Rustic Chocolate Tart


3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cold water
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

To make the crust – combine the flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of cold water into processor until mixture is just moist enough to hold together when pressed (only add remaining water if needed). Turn out dough, shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Can also be made 3 days ahead and left in the fridge.

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes, until soft enough to roll without cracking. On a floured surface, roll dough to 14 x 9-inch oval (or a seasonal shape of your choosing), about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough and loosely fold edge, without pressing, to form a rimmed crust. Place the parchment and pastry on baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove and reduce oven to 350 F.

Meanwhile – make the filling. Melt the chocolate in microwave on 50 percent power for a few about 2 minutes, checking often. Remove before it completely melts, stir to melt the rest of the way and then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of salt and beat until whites are stiff and glossy. Pour walnuts and chocolate over eggs whites and fold in until combined.

Spread filling onto crust, leaving a space along the edge of the pastry. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (it will be fudgy on the inside). Cool on baking sheet on a rack – serve warm or at room temperature. Can be store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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