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  • Writer's pictureHeather Moll

Georgian Chocolate Tart

If you've ever looked at Georgian-era cookbooks, there aren't a ton of chocolate desserts. Lots of things with fruits, almonds, honey, sugar, but very little chocolate. Chocolate was more bitter than the Hershey bars you snack on now, and it was usually made into a hot chocolate drink to be had with breakfast with either cream or milk, and then sweetened.

After our Regency mac and cheese adventure with my young helper, I wanted to pick something that I knew he would like, and I found this chocolate tart recipe through The Regency Cook from Hannah Glasse's cookbook from 1747 and thought, "He'll definitely eat this"!

Paul Coachman of the Regency Cook adapts the recipe with a shortcrust pastry, pinch of salt, 4 egg yolks, a Tbs of flour, a Tbs of milk, 2 cups of heavy cream, 3 Tbs sugar, and 7 ounces of %70 cocoa solid chocolate.

Leaving aside the idea that one is just supposed to know how to make a shortbread crust off the top of their head, I thought we could do this. I found a simple recipe of flour, powdered sugar, and butter, and then helper and I were off to the races.

My helper likes to crack eggs (although he insists on washing his hands between every. single. egg.) but he's not the best at separating them. So I did that and he added the salt, milk, and the flour, and then I whisked everything together. "I'll come back and help with the chocolate."

He was a little disappointed when he saw the unsweetened baking chocolate. "Is that the chocolate that doesn't taste good?" he asked, recalling an incident where he snuck into the pantry to steal what he thought was a candy bar and was sorely disappointed. Still, he dumped it the broken pieces, and ran off, leaving me to add the sugar and stir.

Now I was alone at the stove, stirring in the chocolate, and then tempering the eggs to make a thick custard. That cooled to room temperature, and then I filled the pie crust. The recipe is for 12 small tarts or one large one and to cook it for half an hour. I don't know who has 12 small tart pans, but I don't even have one large tart pan and used a pie pan. It'll be fine. It's a chocolate pie, how bad could it be?

Apparently, if you're making one giant pie, it needs longer than 30 minutes the adapted recipe said. So I had to follow the original and cook it "when it is enough". It was more like 50 minutes before it was light brown and cracked on top, and not liquid-y looking. I think it needed a little longer, but the crust was beginning to burn.

Kiddo was excited about the chocolate tart...until he ate it. "It' too sour or something. I don't like it." He's right that it isn't as sweet as you might expect a modern chocolate dessert to be, but my husband loved it. He's not a sweets fan (I know!) and he thought it was perfect. At least he'll eat it.

Should we continue with more cooking adventures? What should we try next? Main dish, dessert, bread?

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