTE (and blonde!!) TOGETHER I CANNOT EVEN BEGRUDGE YOUR HAPPINESS!!

  This tart is a fitting comfort food, a silky (yet not too sweet) fudge filling dotted with toasted hazelnuts and encased in a buttery shortbread crust. Crusts are my Achilles’ heel, but this recipe from Alice Medrich is foolproof – mix, press and bake! The end result is buttery and crunchy! The filling is a cross between a brownie and a mousse, a fudge like consistency that melts in your mouth. I added nuts for some textural balance, but remember to toast your nuts for an added earthiness. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and a must-serve for dinner party crowds you'd want to impress.
Kahlua Fudge Nut Tart (Makes 6 4 inch round tartlets)
For the crust (Adapted slightly from here)
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1. To make the tart crust: Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Prick the tart dough with a fork.

2.   Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180F, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and let cool.

For the filling (Adapted slightly from here)

30g semisweet chocolate (preferably Valrhona), chopped
115g unsalted butter, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup natural dark cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Kahlua (Bourbon or rum would be good too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup toasted hazelnuts

1. Preheat oven to 160 C

2. In a large heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the cocoa and espresso powder, and whisk until blended. Add the sugar, honey, and cream and whisk until blended. Add the eggs, egg yolk, Kahlua, vanilla, and salt and whisk just until blended. Pour into the baked tart shell.

4.  Bake for 20 minutes in precooled crusts, or until the edges are slightly puffed and the center of the filling jiggles slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.

Baker’s Notes
1.Use the best kind of bittersweet chocolate you have on hand, the chocolate filling will reflect the richness of your choice.
2.The original recipe calls for bourbon instead of Kahlua, but I used what I had on hand.

3.The sugar content has already been reduced to suit my interpretation of ‘Asian’ sweetness level, so reduce it further at your own risk!