Divine Dining 2/13/13
There are three little words that enflame the heart and stir the senses, words that can ignite passion in even the most hardened soul: let’s eat chocolate.
Charles Schultz said it well, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Preach it, Brother Schultz. Yes, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate those we love, but why not at the same time celebrate that decadent delight we adore above all others? I have nothing against a comforting apple pie, warm with cinnamon and nutmeg and deliciously crisp and sugary on top. But, when given the choice, I will always choose chocolate.
This is a certainty like the earth being round or road construction being ever-present. I am proud to say that, of all the things I have passed on to my adorable nieces, a love of chocolate is among them. I remember the first time my niece Gianna ate a bite of chocolate. With that tiny taste, an entirely new world exploded in her mouth. She was hooked. It is in her genes, after all.
When it comes to my love affair with chocolate, I am a bit particular. I do not settle for the lukewarm feelings that white or milk chocolate bring me, feelings of comfort, but not of rapture. I yearn for the rich, bold flavors of dark chocolate, the darker the better.
My dark chocolate raspberry tart is the perfect celebration of that great love of mine. An impossibly creamy, barely sweet dark chocolate filling rests on a buttery cookie crust, with fresh raspberries dotted like jewels atop its satiny surface. Celebrate love in all its forms in your life this Valentine’s Day, including love in its purest and most tantalizing form: chocolate.
see tart/page c2
Dark chocolate raspberry tart
Serves 10 if you’re being polite, or far less if you love chocolate as much as I do!
2 c. chocolate cookies for crust (chocolate wafers or chocolate graham crackers, but not chocolate coated cookies)
6 T salted butter, melted
12 oz. dark chocolate chips (1 package)
1-1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried well
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor (or with a food storage bag and a rolling pin), pulse cookies until they form fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse until combined. Press into a 9-inch fluted tart pan, forming an even crust. Bake for exactly 20 minutes on a cookie sheet, let cool. Pour chocolate chips and vanilla in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to barely a boil, and immediately pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir slowly, incorporating the chocolate and cream together. This will take about 5 minutes of constant stirring to become a glossy, smooth filling. Pour filling into cooled crust. You may have a small amount of filling left over: this is perfect to spoon over ice cream, or to just eat with a spoon! Scatter raspberries on top and refrigerate uncovered until set, about 1 hour. You can serve with fresh whipped cream but, in my opinion, those bursting-with-sweetness raspberries perfectly lighten this rich dessert.
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The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.