Bittersweet Chocolate Tart Recipe

The little black dress of my tart repertoire - bittersweet chocolate with a thin brown sugar crust. The filling is a dark chocolate ganache, the consistency of thick frosting, set off by the crispness of the crust, finished with a dusting of cocoa powder, and a pinch of sea salt.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

I thought I'd try to squeeze one last recipe into 2009. It's a tart. A sweet one. The little black dress of my tart repertoire - bittersweet chocolate with a thin brown sugar crust. I thought about doing a boozy version or a spiced version, as a holiday send-off, but in the end kept it simple. The filling is a dark chocolate ganache, the consistency of thick frosting, set off by the crispness of the crust. I hope you all have a great New Year Eve, and I'll see you in (gasp) 2010!

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart Recipe

A few notes related to the tart. Be sure to read the head notes as well as the entire recipe before you get started. Tart recipes involving pastry can look scarier than they actually are, but you do have to plan ahead a bit. Once you're in the thick of it, this pastry dough is quite forgiving, you can patch up holes, pinch together fissures, and even re-roll if you have to. The only tricky thing with this particular tart dough is that it is thin in the pan size I call for - don't try to roll it out to a 10-inch pan. If you're worried, instead of making two tart shells, use all of the dough for one, and use any leftover dough for a few smaller tarts or a bunch of little cookies. :)

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Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

This dough recipe will make two, thin 9-inch tart shells. I usually make use one shell, and freeze one, unbaked, for future use. The recipe makes enough filling for one tart. If you don't have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use unbleached all purpose flour, that is fine. If all you have is white sugar, that is fine as well. I was thinking an alternative crust might be 1 cup APF + 3/4 cup spelt flour, but I haven't tried it yet. Be sure to sift your sugar for this tart shell, any big clumps of sugar turn into sugar puddles in your crust - no good. Roll out any extra dough and stamp into 1/8-inch thick cookies - they're great for ice cream sandwiches, or dunked in melted chocolate.

Tart Shell:
1/2 cup + 1 T / 4.5 oz / 130g unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 75g natural cane sugar, muscovado, or brown sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1 3/4 cup / 8 oz / 225g whole wheat pastry flour

scant cup / 225 ml heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons milk
7 ounces / 200g 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
flaky sea salt, cocoa powder

equipment: two 9-inch tart pans (or equivalent).

Start by making the tart dough. Use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment to cream the butter, sugar and salt until well combined. Alternately, you can do this by hand. Add the egg and mix until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Add the flour and pulse the mixer on and off, low speed, until the dough comes together and has a moist appearance. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape each into a ball, press into 1/2-inch thick disks, and wrap in plastic, or place in baggies. Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.

When you are ready to line the tart pans with dough, place one of the dough disks on a lightly floured surface and roll out until the dough is large enough to line your tart pan. I usually eyeball it - you can see in the photo the dough is about 1/6 - 1/8 inch thick. Dust underneath with flour to discourage sticking throughout the rolling process. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Don't worry too much if you get a tear or hole, you can patch those up later with scraps. Work quickly to ease the dough into place, taking care not to stretch the dough. Press it along the bottom of the pan, out to the walls, and against the sides. Trim any excess dough - I use the palm of my hand against the edge of the tart pan to cut off any extra dough, alternately you can roll a rolling pin across the rim of the pan for a clean edge. It should look like the second photo up above. Chill in the refrigerator for thirty minutes more while you roll out your extra tart shell. Double wrap that one in plastic and freeze it for future use.

You're going to partially bake the tart shell before filling it, so pull the shell out of the refrigerator, dock it with a fork, making small holes along the bottom of the shell - see photo. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill to the rim with pie weights or dried beans, bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights and finish baking for another 6 - 8 minutes, or until the crust is dry and just barely starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Make the chocolate filling by bringing the cream and milk to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture smooth. Let cool five minutes, add the egg, and whisk until completely blended. If the chocolate is too hot, you're going to scramble the egg, be cautious.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake for about 15 minutes, give or take a couple minutes. The filling should be set around the edges a bit darker than the center in color. The center will be a touch jiggly, that's o.k. I baked this tart in a slightly smaller/deeper tart pan and it took longer than its wider, shallower 9-inch counterpart. Just keep an eye on things.

