Chocolate pecan dough:
1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup unsweetenend nonalkalized cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, such as Land O’Lakes, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces praline paste*
2/3 cup crushed corn flakes
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar premium vanilla ice cream
*praline paste is available at gourmet food stores and by mail from The Baker’s Catalogue; 800-827-6836.
Make the chocolate pecan dough
1. Lightly butter six tartlet molds (31/2-inches in diameter).
2. Place the pecans into a bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse the pecans until finely ground; set aside.
3. Place the cocoa powder and the flour into a small bowl and mix with a wire whisk until blended.
4. Place the butter and sugar into a 41/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream well on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
5. Add the cocoa powder/flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until blended. Stir in the ground pecans to combine. The dough will be very wet and soft. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Wrap the dough, flattening it slightly, and chill for at least 8 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into six portions and press into the prepared tart shells using your fingers. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 15
minutes. When the shells are removed from the oven, press the puffed dough in the center with the back of a teaspoon to flatten. (The crust will rise like a cake.) Cool completely before filling.
Make the secret center:
7. Spray a dinner plate with vegetable spray. Melt the white chocolate according to the Chocolate Key on page 65. Add the praline paste and mix to combine. Add the corn flakes and mix until blended. Spread the mixture 1-inch thick on the prepared plate. Cover and chill. Cut into 1-inch square pieces. (The mixture will yield 12 squares.)
Make the chocolate filling:
8. Melt the chocolate and butter over a simmering water bath (bain marie); remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Stir the egg mixture into the melted chocolate and butter. Stir to combine, cover and chill.
Finish the tartlets:
9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place one secret center square in the center of each shell and fill with the chilled filling, smoothing the top with a metal spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, remove from tartlet mold and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. This tart is also delicious served chilled.
Restaurant Serenade, 6 Roosevelt Ave., Chatham, NJ 07928; 973-701-0303.