Hi! My name’s Meleyna, and I have a food blog. Well, I used to anyway. And then I didn’t post for nearly a month, and I’m pretty sure my readership is down from like, four, to probably one. (Hi, Tom!) It’s not for lack of cooking–I’ve had dinner parties, I’ve been playing with spring’s wonderful bounty, and whether or not I feel like cooking, CPS warned me this is the LAST chance, and I gotta feed my kid… So what’s my deal? Well, I moved, and I’ve been dealing with a crappy wireless situation ever since. (Seriously? Who actually password protects their Internet? So much for love thy neighbor…) I finally got my own real live Internet YESTERDAY. So for the past month, I’ve been checking my email on my lunch break and MAILING the bills I don’t have time to take care of during the remainder of my too-short break. You know, cause I’m a dinosaur. (I have lots of practice; it’s Parker’s favorite game. Rrrrrrrowr.)
So here we go. Welcome back, to that same old place you laughed about. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaaack! (I am far too young know anything about that show, and I’m not entirely sure why I know the lyrics, but there you go. And I hope that it stays stuck in your head for the rest of the day.)
So that dinner party I mentioned? Resounding success. While the mashed potatoes were a hit (thank you, butter and cream), this little dessert right here is what did it: milk chocolate tart with pretzel crust out of February’s Food and Wine (once again, thank you, butter and cream). An homage to the chocolate covered pretzel, this takes slightly more effort, yet is completely make ahead and dinner party friendly. Or Wednesday night alone on the couch with SYTYCD. I made the dough Wednesday night, baked it off Thursday, and filled it Friday morning before work to be eaten that night. You can see how disgusting Arizona summer is in the picture down below. My chocolate was that soft straight out of the cabinet at 5:30 AM.
None of this is hard, but a few cautions about the crust. Because my kitchen was completely topsy turvy at the time, I had to jury-rig a tart pan sort of thing. I use the bottom of a 9-inch pan in an 11-inch ring. As a result, my crust was stretched a little thin and the filling leaked ever so slightly, but once it was on my cake plate you couldn’t tell, so use the 10-inch specified. I also recommend that you cut it on a cutting board. The crust is exactly what it says it is–a pretzel. The first night I cut it, I didn’t know what to expect, and I had a friend gripping the stem of the cake plate while I cut into it, praying to God it wouldn’t shatter all over my beautiful dessert. It was also slightly comical hearing everyone’s forks on their plates thnking onto their plates as they cut through the crust. This, however, is not an issue if you’re by yourself, as you can simply pick it up with your fingers and cram it into your face.
The article suggest you serve it with creme fraiche. But because I’m ridiculous, I instead opted for David Lebovitz‘s peanut butter ice cream out of The Perfect Scoop. You can quite obviously make the ice cream in advance, but you can opt for the easy way out and go with the creme fraiche. I’m sure it’s just a good as peanut butter and chocolate. (I love how I act like there’s even a choice in the matter.)
Milk Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust
adapted from Food and Wine
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed thin pretzels (about 3.5 ounces)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large room temperature egg
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
crushed pretzels, for garnish
In either a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attatchment, a bowl and an electric mixer, or a bowl and a spoon, beat the butter, 3/4 cups of the pretzels, and the sugar until creamy, breaking up the pretzels as you go. Add the flour and egg. Stir in the remaining pretzel crumbs, making sure to leave some texture–you want to be able to see the pretzel pieces. Scrape out onto a piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece, flatten into a disk, and wrap it up completely. Chill for a couple of hours, or until the butter firms up enough to roll it out. (I did this all two night before I wanted to serve it.)
Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap your dough, but save the plastic. Flatten out the first piece, place the dough on top, and lay the second sheet on top. Carefully roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the first sheet of plastic, flip the dough into a 10-inch tart pan, and peel off the plastic. Press the dough into the pan, patching things as you go along. Stick it back in the fridge for another half hour to firm up. Line the dough with a piece of foil (or parchment, whatever tickles your fancy), and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until set. When completely cool, brush the melted semisweet over the crust, including up the sides.
Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. When bubbles begin to appear around the edges of the pan, add the chopped chocolate and let sit for about five minutes. Stir, making sure all the chocolate has melted into the cream. Let cool to room temperature, about an hour. Pour into prepared crust and refridgerate until set, at least four hours. To serve, sprinkle with more crushed pretzels and, if you like, some good seat salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel). Serve a scoop (or four) of peanut butter ice cream alongside. Or I suppose you could go with creme fraiche.
Final shot, with a corkscrew. Cause I’m capital C Classy.