I follow some food celebrities online for inspiration; none are chefs, all are home cooks. There’s nothing wrong with chefs, I just think that a) you don’t need to go to culinary school to learn how to cook and b) you don’t need to learn how to cook from chefs.
I’ve recently been following Alison Roman, a columnist for the New York Times Cooking section who invents amazing dishes from her city apartment. One of my favorite recipes of hers is the chocolate tahini tart with crunchy salt, from her cookbook Dining In. I actually don’t own the cookbook because she posts so many videos of her recipes on YouTube for free (see the video for this recipe below). I know both tahini and salt are not ingredients you might usually use to make a dessert, but along with dark chocolate, they actually come together like old friends.
One quick note before you head over to the recipe: Use the best dark chocolate you can find (70% cacao content). The main ingredient in this recipe is chocolate, so use a brand that you like to eat on its own. In the US I like Theo Chocolate (I actually used to work for them as a chocolate factory tour guide!) and in Germany I like GEPA. I think they’re the best brands I can buy. Both of these chocolate makers use the strictest Fair Trade standards when purchasing cacao (in an industry wrought with labor abuses) and their chocolate is delicious! Are Theo and GEPA more expensive than conventional chocolate brands? Yes. Can you mix their chocolate with other conventional brands for a more affordable dessert that still tastes great? Absolutely!
Chocolate Tahini Tart with Crunchy Salt
Recipe from Dining In. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman.
Serves: 8 to 10
- ¾ cup (100 gr) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (25 gr) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (30 gr) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 gr) unsalted butter, melted
- 10 ounces (280 gr) dark chocolate, at least 68% cacao, chopped
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) tahini
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- ¼ cup (60 ml) honey
- Flaky or coarse sea salt
MAKE THE CRUST:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
- Butter a 9-inch (22 cm) pan and sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder onto the whole surface.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
MAKE THE FILLING:
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the chocolate, tahini, and salt in a bowl.
- Heat the cream and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, remove it from the heat (do not let it boil) and pour it over the chocolate and tahini. Let it sit for a minute without stirring to melt the chocolate.
- Gently mix until smooth. Take your time, after a minute or two, the mixture should look thick and glossy.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt.
- Stick to a 9-inch (20-22cm) pan. I’ve used larger ones and then found that I didn’t have enough crust to fill the pan! Also, make about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) tall border of crust around the pan so that you can pour all of the filling in, I’ve made my crust too short and had leftover filling. Which, by the way, tastes great on toast the next morning!
- The crust can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and I prefer to make the cake 1 day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. You can make the cake the day you will eat it, just make sure it chills in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.