Valentine’s Day – Decadent Chocolate Tart
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t celebrate it with a little chocolate. Make this year’s celebration extra special for your guests by featuring our luscious chocolate tart and learn a little about the history behind our chocolatey tradition.
Montezuma + Chaucer = Romance
Chocolate has been connected with desire since ancient times. Even in early Mesoamerica, cocoa beans were prized for their strength and endurance granting traits. Montezuma, the notorious ancient Aztec ruler, was said to have popped cocoa beans to fuel his romantic pursuits.
However, we didn’t begin to see a linking of Valentine’s and romance until 1382. It’s in one of Chaucer’s poems, Parlement of Foules, that we first begin to see the holiday portrayed in an amorous light. Amid several glaring grammatical liberties, Chaucer makes mention of the nature of love when “every bird cometh to choose his mate…on seynt Volantynys day.”
It had now been established that chocolate and Valentine’s Day equaled romance. It was only a few short centuries before the two met and became forever linked.
From Drinking to Eating
Fast forward to 17th century England, with the Victorian era in full swing. By this point in history, Valentine’s Day had already become a day of exchanging small gifts on which Cupids, hearts, and bows held prominence, but chocolate had still yet to be introduced.
Enter one Richard Cadbury, whose very name might prompt flashbacks of cream-filled eggs. An innovative chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury had devised a new way of processing drinking chocolate. This process resulted in a much more palatable hot chocolate and a lot of excess cocoa butter. To repurpose the remains, Cadbury began creating something he unimaginatively dubbed “eating chocolates”. In an attempt to capitalize on the already commercialized Valentine’s Day holiday, Cadbury began packaging his eating chocolates in ornate heart-shaped boxes complete with Cupids, hearts, and rosebuds.
Your Love, In a Box
Victorians embraced Valentine’s Day chocolate immediately. Young men seemed to know by instinct that the surest way to win their sweetheart’s affection was with a bedecked box of chocolates. Chocolate inserted itself into every facet of the holiday as advertisers promised love to the young gentleman who had the good taste to select and present their most expensive box of chocolates to his darling. Following the guiding light of the omniscient Victorian etiquette book, admirers and the admired alike learned the proper way to give and receive chocolate. Giving a young woman a box of chocolates had quickly become tantamount to a declaration of love. Women were warned not to accept chocolate from a man they would not accept at the altar and the giving of chocolates by a woman to a man was considered obscenely forward.
Today the significance of a box of chocolates has decreased appreciably, but it is still customary to show your devotion through a bon-bon or some other token of affection. This year help your customers step up their game by offering a special Valentine’s Day chocolate tart so good it simply can’t be refused.
Valentine’s Decadent Chocolate Tart
Yields 6, 9-inch Tarts or 60 servings
For the Chocolate Crust
- 6 cups chocolate wafers, finely ground
- 3¾ sticks (15 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups (10.6 ounces) sugar
For the Truffle Filling
- 7½ cups (63 ounces) heavy cream
- 54 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao), chopped
- 12 large eggs (25.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons salt
For the Chocolate Glaze
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
- 10.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 6 Tablespoons warm water
For the Crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor blitz the chocolate wafers until very fine. The finer you make these crumbs the better your crust will hold together. Transfer the chocolate crumbs to a large bowl and add butter and sugar. Stir until thoroughly incorporated.
Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of your tart pans and work the crust all the way up the sides of the pans. Bake crusts until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes
For the Filling
Chop dark chocolate and transfer to a large bowl. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt and incorporate into melted chocolate.
Pour the chocolate filling into your cooled crusts and bake until the filling is set about 3 inches from
For the Glaze
In your heavy-bottomed saucepan bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chopped chocolate until smooth, then incorporate corn syrup and warm water. Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.