1 cup (110 grams) pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped into pieces
14 tablespoons (200 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces (85 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (preferably a good quality chocolate like Lindt, Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, etc. (chopped into small pieces)
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 ounces (85 grams) regular cream cheese, cut into pieces (do not use low fat varieties)
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (60 grams) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop into pieces.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Grease, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chopped chocolate. When the chocolate has melted transfer the mixture to a larger bowl.
Beat in (I use a hand mixer) the cocoa, then the sugar, into the chocolate mixture, until incorporated. (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then beat in the cream cheese, until small pieces remain. Add the flour and salt and mix by hand just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the nuts.
Place the tart pan onto a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Pour the batter into the tart pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. The batter will fill the pan almost to the top.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the batter has set. If you insert a toothpick about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the edge of the pan it should come out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, with the end of a wooden spoon (1/2 inch diameter) (1.25 cm) that is well greased (I spray it with Pam), make holes (spacing them evenly about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart) into the top of the brownie tart. As you insert the end of the wooden spoon into the tart twist the spoon to prevent the tart from tearing. You should have about 25-30 small holes. Then, with a small spoon fill the holes with the ganache. The ganache will sink as it cools so add more ganache, as needed. Let the tart cool completely and then cover and refrigerate. It is best to make this tart the day before serving to allow the flavors to blend. This tart will keep in the refrigerator for about two to three weeks.
While the tart is baking make the Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Makes 1 - 9 inch tart.
This Brownie Tart has a deep chocolate flavor with a nice fudgy texture. Its chocolate flavor comes from using both semi sweet and cocoa powder and its flavor is highlighted by the addition of cream cheese. It also has a nice crunch which comes from pieces of toasted pecans. But the most unique and striking part of this tart is the addition of polka dots of ganache that cover the surface of the tart. This recipe definitely takes the brownie out of the realm of casual food and makes it an elegant dessert.
After receiving a review copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Pie and Pastry Bible', this is one of the recipes I decided to make. The Brownie Tart recipe is unusual in that we not only get to enjoy a dense and moist chocolate brownie but we also get to bite into delicious pockets of creamy ganache. Now, I know that making these ganache dots does take a little work as we have to make small holes into the brownie tart after it is baked and then pour in the ganache. But I think the work is worth it as it tastes delicious and looks stunning. However, if you do not want to do this step, you could simply pour, or even drizzle, the ganache in an even layer over the top of the tart once it has cooled. It will still look and taste great. This dessert will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or it can be frozen. As always, be sure to use a good quality semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate for both the brownie and the ganache.