Chocolate, Coffee and Orange Marmalade Tart
Lately R has been complaining that Americans take seasonal flavors way overboard. Sometimes he doesn't want his chocolate/coffee/breakfast cereal flavored like pumpkin, and he wants to see some other vegetable beside squash. Personally, I could not disagree more. If I could eat cinnamon and pumpkin flavored asparagus, I would. But if you feel the way that R does, it's worth remembering that orange and chocolate is a flavor combination every bit as of-the-season as pumpkin. And it's classier. This recipe comes from a new book by Ashley English called A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies, a copy of which I was sent to review. If you want something show-stopping, and if you don't mind spending a little quality time in the kitchen for a dessert that for once doesn't involve a gourd, this pie is perfect.
A few words about the book. English begins with a short history of pie, tracing the lore from ancient Egypt, to the Greeks and Romans, then to the arrival of "pye" in medieval England, through the appearance of the Pilgrims on the shores of the New World. Next comes a section on the basics of pie-making, complete with color photographs of all of the essential and not-so-essential equipment so that you'll have no excuse to be anything but well-prepared. This emphasis on beautiful, full-color photography continues for the rest of the book, with practically every recipe receiving a full-page picture. The recipes themselves are organized by season, which is a format I always appreciate since shopping according to what's in season helps cut down on the cost, thus allowing you to splurge a bit on really great chocolate, for example. Least you think the book is full of sweets, English also includes savory pies like a Winter Greens and Cornbread Quiche, a Mushroom and Chevre Galette and a Spiced Meat Pie. And that's only from the winter section!
Now, about the most incredible chocolate-coffee-orange pie you're likely to come across: this is not a dump-and-bake affair. You're going to make the orange marmalade yourself, from scratch, ideally the day before you want to serve your tart. If you make it now, or at any time during the holidays, you'll be doing it when oranges are in peak season, when they're most flavorful and inexpensive. Plus, it will be the best orange marmalade ever. You're also going to make the chocolate cookie crust yourself, because why would you use a pre-made crust if you've gone to the trouble of making marmalade? You wouldn't. Especially when a press-in cookie crust is about the easiest thing in the world. Then all that's left is a thick chocolate ganache flavored with coffee or Kalhúa.
Chocolate, Coffee, and Orange Marmalade Tart
Excerpted with permission from Ashley English's A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies (Lark Publishing, 2012)
Makes: One 9-inch tart
You Will Need:
Chocolate Cookie Crust (follows)
Muslin tea bag
1 pound oranges
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably one with at least 60 percent cocoa content), chopped
3 tablespoons strong coffee or coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kalúa
Prepare The Marmalade:
Quarter the oranges. Once quartered, separate the peel from the flesh. Scrape out the pith with a spoon and discard.
Chop the flesh into small pieces, removing seeds as you see them. Place the seeds in a muslin tea bag (they contain a good deal of pectin and will aid in thickening the marmalade).
Slice the peel into long thin strips, and then cut the strips into smaller, 1/2-inch pieces.
Put the seed bag, fruit flesh, sliced peel, and water in a large, heavy stainless-steel soup pot or stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Allow to cool at room temperature overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Remove the lid from the pot and place the pot over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook 10 minutes.
Slice the vanilla bean open and use the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the seeds inside. Add the seeds to the pot.
Add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir to fully combine, then cook uncovered over low heat for 25 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the Ganache:
Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a medium-sized saucepan and turn on the heat to high. Put a metal bowl over the saucepan, creating a double boiler. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in the bowl. As the water begins to boil, the chocolate will start to melt. Whisk the mixture every few minutes, until the chocolate has melted and is thoroughly blended with the cream. Whisk the coffee or liquer in with the melted chocolate.
Remove the bowl from over the saucepan and set aside.
Assemble the Tart:
Spread the marmalade venly across the surface of the cookie crust. Pour the ganache over the marmalade, using a spatula to smooth the surface if necessary.
Refrigerate until firm, this should take between 1 to 2 hours.
Chocolate Cookie Crust
You will Need:
9-inch springform pan
10 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (about 2 1/2 cups)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Crush the cookies either by pulsing them in a food processor or placing them in a plastic freezer bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.
Combine the crushed cookies and melted butter in a medium-size bowl. Stir until fully mixed.
Press the mixture into the 9-inch springform pan, covering the bottom evenly and pressing the crumbs halfway up the sides.
Bake the crust 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.
UPDATE: Thanks to a comment, I realized that chocolate cookie wafers aren't the most common thing in the world. The brand I found was called Famous Chocolate Wafers from Nabisco. Here's a link to the Amazon page so you can see what the packaging looks like.