Chocolate cognac tarte . . .


        Spiked with Cognac and flavoured with espresso, this sumptuous tart is a gorgeous contrast of dark, silky ganache and delicate, buttery pastry. It’s worth buying the best chocolate you can afford, which will bring more complex flavours to the party. Lindt, Valrhona and Callebaut are all excellent.


Tree shell . . .

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (140 mL) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar

1 egg

1 2/3 cups (400 mL) all-purpose flour, sifted

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (95 mL) almond flour

Pinch salt


Filling . . .

13 oz (370 g) dark 70% chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whipping cream

3 tbsp (45 mL) brewed espresso or very strong coffee or 1 tbsp

(15 mL) instant espresso

1/4 cup (60 mL) Cognac

1/3 cup (80 mL) chocolate-covered coffee beans, halved

1 tsp (5 mL) edible gold flakes (optional)


1. In a food processor, pulse butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add egg and process 30 seconds. (Don’t worry if it looks slightly curdled.) Add flour, almond flour and salt. Pulse until dough comes together. Transfer dough to clean work surface. Knead briefly until uniform and smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.


2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to a 12-inch (30-cm) circle about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick. Transfer dough to a 10-inch (25-cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press into bottom and up sides of pan until uniformly thick. Patch any holes with spare bits of dough. Prick bottom with a fork. Refrigerate 20 minutes.


3. To bake tart shell, place rack in centre of oven. Preheat to 375°F (191°C).


4. Cover shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on middle rack 20 minutes.


5. Remove paper and weights, and reduce oven to 350°F (177°C).


6. Bake until sides are golden and bottom is firm, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Tart shell can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 1 day.)


7. For the ganache filling, place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring cream and espresso to a simmer over medium heat. (Watch closely so it doesn’t boil over.) Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let stand 20 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in Cognac. Pour ganache into tart shell and refrigerate uncovered until firm, 4 to 6 hours. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.


8. Bring tart to room temperature and decorate with coffee beans and gold leaf (if using).


Serves 8 to 10