There’s something about putting together a chocolate dessert that is so satisfying (lemon desserts, too, for that matter). For Easter lunch with my family I was asked to bring something sweet. A cake is what first came to mind but a few days before Easter I picked up my iPad and flipped through old issues of Donna Hay magazine and found this recipe. I don’t know about you but I eagerly await the release of her latest issues–the photography and simple recipes always, always make me want to run to the kitchen to cook or bake. This tart with the rich ganache and chocolate-dipped pretzels–though much simpler than what I originally intended to make–sounded like just the thing that would please both adults and kids alike.
I mentioned in my last post that the hardest part about this dessert was finding the tart pan in my area. It has common dimensions–I was confident that Crate & Barrel or Sur La Table would have it–but I was out of luck. Late afternoon was approaching and I still had a few things to do; I was getting desperate. I considered using a round tart pan (I have several in various sizes) but I decided to visit one more store instead.
Thanks to my local Draeger’s I didn’t return home empty-handed. My only gripe? The same tart pan was $18 at Sur La Table (out of stock) but it cost me $32. I love Draeger’s but I couldn’t believe the huge mark-up. I was desperate, though, so I bought it…grudgingly.
I’ve decided that the only way to feel better about my purchase is to lower its cost-per-use (so expect frequent appearances here). That said, Donna Hay’s tart with a crust made out of biscuits and pretzels and a ganache filling seemed like a worthy first recipe. I made a few changes based on what I had. A family-size box of graham crackers in my pantry discouraged me from picking up a package of digestive biscuits (I really like them, though) and I used Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur) in place of the butterscotch liqueur recommended in the recipe. I even considered, only for a split second, using store-bought chocolate-covered pretzels but I’m glad I didn’t. I dipped my pretzels in melted, truffled dark chocolate and they were wonderful. The best part? I didn’t realize until I actually started to prepare the tart that there was no baking involved at all. A few hours in the refrigerator set this tart nicely and when I cut it into small serving pieces, the ganache was smooth and silky and the crust held its shape perfectly, crumbling only as I bit into it. I loved the hint of saltiness from the pretzels against the slightly orangey richness of the chocolate, too.
Should I have been embarrassed that I showed up for Easter lunch with such a simple, almost-no-effort dessert? I admit that I was tempted to find another recipe at the last minute because I felt like I might have been taking the lazy route with this one. But when I saw how quickly it disappeared (I did manage a couple of small pieces), all doubt went out the window. Use the best quality dark chocolate you can–this recipe will not disappoint.
Dark Chocolate and Salted Pretzel Tart
- 120 g ~4.2 oz graham crackers (orig recipe uses digestive biscuits)
- 120 g ~4.2 oz salted mini pretzels, plus 16 extra pretzels
- 180 g ~6.35 oz unsalted butter melted
- 375 g ~13.23 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 310 ml 1 1/4 cups whipped cream [single (pouring) cream]
- 2 tablespoons Cointreau orig. recipe uses butterscotch-flavoured liqueur
- 75 g 2.65 oz 70% dark chocolate, melted (I used truffled dark chocolate)
- ***Note*** Eyeballing the amount of room I had left in the pan after pressing the crust into it it didn't look like I would need all of the chocolate and cream prescribed above so I took a chance and cut back on the cream and chocolate,using only 3/4 (used full amount of liqueur, though) and this filled the tart pan perfectly. If you go this route, I used just over one cup cream and about 290 grams chocolate.
This recipe calls for a 14 x 5 x 1 inch rectangular tart pan (36cm x 13 cm x 2.5 cm). Prep it by lightly greasing the bottom and edges. Set aside.
Using a food processor, process the crackers and pretzels until you have fine crumbs. While the motor is running, add the melted butter and process just until combined. Press the pretzel mixture into the base and sides of the tart pan. I used the base of a measuring cup to really press the crumb mixture into the pan. This will allow you more room for the ganache and also will help the crust to hold together better when you cut and serve it. Refrigerate for at least an hour before filling.
To prepare the ganache, place the chocolate pieces, cream and liqueur in a saucepan. Melt over low heat then set aside for 10 minutes. Pour the ganache over the pressed crust and refrigerate again for 2-3 hours (overnight would be great, too) until completely set.
To finish with the pretzel topping, dip the pretzels in the melted chocolate and place on top of the tart. Return to the refrigerator to set for 30-40 minutes.
This is rich so cut in small pieces to serve.
Recipe is from Donna Hay Magazine Issue #64, Aug/Sept 2012