I can’t sing. I’m not a little off-key or even a little out of tune. I really can not sing. You know when your kids are little and you rock them to sleep and you quietly sing a little nursery rhyme? I never did that for fear that I would traumatize my children for life.
It’s so terrible that if we’re driving in the car and the radio is on my favorite station, and let’s say a fantastic song by a great artist like Bon Jovi comes on, and if by chance I happen to “sing” along, my kids are the first to tell me that I suck. They will even go so far as to abruptly change the radio station. It has not escaped my notice that my voice is worse than nails on a chalkboard. I know it. I’m not in denial.
Does that mean that I should never sing in the car? Does that mean that I should never hum along while I’m washing dishes? Does that mean that I should stuff a washcloth in my mouth if a tune starts running through my mind while I’m in the shower? Of course not! It just means that I need to buy ear plugs for those around me.
Unlike Lea Michele of GLEE fame. Have you ever heard her sing? I love her voice because it’s so natural. She doesn’t try to do excessive runs or do anything too fancy. Her tone is so pure, her talent is natural and distinctive, and it’s quite simply so beautiful that it gives me chills. If I only had one wish! (sigh!)
Unfortunately I’ll never sing like Lea Michele, or like Bon Jovi, or like the cats in the alley for that matter. But I can, and will, sing in my own kitchen while I make this delicious dark chocolate orange truffle tart. It’s definitely worth a note or two. Even from me!
Yield: one large 9" tart or about twelve small tartlettes.
The orange extract and orange gel food coloring are optional depending on your preferred orange flavor and orange coloring. Your flavor and coloring will also vary with different orange varieties.
For The Chocolate Pâte Sucrée Tart Crust
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whipping (heavy) cream
For The Dark Chocolate Truffle Layer
12 ounces dark chocolate, the best quality you can get
1-1/4 cups whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons butter
For The Orange Curd
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from about 4 )
zest from 1 orange
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pats
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
orange gel paste food coloring (optional)
For The Chocolate Pâte Sucrée Tart Crust
In a bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Drop cold butter into the flour mixture and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until it resembles pea sized pieces. Add the egg and cream and mix with your hands until it comes together. Flatten into a 6″ round disc, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into desired thickness and press into a 9" round tart pan or 12 smaller tartlette pans with removable bottoms. Remove all excess dough from the edges of the pans by rolling your rolling-pin over the edges of the pan to get a clean, sharp edge.
Refrigerate the pan(s) for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 12 - 13 minutes. Remove the tart pan(s) from the oven and let cool on wire racks.
For The Dark Chocolate Orange Truffle Layer
Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl.
In a small pot, over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a slow simmer or until bubbles start to form on the edges of the pot. Do not boil. Pour the hot cream over the dark chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth. Add the orange extract and the butter and stir until combined.
Pour the dark chocolate ganache into the pre-baked tart shell(s). Reserve 2 tablespoons of ganache in a small microwavable bowl for garnishing the completed tarts. Refrigerate the tart(s) for two hours until set.
For The Orange Curd Layer
Microwave each orange on high for 10 seconds. This will loosen the juice of the orange and will produce more juice per orange once squeezed. Roll the oranges on the counter to soften slightly before cutting in half and squeezing enough juice to measure 1/2 cup.
In a small pot boil about 2″ of water. Reduce the heat to a simmer. In a metal bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Place the metal bowl over the pot of gently boiling water. The bowl should large enough so the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water that is inside the pot. Stir gently until the mixture thickens, approximately 7 – 8 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and gently stir in all of the butter pats, orange extract, and a tiny amount of orange gel paste food coloring. Continue to stir until the butter is melted and completely incorporated. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the orange curd and refrigerate until cooled.
Smooth the cooled orange curd over the completely chilled chocolate truffle tart(s).
Microwave the reserved chocolate ganache in 15 to 20 second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth then drizzle over the tart(s) for decoration.