How to Bake Everything: A Little Chocolate Goes a Long Way

Text and photos by Emily Stephenson

This tart was so awesome it was gone by the time of writing this post, and I’m ambivalent about chocolate. I am not the type of person who loses her mind over chocolate cake, or chocolate ice cream, or unadorned chocolate. I will eat those things, of course, but they are not my first dessert choice. Enthusiasts, please stay with me. 

One reason I was intrigued by the Chocolate Tart in How to Bake Everything was that it doesn’t actually contain all that much chocolate: just 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate. I’m sure some people expect that much in one serving. But this recipe makes the chocolate go far, and that’s great for people like me, and your wallet.

First you make the crust, which is a lot like shortbread only more flavorful from the cocoa powder and a dark, rich color. It comes together easily in the food processor, then I opted to roll it out—thinking less handling keeps it more tender—though you could just gently press it into your pan and be fine. Blind bake it for a short while, and let it cool completely. Bonus: I made dal for lunch with my “baking lentils.”

Blind baking

While the crust was cooling, I made my favorite part of this whole dessert: the pastry cream. I had never attempted pastry cream before, but was pleasantly surprised to find the outcome was basically a simple, and extremely delicious chocolate pudding. That went into the fridge to set after about 10 minutes of work.

After both components completely cooled, and the pastry cream has set in the crust, I made the glaze. This is where the chocolate devotees and the chocolate averse both win. You melt some chocolate in hot cream, then pour as thin or as thick of a layer as you desire over the filling then let that set too. You can enjoy the cookie- and pudding-qualities of the other ingredients with just a thin shell, or dump it all on for a full hit of pure chocolate.

Served with whipped cream—or not—this chocolate tart is keeper.

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Recipes


  1. Michele Mandrioli said...

    I have had the book since right after it came out, but I haven’t tried this recipe yet. I will definitely do it soon, but I usually make chocolate crumb crusts from ground up Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Cookies.
    Michele Mandrioli, Clark U. Class of 1971

  2. Thats too much delicious. I love chocolate so much. Thanks for sharing.

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