Bitter Sweet Chocolate Tart

Reflection By Chef Vincent Tropepe

Recipe By Chef Alain Ducasse

One of my first professional work experiences after graduating the Art Institute of New York City was working in one of the most respect French kitchens in all of New York City called Alain at The Essex House with French chef and culinary giant Chef Alain Ducasse. I was hired to work in the pastry station. There came a time when Chef Ducasse took a liking to me and saw how hard I was working and how focused I was as personally spent time with me and trained me personally. For any young person wanting this to be their life vocation this was a big deal. Although I do not recall this tart being on the menu at Alain at The Essex House I do know that this made the menu of his restaurant Benoit. I remain extremely grateful to Chef Ducasse for making such a memorable and influential impression in my career.

Tart Shell

  • All-purpose flour 
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour (see Note) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 large egg 


  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1 large egg yolk 


  • 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin 
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped 
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving 

Make the Tart Shell:

  • Step 1 In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, blend 1 cup of all-purpose flour with the butter, sugar, cocoa, almond flour and salt at medium speed. Mix in the egg just until a soft dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and lay another large sheet of plastic wrap on top. Roll out the dough between the plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. Transfer the round to a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  • Step 2 Peel off the top sheet of plastic and invert the dough onto a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the remaining sheet of plastic and gently press the dough into the pan. Trim the dough flush with the rim. Freeze until firm, 10 minutes.
  • Step 3 Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until the tart shell is nearly cooked through. Remove the parchment and weights and bake until the shell is cooked through, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 250°.

Make the Filling:

  • Step 4 In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and let stand until melted, 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolk, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the chocolate cream. Thoroughly whisk this custard into the chocolate cream in the saucepan. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake until set around the rim but still slightly jiggly in the center, 30 minutes. Let the tart cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.

Make the Glaze:

  • Step 5 In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let stand 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, whisk the cream, sugar and cocoa over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Scrape the gelatin into the cocoa mixture, add the milk chocolate and whisk until melted. Pour the glaze over the tart and spread it in an even layer using an offset spatula. Refrigerate the tart until the glaze is firm, 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Almond flour, made from finely ground blanched almonds, can be found at most gourmet and health-food stores.


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