A birthday dessert fit for a queen of the woods - chocolate tart on a chocolate and hazelnut cookie dough crust
I have this thing with chocolate for my birthday. It is absurd, I know, but I don't feel like it's my birthday unless there's a chocolate-y dessert where to sink my teeth and a few candles into! When I was younger I remember mostly having the same chocolate walnut cake for my birthday, it was a wonder of chocolate dough specked by whole walnuts, with a chocolate filling, a chocolate covering and a topping of walnuts scattered over it. It was heaven for me, a chocolate bomb for most people.
Then there was a time when THE cake to have was a Brigadeiro cake, another wonderful concotion of chocolate and condensed milk dough, filling and topping, with a spraying of tiny chocolate thingees that make for the crunch and the proverbial cherry on top. I used to have this cake for my birthday at a certain point, and I remember I had it in 2010 or 2011. It was store bought that year, and did not feel quite as good as I remembered from when I was a young adult. But for the longest time, my go to birthday dessert has always been the chocolate tart. My mother used to bake a chocolate chantilly tarte that was to die for, but a bit on the heavy side, so I was all for having it on birthdays and over Christmas.
It was one of the first desserts I learned how to cook, because there's no baking involved, actually, as the crust is made with cookies pulverized and added to butter so they make a kind of a dough. I used to cook this one a lot, yes, but I hated doing it, because the idea of touching that kind of dough, with the butter and the pulverized cookies, well, it still gives me the creeps and makes me cringe like hell. I have a problem with roaches, clowns and douggh, I guess. But I don't have a problem with eating this kind of tart anytime! It's perfect for my birthday because I am a choclate lover of all things made with chocolate, and this one is pure chocolate heaven, as you can see!!
Also, it is a tart that to me is very reminiscent of Autumn. I don't know, there's something about the look of it that gives me all those Autumn feels, and makes me want to style it in a cozy, woody, floresty way. It makes me want to take a long walk in the woods, spotting mushrooms and acorns and hazelnuts, listening to the sounds of the wild, maybe even catching a glimpse of a wild hare or a boar, or even a fox and a few deers. All very romanticized, of course, my mind works in mysterious ways and I have a huge imagination that sends me into day dreams constantly. I find that to be quite a good thing, especially as a wannabe writer, because I plunge myself into romanticized scenarios that help me gather up feelings and emotions and visions I can later translate into words on my writings.
So when I decided to shoot this tart on my birthday of all days, after I dropped my son at school post lunch, I had it all in my head already. I wanted to use fairy lights, because it was my birthday, I wanted to make it darker, using dark woods that had a chocolaty feel to them in terms of colour, I wanted warmth and texture, but I wanted to bring the thought of forests and nature and Autumn into it as well. The pine cone, the fallen leaves, the (fake) mushrooms my son and I made. I wanted it all to look quite homely, yes, rustic, indeed, but also I wanted it to be reminiscent of a child's book, something out of the Redwall series that I tend to re-read every two years. I only wish I had the whole series, as I found these to be the best and most dreamy children's books I have ever read. The food descriptions alone are to die for!
So it is a super chocolaty tart I bring you today, where the crust is made out of a mix of homemade chocolate and hazelnut cookies that have been pulverized and conjoined with butter until they blend and form a pasty kin of dough, and because I didn't quite want the topping of chantilly cream I used to prefer in my late teens, nor did I wish for the caramelized peanut topping I usually add to this particular tart, I went for a scatter of red berries that I had on my freezer, and the tartness of those berries went perfectly with the sweetness of the dough and the fragrance of the chocolate ganache. It is a tart that is quite meant for special occasions, yes, but it is also such an easy recipe to bring together - especially if you use store bought cookies! - that you can whip it up for any last minute needs you may come across.
So here's how you go about bringing it all together...
For the dough:
- half a recipe of chocolate cookies (find it here)
- half a recipe of hazelnut cookies (recipe here)
- 200 gr dark, bitter chocolate
- 1 tsp coffee
- 2 heaped tbsp vanilla sugar (here)
- 200 ml heavy cream
- a knob of butter + 2 tbsp for the dough
- half a cup of mixed berries, fresh or frozen