Few things in life are comparable to the sense of hopeful delight felt before a first date. It’s like waking up to a snow day. Everything is fresh and clean, with the possibility of adventure waiting right outside your door. And there’s always that thought, “Maybe this guy is the one.”

Oh the anticipation! What should I wear? Should I hold his hand? Do we go Dutch on dinner? Time seems to slow as you wait for him to ring the doorbell. But then, he arrives and everything is new and wonderful.

I felt this same giddiness while making my truffle tart on Saturday. I chose my chocolate with care as if it were a new dress. This also involved the ritual “back and forth” between choices (Ghiradelli or Hageland? 53% cocoa or 60%). Once the particulars were decided, I began the prep work. Melting down the butter and chocolate, giving it as much attention as the perfect “smoky” eye look. Mixing my chocolate into the batter made from flour, eggs, vanilla extract and cream, hoping I had taken every element into consideration. This was quite a date after all. A one half pound of chocolate kind of date.

But I needn’t have worried. This decadent dessert was all class. Easy to prepare, content with a crust made from store brand cookies rather than fancy Nabisco wafers, smooth but not too sweet and even better during the second date the following day. If truffle tart were a boy, he would have driven a BMW, brought roses and given me a kiss goodnight as soft as the whisper I heard when my spatula moved against the metal mixing bowl.

Prepare to fall the moment you take that first bite.


Chocolate truffle tart
I found this recipe, originally published in Gourmet Magazine, on Orangette. It is a breeze to cook and will make you skip about the kitchen in chocolaty glee. A tip: make sure when garnishing your tart with cocoa powder that you dust rather than douse. Birthday girl Leah experienced a mild choking attack while relishing in her first bite. Not exactly the reaction I was looking for, but after recovering she assured me that the tart was “Oh my God, amazing.”

For the crust:
28 chocolate wafers or 3 cups small, chocolate cookies
3/4 stick (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely

For the filling:
1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more that 60% cocoa)
3/4 stick (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For garnish:
Unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350. Wrap a sheet of foil over the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan (you can use 9 inch too). Lightly butter side of pan.

Grind your wafers/cookies in either a food processor or a gallon sized Ziploc bag. If you go the bag route, just smash it about with a cleaver. Just as good as a food processor and it cures stress!

Stir together ground cookies and butter in a bowl until combined, then pat the mixture evenly onto the bottom of pan and 1 1/2 inches up the side. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is slightly puffed. Cool completely in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

Melt chocolate and remaining butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. When done, remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk chocolate mixture into eggs mixture until combined well.

Pour filling into cooled crust and rap pan once to get rid of any lingering air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until filling 1 inch from edge is set and slightly puffed, but center trembles slightly when pan is gently shaken. (Sounds confusing but is actually an accurate description!)

Cool tart completely in pan on a rack for 2 hours. Chill, uncovered (to prevent condensation), until center is firm, about 4 hours. However, if you have a party to attend and cannot wait 4 hours for your tart, simply pack it, uncovered, in a cooler bag with a few ice packs.

Remove side of pan and sprinkle with cocoa to serve.

Gourmet’s notes:
Tart can be chilled up to 3 days. Cover loosely after tart is completely chilled. Crust, without filling can be mad up to 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Yield ~ 10 servings