Let the tart cool completely, preferably in the pan on a cooling rack. Dust with a bit of cocoa powder, and sprinkle with touch of flakey sea salt. You can serve at room temperature or chilled - it's easier to slice when it's chilled.

Serves 8 - 10.

Prep time: 120 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

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I'm sure it tastes as lovely as the photo. Thank you.


Hi Heidi, Made this as the wonderful ending to an 11th Wedding Anniversary dinner party we had for friends last night. I also made a raspberry whipped cream to accompany -- they were out of their minds with delight over this tart!! It truly was OUTSTANDING!!! BTW, I tried your idea of APF (used white whole wheat) and regular spelt -- it worked great! The crust had a very crispy cookie kind of a texture. A perfect compliment to that silky smooth dark chocolate richness. You make out lives so much better with your recipes! Please keep 'em comin'!!


this turned out great. thank you for the recipe.


Works great with white whole wheat flour, too (rather than whole wheat pastry flour). I like the earthiness of the crust married with the denseness of the filling. Note: The flaky sea salt one reviewer asked about is Maldon sea salt, an absolutely melt-on-your-tongue treat that takes salt to a whole new level. Thanks for the recipe!


Wow!!! It looks ah-mazing!! xx


This tart was a HUGE hit. I added a 1/4t of peppermint extract to the chocolate. It is much easier to cut and serve when it is well-chilled. The sea salt is a must!


This looks SO good. I can't wait to make it. Thanks!


OK, now I know *exactly* what my reward will be when I reach my goal weight on June 1. :-) BTW, there can be only one salt for this: Maldon. It could make cardboard into a fine dining experience. ;-)


Just made this for dessert tonight - the family loved it! The filling is so incredibly silky. Thanks for another fab recipe!


There are few things more intoxicating than bittersweet chocolate. Its savory undertones are what makes it special. Thanks for this recipe!

Georgia Pellegrini

That was my exact question too. I only have enough pie weights to cover the bottom of a tart shell, not right up the sides. Hmmm...but if the answer is yes, then dried beans are relatively inexpensive. Looks divine. Happy New Year all!


Hey, Heidi. I've been a fan for over a year now, love to read and try the recipes. I'm not sure I understand the beans part. Did you really fill the pastry up to the RIM?Doesn't that take an awful lot of beans? I usually use glass mancala stones as weights for pastry. Happy New Year. HS: Yes, but I save and reuse the beans over and over. I have a big bag of them. This pastry is quite well-behaved, I suspect you might be o.k. if you cant make it all the way to the top.


Happy New Year! The chocolate is to die for.


I made this for NYE and it was fab. I keep thinking that the same crust, flavoured with powdered ginger and a lemon cream filling would be divine, something to try next time we have friends coming :)


I made two of these two nights in a row... It was AMAZING!! Also, Heidi, this is the first time I am commenting, but I read your blog all the time and I love your recipes! I also bought your cookbook for my mom for Hanukkah :) Best wishes and happy new year, Allison


Mama-mia! Chocolate is definitely the way to welcome a new year. Thanks, Heidi, for sharing your divine culinary explorations -- wishing you all the best in the New Year!!


Looks absolutely delicious!


Yum Yum Yummmm.... I wish I could have a bite right now! Happy 2010!

French Cooking for Dummies

Yum! Now...if I just had a stand mixer!!


Great post! I really like the way you focus on the technical aspect of successfully succeeding at completing those recipes the right way. Really well done.

