Ganache is said to have been invented sometime in the 1850s when a chocolatier’s apprentice accidentally poured boiling cream over some chocolate.
Furious, the master chocolatier chastised his apprentice, calling him “ganache,” a term that at the time meant “dimwit” or “moron” in French (it also refers to a horse’s jowl).
But as it turns out, the resulting silky smooth chocolate-cream mixture was delicious, and the apprentice’s unfortunate nickname stuck.
This anecdote is related by Pierre Hermé in his book “Le Grand livre du chocolat”.
Today of course, the term ganache almost always refers to the chocolate kind. It is every chocolatier’s most versatile ingredient, used as a filling for chocolates, truffles, cakes and pastries.
Depending on the proportions of chocolate and cream, a ganache preparation can be soft and spreadable or firm and relatively solid.
Tarte au chocolat (chocolate tart) is a crispy, buttery tart shell filled with a velvety-smooth dark chocolate ganache.
It is a rich and intense chocolate dessert that is satisfying in even small portions.
The chocolate tart recipe below is adapted from the book La Maison du Chocolat.
Tarte au Chocolat
(adapted from La Maison du Chocolat)
Préparation time: 30 minutes plus refrigeration time for pâte sucrée
Serves 6 to 8
- 225 grams (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup (160 grams) heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams; 1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ moist, plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Pâte sucrée crust
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 115 grams (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the crust
- Using a whisk, blend together egg yolk, cream and vanilla and set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine 1 ¼ cups flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture has a coarse meal texture. Add egg and cream mixture and process until dough forms, about a minute.
- Place dough on sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a six-inch disk. Cover with wrap and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
- When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F). Roll out dough on lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, then place in a 25-cm (10-inch) tart pan (if you prefer a thicker filling, use a slightly smaller pan). Pierce the bottom with a fork in several places. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through baking time, until golden brown.
For the filling and assembly
- Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl and set it aside.
- Ensure that the butter is soft but not oily and set it aside in a small bowl. If necessary, work it with a spatula or the back of a spoon to soften it some more.
- In a small bowl beat 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream with the egg yolks until the mixture is just smooth.
- Place the rest of the cream into a saucepan along with the split vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean and pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Let sit for 30 seconds. Using a whisk, delicately blend the cream into the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool for another minute or so. Add the egg yolks, followed by the butter.
- Pour the mixture into the baked tart shell. Jiggle the crust lightly to even out the filling and leave on counter until mixture is set. This should take around 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the tart in the refrigerator for no longer than 20 minutes, then keep it at room temperature after it has set.
- Serve the chocolate tart at room temperature. If you plan to serve it the next day, store it overnight in the refrigerator and remember to let it stand at room temperature for two hours before serving.