I normally dislike citrusy desserts, but citrus and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations. There’s something about the dark bitter richness against the refreshing brightness of citrus that sets me wild.
This orange-chocolate ganache filling is adapted from The Essence of Chocolate. I found the orange element in the cookbook version too weak. It called for only 1 tablespoon of orange zest. I would add up to two teaspoons of orange extract as well to increase the orange infusion in the ganache.
I made a different crust – this one is a pâte sablée that I really like – the buttery crisp meal offers a sandy textural counterpoint to the silky filling. What I like most about the crust, however, is that it’s extremely easy to make.
Pâte Sablée Tart Shell
Makes one 9″ tart shell
This is a simple recipe that is extremely versatile. It’s better for tarts that do not require any more baking after the shell is baked (i.e. for tarts with ready-to-eat fillings, like the Orange Chocolate Ganache below). You can fill the shell with a filling that needs more time to set in the oven, just beware that the edges will darken significantly.
The butter is thoroughly mixed in for the crust which makes the crust tender, yet crispy. The dough is crumbly, so instead of rolling it, you can simply press it into the pan. It must be par-baked and weights aren’t required. The sides may shrink in a bit, but don’t worry, it’ll make it easier for the shell to slide out of the pan. Also, you can dock (poking holes in the bottom to prevent puffing) the crust if you want, but this dough, conveniently, really doesn’t need it.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 cubes
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons cold water, as needed
Combine first four ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. Pulse and add in the butter one cube at a time, and the egg. Pulse until the mixture reaches a loose crumbly state, like slightly humid sand. If the dough is too dry, add 1, but not more than 2 tablepooons of cold water, 1 tablepsoon at a time – just enough so that the dough comes to form.
Form the dough into a patty. Use immediately, or wrap and chill for later use.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 12-15 minutes, carefully monitoring the shell so that the edges do not burn.
Orange and Dark Chocolate Ganache
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons of finely chopped orange zest (microplane is preferrable)
2 tsp. orange extract
1 9″ pâte sablée tart shell, prepared
Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring the heavy cream to a light boil, making sure it does not scald. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate in the large bowl and mix in the orange zest and orange extract. Working as quickly as possible, stir until the chocolate has thoroughly melted and the mixture is extremely smooth. Pour the hot mixture into the tart shell immediately. Let the mixture cool and set at room temperature.
You may also chill the ganache tart in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Be sure to let the tart slightly warm up before cutting.