Bittersweet Chocolate Turtle Tart


Pastry dough:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (11/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water

Caramel-pecan layer:
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans, about 1 cup

Chocolate custard layer:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted
butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 ounces bittersweet or extra-bittersweet chocolate, (67 - 82%), finely chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream


1. Make pastry dough: Put flour and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with metal chopping blade. Pulse to blend. Scatterbutter cubes over flour and pulse about 8 times at 1-second intervals, or until most of butter is reduced to small bits the size of peas. In small bowl, combine yolk and water and mix with fork until blended. Add to flour-butter mixture and process until dough begins to clump together. Do not over-process; dough should not form ball.

2. Turn dough out onto work surface and shape into thick disk. Wrap in wax paper and chill until firm enough to roll out, about 1 hour.

3. Dust work surface and dough with flour. Roll dough into 13" circle, lifting and rotating dough often, while dusting work surface and dough with more flour as necessary.

4. Fold dough into quarters and place in 11" fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Unfold and gently press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan without stretching. Roll pin over top of pan to trim off excess dough. Lightly prick bottom of dough with fork at 1/2" intervals. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up dough and relax gluten. (Dough may then be frozen for longer storage and baked directly from freezer.)

5. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Line tart shell with large round (about 16") of buttered parchment paper, buttered side down, leaving 2" overhang. Crimp parchment tightly around rim of pan to protect top edge of dough from over-browning. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until set and beginning to color. Remove from oven. Using overhang as handles, carefully remove paper and weights from shell. Return to oven and bake dough for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until golden brown and fully baked. Transfer tart shell, still in pan, to wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before filling.

6. Make caramel-pecan layer: Combine sugar and water in large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and occasionally washing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, without stirring, for 4 to 7 minutes, or until sugar caramelizes and turns deep amber in color, swirling pan as necessary to evenly distribute caramel. Remove pan from heat and add butter, cream and salt (mixture will bubble up), stirring until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Add vanilla and pecans and stir until nuts are completely coated.

7. Pour hot caramel mixture into cooled tart shell and, using small offset metal spatula, spread into even layer, making sure nuts are evenly distributed. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours, or until caramel layer is frozen.

8. Make chocolate custard: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.

9. In medium saucepan, combine cream, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, swirling pan to completely cover chocolate with hot cream. Let stand for 3 minutes to melt chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth.

10. Combine eggs, salt and remaining sugar in small bowl and whisk until well-blended. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour filling over caramel layer in tart shell.

11. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until top is set. Transfer tart, still in pan, to wire rack to cool to room temperature.

12. To serve, unmold tart and transfer to flat platter. Using serrated knife, cut tart into 10 slices. Place each slice on dessert plate and top with scoop of ice cream.