Chocolate Cream Tart

Chocolate, Desserts, Pie, Tuesdays with Dorie / Tuesday, April 28th, 2009


I have a soft spot for wax museums. They’re overpriced and kitschy and when they’re not maintained, the wax guests quickly turn into a collection of has-beens, like a party at Elton John’s. Wax museums are on my mind right now, because the Hollywood Wax Museum is auctioning about 200 figures – from the good to the confusing to the completely unrecognizable. I mean, look what they did to Dolly Parton. She’s a MAN, Baby! A man!

With wax museums, quantity does not equal quality.

The same holds true for this insanely rich Chocolate Cream Tart, featuring a chocolate shortbread crust, chocolate cream filling and whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate shavings. If you try to wolf down a wedge, the experience will diminish to Robin Williams as “Popeye” territory. Too much. Way too much. But if you can limit yourself to a few bites, maybe even a small sliver, you’ll have a peak experience, like I did when I saw these hideous figures of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.


Chocolate Cream Tart

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
  • 1 9-inch Chocolate Shortbread Tart Dough, fully baked and cooled (recipe follows)

  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate shavings or curls for decoration, or cocoa powder for dusting
  1. For the Filling: Bring the milk to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until well-blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk to temper the yolks so they don’t curdle. Still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get in the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard or, if you want to cool the custard quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the custard occasionally until it is fully chilled, about 20 minutes. (If it’s more convenient, you can keep the custard, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  5. When you are ready to assemble the tart, whisk the chocolate cream to bring back its velvety texture.
  6. Spoon the cream into the tart shell, stopping just short of the crust’s rim (you may have some left over) — you want to leave room for the topping. Smooth the top and, if you are not serving the tart immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap against the cream and refrigerate the tart until needed (or up to 6 hours).
  7. To Make the Topping: Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks.
  8. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and smooth it with a metal icing spatula or, if you prefer swirls, go for them. Serve the tart now or refrigerate it for up to 2 hours before serving. When you are ready to serve the tart, scatter chocolate shavings or curls over the top or, if you’d prefer, lightly dust the top with cocoa powder.

Chocolate Shortbread Tart Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  1. Put the flour, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients; pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.
  2. When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough forms clumps. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and lightly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
  3. Press the dough into the buttered pan. Press evenly over the bottom and up the sides, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed — press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but no so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Keep a close eye on the crust’s progress — it can get too dark in a flash. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

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73 thoughts on “Chocolate Cream Tart

  1. I would have a wax figure of ROB LOWE…and I'd put it right by the entrance of our apartment. Because if I put it in our bedroom, that could be a problem. LOL.

    Your chocolate tart looks fabulous!!!!!

  2. Wax museum? Eeeeeew! I feel the same for them that you do clowns, beyond creepy. blech, gives me the shivers all over. If i HAD to have one… a Jonas brother. In comparison i would always feel like my eyebrows were okay and not in need of plucking quite yet.

    1. Thanks!

      Wax figures are so hilarious. I went to a wax museum that had a Hall of Criminals, and the Charles Manson figures eyes would follow you around the room. Classy!

    2. Thanks!

      If you can't choose a wax figure, I'll just box up Patrick Swayze as Dalton in "Road House" and send him to you. You can't go wrong with The Swayze.

  3. It's gotta be George Clooney, and I would put him on the couch so I can "watch TV" with him whenever I want! By the way, the wax figures at Mme. Taussaud's in Vegas are significantly more lifelife and less creepy–you would be hard-pressed to tell that it's not really Brad Pitt in that picture with me!

    1. Love Madame Tussauds. I went to the one in England and had my pic taken with the royal family. Hot.

      Clooney is an excellent choice. Can't argue with that.

  4. Wax figures give me the willies but the worst are those creepy fake kids, the ones they sell at craft fairs, the ones with no faces that people put in the corners of their house. Eeewww.

    1. Oh, now those are just freaky and gross. Same category as the lifelike newborn dolls they show on TV once a year, along with some crazy woman rocking hers and talking about how she "almost thinks it's real." Ewwwwww.

  5. You seriously crack me up! What a segway. Your tart looks awesome btw!

    OK, I'll play. I'm going to go with Darth Vader for my son's room. He would think that was the coolest thing ever!

    1. Ah, you're totally right. My nephews are all about those Fatheads posters, but they'd probably LOVE Darth Vader and Spider-Man. Or get really, really freaked out.

  6. I second Keetha's suggestion of Benecio Del Torio! But I'd take Cary Grant over Clark Gable any day.
    Love the piped whipped cream design on the top of your tart – looks fabulous.

  7. Wow, those links to that wax museum were something else. Thanks for sharing. I'm guessng that they weren't working with the real celebrities, you know. Dolly and Julia were quite astounding.

    Anyway…the tart looks great!!

  8. No matter which one you'd choose, you know it would be creepy as hell at night time when you forgot it was a wax figure… That being sad, Fonzy would be kinda cool…

    1. Mmmm, forgot about the midnight creepiness. Might have to keep a tarp handy …

      And, yes, Fonzy WOULD be cool. You can't go wrong with The Fonz.

  9. Noooo… I couldn't have one of those creepy things in my house. Besides, the oven is on way to often… it'd be a shame to have a puddle of Popeye in the middle of the living room. I was thinking this tart looked SO delicious. I'd put an orange creme in the center, I think. I may give it a whirl.

