Pierre Hermé Chocolate & Raspberry Tart – Revisited
When I made the Most Extraordinary Lemon Cream Tart a few weeks ago, I had three servings of Pierre Hermé’s gorgeous sweet tart dough leftover. So when my husband asked me a few days ago whether I might bake something nice for his friend’s birthday, I decided to use two servings of the dough to make Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Raspberry Tart. The first time I made the tart the ganache tasted wonderful, but the crust was a tad burnt. The second time I made it, I had some trouble mixing the butter into the ganache evenly, so you could see a yucky layer of grease over the ganache after the tart was baked.
This time, I am pleased to report that the tart was perfection!
The crust was a lovely golden brown and deliciously crunchy without being hard. The ganache was completely even from top to bottom, and it was springy, rich and utterly delicious. My husband’s friend said it was super, and everyone who shared the tart with him had a second serving. My mom said I was going to get her fat if I kept making tarts like this, and even my daddy really liked it – my dad, whose idea of a great dessert is a packet of preserved sour plum (aka 酸梅 or sng buay). =)
(This picture above shows the tart straight out of the oven. The other pictures show the tart after it was refrigerated overnight.)
Pierre Hermé truly is genius. There is not one recipe of his that I’ve tried and not loved. In case you aren’t all into wildly decadent French pastry, Hermé is, according to Publishers’ Weekly, “a celebrated French pastry chef who was not only the youngest person ever to be named France’s Pastry Chef of the Year but is also the only pastry chef to have been decorated as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters“. He is famed for his delightful macarons and is often referred to as the most famous pastry chef in the world.
The trick to getting Hermé’s Chocolate Raspberry Tart just right is to mix the eggs, sugar and butter into the ganache steadily and without incorporating too much air into it. How you handle your whisk is very important, and I will highlight this point in the recipe below. When you mix it right, the ganache is smooth, even and delightfully fudgey.
Without further ado, from the master himself, Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Raspberry Tart.
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Raspberry Tart
(Taken from Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. I’ve put the recipe in verbatim but just added a few comments.)
For the Fully Baked 9-inch Tart Crust made from Sweet Tart Dough
(I would recommend making the dough a day or several days ahead, then just rolling it out and baking it on the day you intend to make the tart.)
- 285g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (150g) icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (100g) finely ground almond powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla bean pulp or pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3-1/2 cups (490g) all-purpose flour
For the Tart
- 1 fully baked 9-inch tart crust made from Sweet Tart Dough, cooled to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (55g) red raspberries
- 145g very good quality bittersweet chocolate discs (I used Valrhona Equatoriale 55%, which I like because it’s dark but not too dark)
- 115g unsalted butter, cut into at least 8 pieces
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, stirred with a fork
- 2 tbsp sugar
1. First make your tart crust. Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla and eggs and, still working on low speed, beat to blend the ingredients, scraping down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled – that’s alright. With the machine on low, add the flour in three or four additions and mix only until the mixture comes together to form a soft, moist dough – a matter of seconds. Don’t overdo it.
2. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into four pieces to make four 9-inch tarts. Gentle press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.)
3. Place a buttered tart ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep close at hand. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
If you live in Singapore I strongly recommend having your air conditioning on as you roll out the dough. It’s very sticky and can get pretty difficult to manage if you don’t work fast enough.
4. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of between 2 and 4 mm, lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. (Because this dough is so rich, it can be difficult to roll, but a well-floured surface makes the job easier.) Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run your rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess (I love this trick!). If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry – patch the cracks with scraps and just make certain not to stretch the dough that’s in the pan (what you stretch now will shrink later). Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork (unless the tart will be filled with a runny custard) and chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
If your dough falls apart in your tart ring, do not panic, and definitely do not try removing it from the ring to re-roll. Just do your best to even it out in the ring and use excess bits to patch as necessary.
5. When you are ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 18 degC (350 degF). Fit a circle of parchment or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice.
6. Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes, just until it is very lightly coloured. Because the crust needs to be fully baked, remove the parchment and beans and bake the crust for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool to room temperature. Keep the cooled crust, with the tart ring still in place, on the parchment-lined baking sheet. (The crust can be baked up to 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.)
Pictures of steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.
7. When the tart crust has cooled, make your ganache. Center the rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190 degC (375 degF).
8. Fill the tart crust with the raspberries.
9. Melt the chocolate and the butter in separate bowls either over – but not touching – simmering water or in the microwave. Allow them to cool until they feel only just warm to the touch (60 degC or 104 degF as measured on an instant-read thermometer, is perfect).
There’s really no need to use a thermometer. Just make sure it feels warm and not hot.
10. Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the 1 large egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in ever-widening circles and taking care not to agitate the mixture – you don’t want to beat air into the ganache. Little by little, stir in the egg yolks, then the sugar. Finally, still working gently, stir in the warm melted butter. Pour the ganache over the raspberries in the tart shell.
This is the trickiest bit. What I would recommend is to use a whisk to gently go round the circumference of your bowl, without lifting the whisk out of the ganache. Twirl the whisk around to make sure you mix the egg and butter evenly into the ganache, but don’t use a beating motion because that introduces too much air into the ganache. The ganache will look extremely watery and divided at first (egg vs chocolate), but you should reach a point when the egg and then the butter are completely mixed into the ganache and it looks consistent throughout.
11. Bake the batter for 11 minutes – that should be just enough time to turn the top of the tart dull, like the top of a cake. The center of the tart will shimmy if jiggled – that’s just what it’s supposed to do. Remove the tart from the oven, slide it onto a rack, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
12. Scatter the fresh red raspberries over the top of the tart and, if you’d like, serve with some crème anglaise.
I’ve never made the creme anglaise so I’m not including the recipe here. This recipe’s already too long!
Keeping: The crust can be made ahead, but the tart should be assembled as soon as the ganache is made. And while the tart is meant to be eaten soon after it comes from the oven, it can be kept overnight in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before being eaten the next day. The filling will be firmer and denser, but still delicious.