FUDGY PUDGY BROWNIE TART
adapted from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum
Oven Temperature 325°F/160°C
Baking Time 35 to 45 minutes
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1¼ cups bleached all-purpose flour
⅛ tsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp superfine sugar
1½ tsp loosely packed lemon zest, finely grated (optional)
1 cup + 2 tbsp walnut or pecan halves
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter (65° to 75°F)
5 oz fine-quality unsweetened or 99% cacao chocolate, chopped
3 oz white chocolate containing cocoa butter, chopped
3½ tbsp unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder (sifted before measuring)
1⅓ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ tbsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup bleached all-purpose flour (spooned into the cup and leveled off)
a pinch of fine sea salt
One 9½ by 1 inch high fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, sprayed with baking spray with flour if not a nonstick pan
An expandable flan ring or 12 inch round cardboard template
One 8 inch round cake pan
A baking sheet lined with nonstick or lightly sprayed aluminum foil
MAKE THE COOKIE TART DOUGH
(Food Processor Method) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a food processor, pulse together the sugar and lemon zest, if using, until the zest is very finely grated. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the sugar coats the butter. Add the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is no larger than small peas. Add the egg yolk and cream and pulse just until incorporated. The dough will be in crumbly pieces unless pinched.
Scrape the dough into a plastic bag and press it from the outside of the bag just until it holds together. Remove the dough from the plastic bag and place it on a very large sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to knead the dough a few times until it becomes one smooth piece. There should be no visible pieces of butter. (Visible pieces of butter in the dough will melt and form holes during baking.) If there are visible pieces of butter, use the heel of your hand in a forward motion to smear them into the dough.
CHILL THE DOUGH
Flatten the dough into a 6 inch disc. Wrap it well and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, or until firm enough to roll or pat into the pan. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. If chilled for more than 30 minutes, it can take as long as 40 minutes at room temperature to become malleable enough to roll.
ROLL THE DOUGH
Set the dough between lightly floured large sheets of plastic wrap. Roll it evenly into a ⅛ inch thick disc larger than 12 inches in diameter. While rolling the dough, sprinkle it with a little more flour on each side as needed and if the dough softens significantly, slip it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it until firm. From time to time, flip the dough with the plastic wrap, and lift off and flatten out the plastic wrap as necessary to make sure it doesn’t wrinkle into the dough.
LINE THE TART PAN
Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and use the expandable flan ring, or a pizza wheel or small sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut a 12 inch disc. If using the pizza wheel or knife, take care not to cut through the bottom plastic wrap. (Excess dough can be frozen for several months.) If the dough softens after cutting the disc, refrigerate it until firm. It will not drape over the pan unless it is flexible, so if it becomes too rigid in the refrigerator, let it sit and soften for a few minutes.
Invert the 8 inch cake pan onto a work surface. Use the bottom sheet of plastic wrap to lift the dough and set it, plastic side down, over the 8 inch cake pan. Smooth down the sides so they will fit into the tart pan and place the removable bottom of the tart pan on top. Then carefully place the fluted ring, upside down, on top. Place a flat plate, cardboard round, or wire rack over the tart pan to keep it from separating. Invert the pans and remove the cake pan. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Gently ease the dough down to reach the bottom and sides of the pan. If the dough breaks when transferring it into the pan, patch and press it into the pan with your fingers.
Fold in the excess dough to halfway down the sides of the tart pan. Press it against the sides so that it extends ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If the dough is thicker in places, press it so that it becomes thinner (it will rise higher). Use small sharp kitchen scissors to trim it to ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If pressing in the dough with your fingers, press it at the juncture where the bottom meets the sides, which often tends to be thicker. For a decorative border, use the back of a knife to make diagonal marks all around, using each flute as a guide.
CHILL THE TART SHELL
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze it for a minimum of 1 hour.
PREHEAT THE OVEN
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.
TOAST AND CHOP THE WALNUTS
Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. If using walnuts, turn them out onto a clean dish towel and rub them in the towel to remove as much skin as possible. Using a chef’s knife, chop the walnuts in four batches so that they are no larger than ¼ inch. Discard any skin. (Do not use the food processor, because it will create excess nut dust, also referred to as nut flour.)
MELT THE BUTTER AND CHOCOLATES
In a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the container touch the water), melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate, white chocolate, and cocoa, stirring often. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl.
MAKE THE BATTER
Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Add the flour and salt and stir just until the flour is fully moistened. Stir in the walnuts.
Carefully place the chilled dough-lined pan on the baking sheet. Scrape the batter into the pan. It will reach the top of the pan and be just under the top of the crust. Smooth the surface evenly with an offset spatula.
BAKE THE BROWNIE TART
Place the tart, on the baking sheet, in the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the batter has puffed slightly and set only up to 1 inch from the edge. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 190°F/88°C.)
COOL THE TART
Remove the tart, still on the baking sheet, to a wire rack and let it cool until no longer warm to the touch.
COOL THE TART SHELL
Remove the tart pan, still on the baking sheet, to a wire rack and let it cool for a few minutes. Lightly press the sides and the bottom of the tart shell with your fingers to form straight sides and a flat bottom. Cool it completely on a wire rack. The crust will be soft to the touch.
UNMOLD THE TART
Place the tart pan on top of a canister that is smaller than the bottom at the opening of the tart pan’s outer rim. Wet a dish towel with hot water and wring it out well. Apply it to the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Press down on both sides of the tart ring. The outer rim should slip away easily. If not, apply more heat. Slip a long metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan, loosening it all around if necessary, and slide the tart onto a serving plate.
Refrigerate the tart for a minimum of 1 hour before serving. It is at its most deliciously fudgy when chilled or frozen.
Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 2 weeks; frozen, 6 months.