S Lloyd

This was my first tart! I accidentally bought sweet and not savory pastry at the store, so didn't make the casing from scratch, but this is a great chocolate dessert with no added sugar. I loved how the salt gave a slight lift after each bite, but for my husband who hates a sweet/salty combo (even a small one as this), didn't care for it. We were eager to try the finished product so I cooled it in the fridge, and it sliced up perfectly.


Metric! Awesome! A big thank you for the metric measurements from London! I really appreciate the extra effort as I love your recipes.


Dear Heidi: Deseo que el año que comienza llene tu casa de salud y tu cocina de ideas geniales como hasta ahora nos has ofrecido. Thanks a lot and kisses.


I always visit your site, but today I have to comment! That looks like heaven to me....Delicious!


That looks amazing! I don't think I could eat a single thing in there but it sure inspires me to try and come up with a 'healthy' version!

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Can't wait to try this - it looks amazing! Happy New Year!


Everybody loved it! The tart is beautiful and unbelievably tasty. I never made ganache but the filling turned out rich and smooth. I also added layer of smooth whipped cream dusted with cocoa. I loved the crust - easy to work with, very forgiving and after baking tasting of brown sugar and butter. Today, from the left over pastry I will make tin after dinner cookies. They will pair well with herbal tea.


Beautiful- I'm making this for a party today! But I was wondering if the ingredient amounts for the filling are meant to fill both tart shells or just one. (Since I'm only making one shell, and halving the recipe, I was wondering if I should halve the filling amounts, too.) Thanks, and Happy New Year! HS: Natalie, the recipe makes enough filling for one tart. Sorry if that wasn't clear.


I made this for our New Year's Eve party and everyone LOVED it! HS: That is great to hear Rachel. I hope it was worth the effort. I took mine to a party as well :)


Metric measurements! That's the real treat for me - I could never figure out why or how to convert volume to weight which we traditionally use here in Germany for solids. Thanks for this and have a great 2010! (We bade 2009 farewell with your Rustic Potato Chowder -- an all-time favorite -- which mysteriously has vanished from your archive.) HS: Thanks Marc, I'm going to keep trying to include cups / oz / g in future recipes on the site - one of my resolutions ;)....and let me look into the disappearing soup, that's strange.


Only just saw this on New Year's day, so what a way to start! :) Thanks Heidi! Also many thanks for 2009 and the recipes. :)

Bumble Duckie

Great recipe to end 2009. Happy new year to you. 2010 gonna be a great year for all of us. I enjoyed your website and here's greeting from Malaysia. Hope to see more bread recipes... Salam.

Nor Aini Adnan

What a wonderful recipe to end 2009! It's now 2010 here in Australia. Heidi, I wanted to say how much I have enjoyed your webpage in 2009 and look forward to all the delicious 2010 ideas! Best wishes for 2010.


Gorgeous and oh, so tempting. Perhaps I'll try for Valentine's Day. With the holidays coming to a close, got to reign in just a bit. Although if someone gave me a slice of this tart, I could not resist.

Andrea (Fork Fingers Chopsticks)

Right now I am making your gnocchi alla romana as our New Year's Eve dinner and last night I made your grain-ola to have for the first breakfast of 2010. Wish I would've looked at the computer earlier today so I could've added the tart to my menu! I think I'll try it this weekend. Happy New Year and thank you for all the recipes- I love, love, love them!


Wow, so simple and delicious! I would love this for dessert or as a treat with an afternoon tea.


Sounds delicious and looks gorgeous. Brown sugar crust, mmmm... more than anything, I love reading your descriptions! Even if I never make the recipe, I think I'll still drool upon seeing the photo. Thank you for a wonderful collection of recipes this year, and cheers to more in 2010! Happy New Year!


Uh oh. It's not even 2010 and my resolve just flew out the window. But what better way to indulge! Now to round up some friends to help me enjoy it. Thank you & Happy New Year!


Weights! Bless you, Heidi. I just repaired my kitchen scale and my New Years present to myself is putting my dry cup measures back into storage.