  10. I wouldn't have a wax figure. It would take way to much energy to maintain…all that dusting and everything….ick!

    I loved this tart. I put some hazelnut coffee creamer in the custard….fabulous.

  11. Your tart looks awesome! I love the swirly top – how'd you do that?

    I would take a wax figure of Jillian Michaels and stick her in my kitchen. Having her watching over my every move would make me stop stuffing chocolate tart in my mouth and motivate me to exercise!

    1. Thanks! I used a big star tip and piped the whipped cream in large, loose swirls.

      OMG, Jillian Michaels! That's PERFECT. I think I'd add a sensor, so that when I approached the fridge, she'd say something like, "Beatings, beatings, beatings."

  12. Hm.. how about a wax Johnny Depp (sp?) as Edward Scissorhands in my laundry room.. I could hang my unmentionables on him to dry.

    I loved this tart, too, and am thrilled that it's best in small doses, as I was WAYYY less tempted to overeat it.

    1. Johnny Depp would make an EXCELLENT panty hanger.

      We haven't been tempted to OD on this tart, either, which is nice. Still, I think Kimberly's idea of having a wax Jillian Michaels in the kitchen is pretty awesome.

    1. Oh, tough call. I'm a little worried about Benecio being in the Three Stooges movie, though. He'll have to repress a lot of hotness to be Moe.

  13. I'm not a chocolate person so wasn't for me for the get go but it is an impressive looking tart.

    My kids would totally freak if I got a wax figure. They wouldn't sleep for sure. The twins don't even like to take a shower in their bathroom because there's a window.

    1. Oh, I can relate to the window thing. I couldn't stand clowns when I was a kid. My mom would put little clown prints and a clown lamp in my room, and I'd hide them all under the bed.

  14. My wax figure would be of Otis Redding and he would be winking at me. He would live in the kitchen.

  15. I got agree on the creepiness factor. Plus my crazy, climb on everything 15 month old would keep trying to have it pick her up. That said, is it weird that I would love to have Ina Garten sitting at my kitchen bar? Of course, then they would cart me off to the loony bin because I am too busy "chatting" with my new best friend to get anything done?

    Your tart looks wonderful!

      1. OOO, Martha. Yeah, she would definitely have issues with my household maintenance! I'd have to turn her around while I watching TV instead of cleaning.

      2. Maybe we could program her saying only positive things, like "You do that so well" and "Oh, sometime you must teach me." Because I really can't have her judging how I fold t-shirts and fitted sheets. And by "how I fold t-shirts and fitted sheets," I mean "watch too much TV."

  16. Some of those are absolutely hilarious! I can't believe whoever made them actually think they look like the person! I must admit… the John Travolta one is the best.

    I think I'd want a wax figure of Mr. Clean. I have an abnormal fixation on a cartoon that goes beyond the realm of healthy.

    1. GET. OUT. Mr. Clean? Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean?

      Actually, I might keep my kitchen floor a whole lot cleaner if I had Mr. Clean giving me the stare-down.

  17. I think Jane Fonda had been out in the sun too long. Holy Wax Job, Batman. Those are AWFUL!!!! But maybe a Helen Hays. She would make me look YOUNG!!!!

    Your tart, BTW, is beautiful.

  18. ok, what happened with that kate winslet figure. seriously. julia roberts can at least pass for a respectable looking wax figure even if it doesn't look a damn thing like her. but kate looks like a crazy witch. :) my wax figure of choice would be jared leto.

    this tart was good, wasn't a huge fan of the crust but i could overlook it.

    1. Mmm, Jared Leto playing his Jordan Catalano version of "I Wanna Be Sedated." Yes, thank you.

      The Kate Winslet DOES look like a witch. Crazy eyes + levitation. Good call.

  19. I just sent my friend all the links to the wax figures. I'm really not sure that I would want any of them in my home, but they really gave me the good laugh I needed today. Your tart looks wonderful. Duly noted on the richness.

  20. Dude, you stole my answer! I have a picture of myself next to the Mr. T at Madame Tussaud's in London (he's located in the gift shop, natch) and I'm literally as tall as he is. He's like a 3/4 reproduction of the real Mr. T. Kind of adorable.

  21. Haha, what an awesome comparison! Wax figures, chocolate cream tart. Who knew the two had so much in common? I must say, the tart looks totally amazing. Talk about gorgeous! I'm sorry that it was too over-the-top. Points for prettiness though (and points for being scrumptious for a few bites)! Hmmm, I don't want to sound obsessive, but I might have to get a wax sculpture of James Franco. Yeah, I don't even have a joke for that one. I just think he's great to look at.

  22. Alfred (think Batman) right by the front door to greet everyone. It might be nice to have Julia Child in the kitchen to cook with, but I would be afraid of melting her once all the burners and oven got cranking.

  23. OMGawd, they are some the worst figures I have ever seen. I could do better with paper mache and white glue.

    Your tart is beautiful!

    I think my figure would be Julia Child in my kitchen.

  24. OMG…. Dolly doesn't even have her shoes on! Criminal. Remember when poor Sister Jenn melted down in the wax museum in Gatlinburg! You had to go in and retrieve her. What fun memories…for us.

    Bring home a piece of this, please.

  25. Your tart looks so rich and decadent.
    I would love to have a Wonder Woman wax figure. I mean, people would think it was me :-)
    Now, back to reality! Great question, btw.

  26. Wax museums scare the life out of me…creepy, creepy things. But not your tart…it is really and truly most wonderful. I love all that fancy swirling you did.

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