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Chocolate pine-nut tart

(Food Styling By Sheryl Julian And Lisa Falso; Photo By Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Correspondent / June 3, 2009

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Serves 8

The custard here makes a very thin layer, which is studded with pine nuts and squares of dark chocolate. One day recently I was just about to make this tart and remembered that one of my guests is allergic to chocolate. I quickly pulled some candied orange rind from the pantry shelf and snipped half a dozen pieces into the tart instead of the chocolate (I doubled the pine nuts). It was a huge success. Because the tart is so thin, you don't think it's going to pack the flavor it does. The recipe comes from French-born chef Antoine Bouterin, a master of culinary understatement.

PASTRY

Butter (for the pan)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon ice water
1 1/4 cups flour
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1. Have on hand a 9-inch French tart pan with removable base. Lightly butter the pan.

2. In a bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the butter and granulated sugar until soft and light. Add the yolks, one at a time.

3. Add the ice water and stir again. Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together to form a moist dough.

4. In the tart pan, flatten the dough with your fingers. Keep pressing the dough until it lines the bottom and sides of the pan. It seems like there's not enough pastry for the pan, but keep pressing, dipping your hand into flour, until the pastry makes a thin layer on the bottom and sides of the pan.

5. Prick the bottom well all over. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line the tart pastry with foil, pressing it into the dough. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes. Lift off the foil and return the tart to the oven. Continue baking the pastry for 10 minutes or until it is lightly browned all over. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

FILLING

2 bars (3 ounces each) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup pine nuts
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Using the lines already marked on the chocolate, cut or break the bar into squares or rectangles. If the pieces are not even or if the edges shatter, it doesn't matter.

2. In a bowl, beat the egg, cream, and granulated sugar. Pour the mixture into the pastry. It will barely cover the bottom. Tip the shell, if necessary, to fill in the edges.

3. Arrange the chocolate pieces in the cream, setting them close but not quite touching. Sprinkle with pine nuts. With the tip of a knife, push any pine nut stacks so they form only one layer in the cream.

4. Bake the tart for 22 to 25 minutes or until the custard is set and starting to brown. Leave the tart to cool.

5. Set the tart pan on a small bowl so the rim falls off. Sprinkle the top of the tart lightly with confectioners' sugar. Cut into wedges.

Related

Food styling: Preparing rice salad

Video: Food styling

Food Editor Sheryl Julian and food stylist Lisa Falso prepare the dishes for the photographs featured at the top of this page (including rice salad, above).