Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I can't find the wafers anywhere

Since photos are such a pain to upload on this connection (I know - you're tired of hearing that particular whine. I'll shut up and deal with it), I won't show you how our garage is progressing until I feel like sitting and waiting. Instead, I'll share a goody I found a few months ago, and hinted at a couple posts ago:


This is seriously delectable chocolate richness. It's rich, it's dark, it's melt-in-your-mouth heaven. I only wish I had invented it myself. You can view the complete recipe online at, one of my favorite time-consumers. Or you can view it here, with my running commentary :)

For crust
28 chocolate wafers such as Nabisco Famous, finely ground in a food processor (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely

Now, as the title of the post hints, I have been unable to find those darned wafers anywhere, even after swallowing my pride and asking staff at the grocery stores. Yes, stores. I took this mission to heart and spent more time looking for the wafers than a honey-do procrastinator at a hardware store. I finally gave up and bought a package of Oreos, even though I like to follow a recipe EXACTLY, at least the first time.

Talk about a trip down memory lane! Remember c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y twisting the two disks to separate them and have all the filling on one instead of divided between the two? That may have been the hardest part of the whole process. I thought about using chocolate graham crackers, but having never tasted one, I went with the devil I knew, and scraped filling until I had the requisite 28 wafers

For filling
1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), coarsely chopped
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I don't know about you, but I looked at the bittersweet chocolate bars in the baking-goods section, and I looked at the bittersweet chocolate chips, and I thought "why get a knife dirty?" I used the chips made by that company in San Fransisco, which happened to be 60% cacao.

Special equipment: an 8-inch (20-cm) round springform pan

Oops. The only springform pan I have is a 10-incher. I used it. I may invest in an 8-incher before I make it again (which I will), just to make the tart thickerer.

Garnish: unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling

Make crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap a sheet of foil over bottom of springform pan (in case of leaks). Lightly butter side of pan.

Stir together ground wafers and butter in a bowl until combined, then pat mixture evenly onto bottom of pan and 1 1/2 inches up side. Bake until crust is slightly puffed, about 10 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack, about 15 minutes. Leave oven on.

Make filling while crust cools:
Melt chocolate and butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth, then remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined well.

Assemble and bake tart:
Pour filling into cooled crust and rap pan once on counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake until filling 1 inch from edge is set and slightly puffed but center trembles slightly when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as it cools.)

Cool tart completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Chill, uncovered, until center is firm, about 4 hours. Remove side of pan and sprinkle with cocoa to serve.

Cooks' notes:
• Tart can be chilled up to 3 days. Cover loosely after tart is completely chilled (covering before may cause condensation).
• Crust, without filling, can be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

February 2007

There you have it.

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