Rhody Recipe: Chocolate Almond Tart

Local maple syrup from Rhode Island tappers adds richness to this holiday pie

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The sweet, almost caramelized quality of this elegant dessert is reminiscent of pecan pie, but those flavors are just the beginning. Using almonds instead of pecans, this Chocolate Almond Tart features roasted cocoa that melts in your mouth and a flakey, buttery pie crust. Red sanding sugar and careful lattice work create its signature candy cane look. Prepare the day before and wow your holiday guests with this stunning labor of love.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND TART

Pie Crust

• 2 ½ cups all-purpose white flour

• 1 tsp table salt

• 1 tsp granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup ice water

• 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

• 1/2 cup red sanding sugar

• 1 egg, whisked for egg wash

Tart Filling

• 3/4 cup chocolate chips (any kind except white)

• 1 tsp cocoa powder

• 3 Tbsp unsalted butter

• 2/3 cup granulated sugar

• 1 cup maple syrup

• 3 eggs

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 1 cup almonds, rough chopped

Steps

1. Add flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor or blender. Slowly add cold pieces of butter and blend until coarse; then add ice water, about a tablespoon at a time. Press dough into a flat ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

2. For the filling (best prepared about 30 minutes before building the pie), preheat oven to 200ºF. In a glass oven-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, bring the maple syrup and sugar to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Whisk the eggs in a bowl; then add the melted chocolate butter mixture and syrup. Blend thoroughly, add almonds, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract, and set aside to cool.

4. Transfer the cooled dough from the refrigerator to a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough circle in half. Roll out one half into a 13x13” circle (or to fit in your tart shell). Cover the shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

5. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Roll out the second half of dough on a floured baking surface, less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1/2 inch-wide strips.

6. Whisk one egg in a bowl and egg wash a single strip. Sprinkle with red sanding sugar. Strips should alternate between red and plain dough. Only red strips require egg wash so the sprinkles stick.

7. Working on parchment paper, lay the strips, every other red and plain, with a 1/2 inch-space between each, until you have a surface of about 13 inches. Do the same thing in the opposite direction, except weave the dough under/over the previously laid dough. When finished, adjust the strips to ensure there are no spaces in the pattern.

8. Transfer the parchment sheet of lattice to a flat baking sheet and cool in the freezer for about 8 minutes. Remove pie crust from fridge and fill with the prepared chocolate almond mixture. Once the lattice is cool, position the parchment paper directly next to the tart. Carefully slide your hand under the middle of the lattice and lift, transferring to the top of the pie. Trim the edges.

9. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350ºF and bake for about 25 minutes more, until edges are golden. Allow the tart to cool to room temp before cutting, and enjoy!

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