Endless: a chocoholic’s chocolate tart

So continuing with my inspiration drawn from Carole and Tuesday, I wanted to do a dessert inspired by the rather depressing song, Endless, which addresses a lifetime of abuse, only to be followed with the abrupt death of the abuser. While that theme was dark, I decided to go literal with some of the lyrics here, going with darker, more sophisticated ingredients, inspired by the character who sang the song, Angela. The antagonistic rival character, Angela is an upper class and almost elitist perfection, but still somehow manages to be relatable. I went with port wine, dark chocolate, gold leaf, and creme fraiche to represent that sort of posh lifestyle, but at the same time, chocolate is a universally relatable ingredient, and something anyone of any age can enjoy unless they have a chocolate allergy, in which case, well that sucks. A side note on this recipe, I did use cacao powder for mine, but regular cocoa powder works too. The difference is that cocoa powder has been roasted whereas cacao has not been. I find that the flavor of the cacao powder has more antioxidants from not being roasted, so it is slightly healthier than cocoa powder. You can use either-or or even both, with slightly varying effects. I find that cocoa powder does have a richer chocolate flavor, but with this dessert, you’ll find chocolate in almost every bite anyways, so it is all really up to preference.

For the different layers, I wanted the dessert to be a seemingly endless onslaught of chocolate, with the only “escape” being the creme fraiche as a means of lightening and balancing the dessert, and being a metaphor to how Angela finds a light at the end of her seemingly endless abuse and darkness. Yes, I put that level of thought into this dessert. Now if only I did that with my SATs and GPA in high school, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole. We have a cacao pate sucre base, port wine namaleka cream, and three rochers (one handed quenelles), one being nama chocolate truffle, one being a whipped chocolate mousse with gold leaf, and the last being creme fraiche with fleur de sel. Namaleka cream is an almost custard-like ganache and one of my personal favorites, while I opted for nama chocolate, which is a Japanese-styled chocolate ganache truffle, because I love the richness of it. I wanted to do one handed quenelles specifically, as they have a smoother top side, and they call for a perfectionist or OCD touch, similar to Angela’s drive to be perfect.

Makes 3 individual tarts:
For the pate sucre:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour + more for rolling
1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon creme de cacao, chilled down

Blitz together all of your ingredients in a food processor, and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to cool down the dough before rolling on a heavily floured surface. Cut out and line three English muffin molds with the tart dough, pricking and weighing the dough. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes before removing the weights and continuing to bake for another 5 minutes. Cool completely. If the edges are uneven, using a microplane to smooth them out.

For the nama chocolate:
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon grand mariner or creme de cacao
cacao or cocoa powder

Melt ingredients together over a double boiler. Once fully melted and incorporated, pour into a small but deep bowl and freeze for at least 30 minutes, or until firm, but not fully frozen. Using a small, warmed spoon, scoop and form three quenelles/rochers out of the chocolate mixture, and place onto a parchment sheet. Re-refrigerate until it is time to assemble, and sift a light dusting off the cocoa powder, brushing off any excess. Transfer the rochers onto the tart using an offset to avoid leaving fingermarks or prints.

For the namaleka:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup port wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water

Bloom and melt the gelatin into the wine with the butter. Temper in your egg yolks. Please keep in mind, the color will be hideous, but that will be fine, because the chocolate’s brownness will mask all colors anyways. Pour over the chocolate chips and fold in the heavy cream and salt, allowing everything to fully incorporate into one smooth, homogenous mixture. Pour into your already-baked tart shells and allow them to refrigerate for at least 1 hour until set fully.

For the chocolate mousse:
1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons hot water
a pinch of salt
gold leaf

Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler and then whisk. Slowly add in your water and continuing whisking, off heat. Should the mixture seize, add in more hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture thins slightly – you do not want soupy chocolate, nor do you want it to be clumping. Transfer to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip for another 10 minutes. Using a warmed spoon, scoop three rochers out of the mousse onto parchment and freeze. When it comes time to assemble, use an offset spatula to transfer to the tarts and garnish with the gold leaf.

For the creme fraiche:
1/4 cup creme fraiche
a pinch of fleur de sel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fold together with a paddle. Refrigerate for 5 minutes just to allow the mixture to firm slightly. Using a warmed spoon, scoop out 3 quenelles or rochers and place directly onto the tarts.

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