By Michele L.
“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”-Charles Schulz
Chocolate covered strawberries are a Valentine’s Day standard. But to me, they never really feel like a dessert. They’re like a dessert appetizer. An amuse bouche for the final course. I wanted to take that standard and turn it into a more well-rounded dessert. And thus the chocolate covered strawberry tart was born. I take the strawberries and the chocolate and layer them with my favorite dessert base: shortbread!
Two of the big components of this dessert, shortbread and ganache, are all about ratios. As long as you have the correct ratio, you can make as much of either as you want and get the appropriate texture.
First: the shortbread. For this, the ratio is 1-2-4. 1 part sugar, 2 parts cold butter, and 4 parts flour. Buzz it up in a food processor, cut the butter in with a pastry cutter, or even just use your hands. You want to work the ingredients until it forms a crumbly mixture that holds together when you squeeze it. And make sure you use cold butter: that’s what gives you the fantastic flaxy texture. At this point, you could form it into any shape you want. In this case, we pressed it into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and baked it to form a crust. Then we let it cool and brushed it with a layer of melted chocolate so the crust wouldn’t get soggy when we added the strawberries.
The next ratio is for the ganache. Now this ratio depends on what texture you’re looking for. For a thin glaze you’re going to use 2 parts cream to 1 part chocolate. For a thick glaze or cake filling use equal parts cream and chocolate. And for this recipe we wanted a thick filling that would set up like a truffle, so we used 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate. Heat the cream and pour it over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. You want to allow this to sit for about 5 minutes before whisking to get the best texture. I know, it’s hard. But resist temptation. You can do it! I promise!
Then all you have to do is layer in the strawberries, pour over the chocolate, and muster up the patience to let it chill for a few hours to allow the chocolate to set up.
Pro tip – run a knife under hot water to make it easier to slice.
And there you have it: a dessert that sounds a lot more complicated that it actually was, and that blows tired old chocolate covered strawberries out of the water. Make it for your significant other. Make it for your girlfriends. Hell, make it for yourself! Because everyone deserves a delicious chocolatey treat on Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Tart
For the crust:
- 1/2c powdered sugar
- 1c (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
- 2c flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the filling:
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1c heavy cream
- 3c semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tsp course of flaky salt
For the crust
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Add all crust ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and just holds together when squeezed. Alternately – use pastry cutter or hands to achieve crumb.
- Press mixture into a 9 inch tart pan (or spring form pan) and in the center and up the sides of the pan until solid
- Bake for 15 minutes until it just begins to brown, allow to cool.
For the filling
- Mix strawberries with sugar, set aside
- Heat cream in saucepan on medium heat until it just bubbling.
- In a heatproof bowl, pour cream over 2c chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until ganache is smooth.
- Melt remaining chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth.
- Brush regular melted chocolate over cooled crust. Chill in refrigerator for 5-15 minutes until chocolate is hard
- Place strawberries in a single layer into crust.
- Spread ganache (cream and chocolate mixture) over strawberries and spread with a spatula to smooth the top.
- Sprinkle sparingly with flaky salt. Allow to chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours until ganache is firm.
- Slice and serve