When we last left off, I was hoping for more opportunities to combine tea and fruit for unusually delicious Summer desserts. As luck would have it, the downstairs neighbors invited us to dinner less than a week later. I was informed that the pregnant wife had largely lost her sweet tooth, but I like a challenge. I figured something featuring dark chocolate and fresh seasonal fruit would fit the bill nicely.
Flipping through Pierre Hermé’s Larousse du Chocolat for inspiration, I found a recipe for an intriguing-sounding chocolate tart with jasmine tea and peaches. Hmmm…I do like a good ganache tart. Nick had come home from the market with a bag of assorted stone fruits that morning, so we tasted one of each and determined that the white nectarines were really something special. Besides the gorgeous blush color of the flesh, they had a unique aroma and delicate flavor that I thought would play nicely off the bittersweet chocolate. Scrapping Hermé’s overly complicated tart dough in favor of a simple almond sablé (because we all know that almonds and stone fruit are like chocolate and peanut butter – they just go) and subbing in a more robust tea in the (now milk chocolate-free) ganache, I was pretty sure I had a winner on my hands.
For the final touch, I topped the über-shiny ganache with another circle of pretty nectarine slices, which I then glazed with a nappage fashioned from some handmade jam. The neighbors were duly impressed with the tart’s beauty when I arrived at their door, and not a crumb remained at the end of the night, so I assume it tasted acceptable. (Ok, it tasted great. The tea subtly perfumed the intense chocolate, and the nectarines provided a juicy counterpoint. It may be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and it wasn’t the slightest bit difficult. Look! I did it while drinking a mojito!) Even the sweet tooth-lacking pregnant woman had seconds.
Want the recipe? Here it is:
Chocolate, Tea, and White Nectarine Tart
Something about the hint of floral tea in the ganache makes this dessert so sophisticated. It’s also stunningly beautiful, despite the minimal effort required.
I recommend using chocolate that is around 70% cacao – a combination of chocolates from Madagascar (for the fruity acidity) and Venezuela (for the deep, roasty notes) is ideal, but not obligatory. Just use the best chocolate you can get your hands on. As for the white nectarines, if you can’t find any – or if they are not perfectly sweet and ripe, feel free to substitute regular nectarines or even peaches. Again, use the best fruit available.
For the almond sablé crust:
40g / 1.4 oz. unsalted butter, cold, cubed (plus some for the tart pan)
40g / 1.4 oz. sugar
60g / 2.1 oz. flour (pastry if you have it, but all-purpose will work fine)
15g / ½ oz. almond meal
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. milk
10g / 0.35 oz dark chocolate (a couple of squares or so), melted
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 20cm / 8” removable-bottom tart pan.
- Combine the sugar, flour, almond meal, and sea salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it has the texture of wet sand (this is where the dough gets its name, in fact – sable means sand in French). Or you could pulse it a few times in a food processor, if you’re more comfortable with that. Food processor or no, sprinkle the milk over the dough and very gently toss by hand to combine.
- Press the dough into the buttered tart pan, trying your best to cover the bottom and sides evenly. Make sure there are no patches of naked tart pan. If there is anything strong-smelling in your fridge, cover the pan with plastic wrap. Chill thoroughly. This is very important. If the dough is not properly chilled, the butter will melt too quickly in the oven and the sides will slide down and you’ll end up with a big, flat cookie. It will be delicious, but not very useful for tart-making. A full hour in the fridge should do it.
- While the tart shell is chilling, preheat the oven to 190C / 375F. Once the oven is nice and hot, take the tart shell from the fridge and pop it straight into the oven (take off the plastic wrap first!). Bake 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through baking time, until it is a lovely, toasted, golden brown.
- Remove the tart shell from the oven. Allow it to cool a bit, then brush the bottom with the melted chocolate, preferably the same chocolate you plan on using in the ganache. It only makes sense. Cool to room temperature.
For the tea ganache:
140g / 4.9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (see note)
25g / 0.9 oz. unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp. honey
100ml / 3.4 oz milk
2 tsp. loose tea (I used a floral black tea, but Earl Grey or Darjeeling would be good, too)
- Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and honey in a heatproof bowl.
- Bring the milk to a boil and add the tea. Cover and steep for 3 minutes, then strain over the chocolate. Whisk slowly (you don’t want to incorporate any extra air) until smooth.
For the nappage:
3 Tbsp. nectarine jam (or peach, or apricot)
1 Tbsp. water
½ lime, juice
1 sheet (2g / 0.1 oz.) gelatin
- Combine the nectarine jam, water, and lime juice and blend until smooth. (A hand blender is great for this.) Strain into a small bowl.
- Bloom the gelatin in cold water. When it is soft, take it out, drain it, and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt. Stir the melted gelatin into the strained nectarine purée. Done.
Build the tart:
Almond sablé crust
Tea ganache, warm
1-2 white nectarines, pitted and sliced into thin wedges (see note)
- Arrange the nectarine slices in a circular pattern on the bottom of the tart shell. Save the prettiest ones for the garnish.
- Pour the warm ganache over the nectarines and give the pan a little shake to smooth out the top. Chill until firm. (This time, it will only take 20-30 minutes, plenty of time to make the nappage.)
- Place the reserved nectarine slices attractively on top of the ganache. Brush each slice with nappage, just enough to glaze it with a healthy sheen. Chill another few minutes to set.
- Remove the tart from the pan, sit it on a pretty plate, and serve at room temperature.
Makes one 20cm / 8” tart, enough for 4-6 people
Originally published on Croque-Camille.