Tarte au Chocolat: French Chocolate Tart

This French chocolate tart with shortcrust pastry is incredibly decadent. It’s extravagant enough on its own, needing no garnishes or frills. While it may look humble, it is absolutely luxurious.

The chocolate tart filling is a rich dark chocolate custard, only slightly sweetened for an intense, deep chocolate flavor. The custard is made with cream and an additional egg yolk, making it extra smooth and rich.

The custard is held in a buttery and crisp pâte sucrée. The crust is blind baked before adding the chocolate filling, ensuring it’s fully baked and crisp.

slices of french chocolate tart
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Tips for Making French Chocolate Tart

  • The shortcrust recipe makes enough pastry for two tarts. You can keep the extra pastry in the refrigerator for another use within a few days. The pastry also freezes well, so you can keep some on hand for the next time you’re craving a tart.
  • The method for making the pastry dough is a bit different from other recipes you might have seen. Rather than cutting cold butter into the flour, the room temperature ingredients are mixed like cookie dough. The butter and sugar are combined, followed by the egg, and then the flour is folded in just until the dough comes together.
  • Try not to overwork the dough when mixing, as it can result in a tough tart shell that shrinks when baked.
  • When rolling out the dough, make sure it is thoroughly chilled. As the dough warms up, it will begin to stick to the work surface.
  • When making the chocolate custard, it helps to have all the ingredients measured and nearby before starting. It’s a temperature and time-sensitive recipe, so if you have everything ready, you’ll be able to move through the steps without trouble.
  • To melt the chocolate, you can either use a double boiler, or a microwave. Microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring the chocolate each time even if it doesn’t seem melted.
  • After melting the chocolate, set a strainer over the bowl so it’s already in place to strain in the hot custard later.
  • To make the custard, you’ll need to temper the eggs. Tempering the eggs slowly heats the eggs so they mix smoothly in the custard. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, and a bit of the cream. Bring the rest of the cream to a simmer, then slowly pour in half the cream into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and continue to cook the custard.
  • When combining the hot custard and melted chocolate, use a rubber spatula and stir gently. You want to try not to beat in any air bubbles.
french chocolate tart and a cup of coffee
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a slice of tarte au chocolate and a cup of coffee
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Ingredients:

Pâte Sucrée

Yields two 9-inch (23cm) tart shells.

MetricCups
140g unsalted butter, room temperature
75g confectioners’ sugar

1 egg, room temperature
25g almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

250g flour
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg white

Crème au Chocolat

Yields enough custard for one 9-inch (23cm) tart.

MetricCups
170g dark chocolate

1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
25g sugar

240ml single cream

2 Tablespoons rum (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces dark chocolate

1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup half and half

2 Tablespoons rum (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pâte Sucrée

1. Combine the butter and sugar:

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a rubber spatula, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

2. Add the egg, almond flour and salt:

Add the egg, almond flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix until combined.

3. Add the flour:

Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated. The dough should just come together into a ball. As soon as it does, stop mixing or the pastry will lose its delicate short texture.

4. Divide:

Divide the dough into two equal discs and wrap in plastic.

5. Rest and chill:

Set the dough in the fridge and leave to rest for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

6. Roll out the dough:

Try to work quickly to prevent the dough from warming up. As it warms it begins to stick and can be hard to work with.

Unwrap the dough, dust it with flour, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/8-inch (3-4mm) thick, rolling from the center outward in all directions. Lift and rotate a bit after every few strokes and dust with flour as needed to discourage sticking.

7. Line the tart shell:

Carefully transfer the dough into the tart pan. Gently press the dough into place without stretching the dough or the sides will shrink while it bakes. Trim the edges with a sharp knife. Prick the base all over with a fork and place in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes.

blind baking the shortcrust pastry
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8. Bake the shell:

While the tart shell chills in the fridge, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

Line the tart shell with parchment and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then remove the parchment and pie weights. Brush the crust with the egg white (save the yolk for the chocolate filling) to seal the shell, then bake for a further 6-7 minutes for a fully baked shell. The pastry should be a light golden brown.

shortcrust pastry
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Crème au Chocolat

1. Preheat the oven:

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).

2. Melt the chocolate:

Place a saucepan filled with an inch or two of water on the stove over medium-low heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, place a strainer over the bowl, and set aside, keeping the chocolate warm.

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3. Prepare the egg mixture:

In a small bowl, beat together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the single cream or half and half.

4. Temper the egg:

Pour the rest of the cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. As soon as it begins to boil, remove from the heat. Make sure the cream is no longer boiling and whisk half of it into the egg mixture. Then whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the cream.

5. Cook the custard:

Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat. Cook the custard until it reaches 70°C (158°F) on a candy thermometer, whisking constantly. This should take about 2 minutes.

6. Combine the custard with the chocolate:

Pour the hot custard through the strainer over the melted chocolate. Pour in the vanilla extract and the rum, if using. Using a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate and custard until fully combined, working from the center out to the sides. Stir gently as you don’t want to beat any air bubbles into the mixture.

7. Bake the chocolate tart:

Pour the chocolate custard into the pre-baked tart shell and bake for 8 – 9 minutes. The sides will have begun to thicken, but the middle will still be liquid. The filling will thicken as the tart cools.

Remove from the oven and cool for at least 2 hours.

The tart is definitely best the day of, but will keep for an additional 1-2 days, covered and kept in a cool room or in the refrigerator.

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