You are really sending as of into the new year. I will try it. Looks blissful. Thank you very much for the recipes in 2009, hope to be the same for (gasp) 2010.


Happy New Year! Sortir sur une note élégante. Merci pour les images alléchantes, engageant la prose, et la constante bonne mange retrouve sur votre blog.

Joanna Szandrocha Paris France

I was just browsing thru my recipes, wondering what shell I make for the New Year’s Eve party we are invited to later today. Question solved. I have all the ingredients on hand and I will be making your bittersweet tart. I am starting the pastry right now, will chill it while I go to my Pilates class and finish the tart later in the afternoon. I am thinking about bringing along bowl of raspberries – I think they pair perfectly with chocolate. I will let you know how it all turned out.


Oh Heidi it's beautiful! I'm eating it with my eyes. Have a happy, chocolate-filled 2010!


Looks yummy! How deep is the pan you are using? HS: Hi AE, I made two tarts, one in a standard 9-inch pan, and the other in the pan you see up above - that one is 6 or 7 inches wide, and I'd say 2 inches-ish deep.


Wow, that is just mouth-watering!...

Simply Life

Thank you for the delicious tart recipe. Happy New Year!


sounds great! a good way to send off 2009!


Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes. Happy New Year, Heidi!


I'm gonna try this and try this and try this until I get it right. Super yum.

RookieMom Heather

Well Heidi, this looks to be a perfect send-off to a sweet year, a fine tribute for the sweeter things to come in 2010. Thanks!

tom | tall clover farm

Your entries are liked wrapped presents—all year long! Thank you for vicarious delights, many of which end up in the reality zone of my kitchen. In a post such as this, it would help to see how this looks cut or spooned. Does one cut it in a wedge shape, I wonder, and does it retain that shape? HS: It does! It slices into perfect wedges. But you do need to let it cool completely, and if your kitchen is on the warm side, or if it is a hot day, of course that will change things, but....


This sounds wonderful. The picture shows a tart shell about half full (I suppose the top picture is the finished product), and this surprises me initially. Was there a reason for half full? HS: I think the camera angle is a bit misleading - the tart I baked in the deeper pan left more crust exposed, but it was still roughly 3/4 full...


I think I just fainted a little bit! This looks incredible! I can almost smell it from here. Have a wonderful New Year, Heidi - can't wait to see what you bring all of us in 2010!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Oh Heidi it's beautiful! I'm eating it with my eyes. Have a happy, chocolate-filled 2010!


Heidi ~ thank you for the year of culinary inspiration! here's hoping that 2010 is good to you and yours

carolina p

This looks devine! Thank you for a great year of inspirational recipes. Bonne et heureuse Année!

Nina LePage

This looks wonderful!


Its beautiful and just the thing to end this lovely year with. Hoping 2010 brings you happiness, love and good health Cheers

Kate - Aapplemint

I don't fancy myself much of baker, but do like to make tarts - both savory and sweet. Next time you make a chocolate tart, try throwing in about a tablespoon of pureed chipotle pepper - gives it a fun kick!

Cooking with Michele

That looks absolutely glorious! Definitely one to try. Now, when's the next party I have an excuse to cook for? Happy New Year!

Mrs Redboots

This looks decadent!


Oh, this looks lovely. I love the simplicity of it after all the crazy rich holiday food. I'm gluten free and I think I'll try it with one of my GF gingersnap tart crusts. Beautiful! Happy New Year!


Wow! That says Happy New Year all over! a friend of mine came back from Paris and brought me something quite special: a bunch of specially flavored sea salts. One of them is a "chocolate salt" I think this dessert would be a nice opportunity to try it. Happy New Year!


first time commenting...check in daily...this recipe & the detailed notes/ method are very helpful... one of my resolutions is to turn out a good tart...this post fuels me...thanks!!


