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Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

Hope you left room for some dessert so that you can indulge in this delectable bittersweet chocolate tart filled with a creamy chocolate custard. Bon Appetit !



Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Makes a 23 cm (9 in.) tart

For the pastry shell

  • 1 plump vanilla bean
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 60 gm ( ½ cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tabs whole blanched almonds
  • 100 gm ( ¾ cup) plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 70 gm (5 tabs) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling

  • ¾ cup double cream
  • a third of a cup of milk
  • 200 gm (7oz.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 50 gm (5 tabs) chopped orange peel, optional
  • ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder for sifting

To make the pastry shell

Flatten the vanilla bean and cut it in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the egg yolks and stir to blend.

In a food processor, combine the sugar and almonds and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and process to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the dough just about begins to hold together; do not over process – the dough should not form a ball. Gently pat the dough into a disc, handling it as little as possible. Wrap dough in wax paper and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hr or overnight.

Butter the bottom and side of a 23 cm (9in) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 28 cm (11in) round. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and gently press the dough against the side, allowing about 1 cm (½ in) to hang over the rim. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork.
Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Set the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for about 5 mins. just until the pastry begins to firm up. Remove from the oven and, with a sharp knife, carefully cut off and discard the overhanging pastry to make a smooth, even rim. Return the shell to the oven and bake for about 15- 20 mins longer until the pastry is well browned all over.

Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before filling. Leave the oven on.

To make the filling

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the egg until thoroughly blended. Stir in the candid orange peel.

Pour the custard into the pastry shell and bake in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 mins, or until the filling is almost set but still trembling in the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sift the cocoa powder over the tart and serve warm or at room temperature. It is also delicious served chilled.


French Crepes Recipe

If anyone knows crepes, it’s VBT Burgundy Trip Leader Sophie. After all, one cannot grow up in western France, between Burgundy and the Loire Valley, without loving this distinctly French culinary specialty. In fact, she considers crepes her “comfort food.” As a child in the village of Chateaubriant, she helped prepare various savory and sweet fillings for her mother’s delicate wheat-flour pastries.

Food was a constant part of her life because her parents owned the village butcher shop. From an early age, she appreciated the role that recipes play in linking generations. Though she didn’t have the opportunity to travel in her younger years, she burst into world travel after graduating from University, where she studied several languages. In 25 years time, she’s collected stamps from six continents on her passport. But her first love remains the lovely back roads of her native France, which she enjoys sharing with VBT travelers. And you can be sure that she enjoys staying close to home for another reason: the mouthwatering crepes that remind her of her simple childhood in a small French village. She shares it with us here.


1. Mix the flour, water, and salt well, and let sit before cooking. You may even chill the batter overnight.

2. Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a little butter in pan and pour 3 tablespoons of batter onto the skillet and swirl it so it spreads thin. Let it cook about 1 minute to a light golden brown before gently turning with a large spatula. Cook another minute and remove from skillet onto a warm plate. Prepare all crepes and keep them warm.

3. Add savory or sweet filling (see below) down center of each crepe, and fold each side in. Use your imagination; mix any of the ingredients below, and experiment with your own ideas!

Some typical fillings from the VBT Bristol Test Kitchen:


-Sauteed spinach and mushrooms with a dash of thyme
-Cooked shredded chicken and melted Vermont cheddar cheese
-Grilled shrimp and asparagus
-Thinly sliced ham and shaved cheese


-Sauteed apples and caramel sauce, drizzled with cognac
-Vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce or calvados French apple brandy
-Mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries) with whipped cream
-Nutella ( a hazelnut spread) and strawberries

Serves 10

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