Claudia Egger has an outstanding Toronto bakery called Frangipane, where she makes superb French pastries. As it is nearly Valentine’s Day, what could be better than one of her rich chocolate tart recipes – with a twist? Candied bacon is the flavour of the month right now, but I actually like candied orange peel with this tart, too. The candied bacon has a short shelf life, as the sugar tends to run after a few hours. Make it ahead and, if it seems soggy, crisp in the oven for a few minutes before crumbling it over the tart. There will be leftover dough, which you can use to make a few good cookies. Although I baked this tart in a long rectangular pan, it works just as well in a round 8- or 9-inch one. Egger’s dramatic recipe serves 8, but it keeps well and even freezes.
Ready time: 4 1/2 hours, including chilling time
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 slightly beaten large egg
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place brown sugar and ancho chili in a bowl. Add bacon slices and rub sugar mixture into meat. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over any remaining sugar mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and candied. Remove from pan with tongs while still hot and place on a greased plate or wire rack to cool. Do not put on paper towels as the sugar will stick to the paper once cooled.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Mix in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolk and water. Stir into flour mixture and squeeze together into a ball.
Grease an 8- or 9-inch pie plate or tart tin. Pat in pastry in a thin, even layer. Prick with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. In a small pot over medium heat combine the cream, sugar and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the cocoa and sugar completely (about 2 to 3 minutes). Pour mixture over the chopped chocolate and rest for 30 seconds before whisking together to a smooth consistency. Add the vanilla and stir in the egg until well blended.
Bake tart shell for 10 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove from oven. Pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle is slightly jiggly. Do not over-bake. Chill 3 hours until set.
Crumble the candied bacon into small pieces and scatter over tart. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.