Your presentation, writing and recipes are never short of perfect. That looks DELICIOUS. I wouldn't have thought to do brown sugar and chocolate together bittersweet chocolate with a toch of sea salt. I love this combo.

JOANNA SZANDROCHA Marble Arch, London W1C 1H

Happy New Year! I was actually just looking at the gluten free crust recipes in Elana's cookbook and was thinking I wanted to make something to impress my family for our new years day lunch. Your filling and that crust might make my New Year's Day dreams come true :)

christie @ honoring health

Hi Heidi! Happy New Year! This sounds like chocolate i all it's bittersweet glory, showcased to the world. :) I just made one of your salad dressings from your cookbook and really loved it. Not too oily and veryvery tasty!

Sweets at Vicky's

That looks DELICIOUS. I wouldn't have thought to do brown sugar and chocolate together, for some reason, but this looks so, so good.

The Startup Wife

What a great recipe to end the year on Heidi - I love the combination of flavours here - the bitterness cutting through the sweet

Gourmet Chick

This looks fabulous! What a send-off to 2009. Happy New Year!


This tart looks gorgeous! I adore the fine and delicate cocoa and sea salt sprinkling.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

Oh yum, bittersweet chocolate with a toch of sea salt. I love this combo. In fact, I did it with your chocolate espresso bean cookies (just a couple of flakes / cookie) and it was awesome. BTW, made a couple more batches of those candied cranberries for assorted holiday gatherings and they were a huge hit! (This my SIL learned that sucking of the sugar then eating the cranberry is NOT a good idea...)


I have a tart pan that almost never gets used, and I think it's because I just don't get excited by the prospect of non-chocolate desserts. Now I have a great reason to use it! Thanks for this recipe - it looks fabulous (just like all your others!)


Heidi,. happy new year. Chocolate is always the best :D

Vonny Ablett

Beautiful -- BUT what in the world is "flakey" sea salt?! Can I use finely ground salt instead??? HS: Hi Carolina, skip the salt on top if you only have finely ground salt on hand.

Carolina Weening

Simple and beautiful. Just what we need to ring in the new year! Happy 2010!

Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home

Wow, this tart looks gorgeous! What a great way to end 2009 with! Happy New Year!


Oh, my!

Maile (mylee)

This is the best new year present I ever had, my favorite chocolate tart. Thanks, and happy new year!


Oooh I wish I had a tart pan and these ingredients right now, this looks great! Saving it for later... Happy New Year Heidi!


This sounds gorgeous! Reflecting on the past year, I just have to tell you how happy I am to have stumbled upon your blog. Thanks to you, I tried coconut oil, agave nectar, millet, and countless other new ingredients this year - I'm now the substitution queen, always trading white sugar and flour for something else in recipes. Can't wait to see what you have in store for 2010!

Beth R+V

Going out on an elegant note. Thanks for the enticing imagery, engaging prose, and the consistently good eats featured on your blog. Happy New Year Heidi - looking forward to the food adventures next year.

Rachelle's Kitchen

Yummy! Your presentation, writing and recipes are never short of perfect. (I recently made your oreo style Christmas good!) Best Wishes for 2010!

Angela Wilson

Oooooh ! Aren't you sweet to send this along as a gift to close out the year. I am such a tart for chocolate tart xo Happy New Year and thank you so much for a wonderful 2009 ! Michaela

Michaela @ The Gardener's Eden

Lovely Tart! I love the comparison to the little black dress!

Estela @ Weekly Bite

Crap, I don't think I have time to make that before New Year's and that's when my diet starts :-( I can always imagine what it tastes like though :-)

The Local Cook

Now you're officially speaking my language! Dessert... :) Chocolate and I have been best friends since I was in the womb, and I think this chocolate tart is going to be my new best friend! Great way to end the year! :) Great post, Heidi! :)

kamran siddiqi

Heidi, Great job. Chocolate. Way to cap off the year. Happy Years Fellow Foodies! Cheers!


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