Molten Chocolate Tart is the ultimate in chocolate – a warm, baked-to-order individual hot souffle-like mousse with a crackled, brownie-like exterior enclosing a molten chocolate center. This dessert is so good, so essence-of-chocolate, that it evokes the timeless chocolate puddings, moist cakes and warm souffle that linger in memory. Molten Chocolate Tart is the creation of the amply gifted Thomas Keller, whose restaurant, French Laundry, in Napa Valley, California.
Though Keller calls it a tart, it has no crust. The baking dishes are frozen before they go into the oven, so the dessert comes out creamy. It should be baked just before serving. The recipe has been adapted slightly for the home kitchen. Keller serves his dessert with a cool pear puree and vanilla ice cream. I like to accompany it with either a small scoop of ice cream or a spoonful of cool vanilla-scented whipped cream.
Recipe and comments from the cookbook Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes From Around the World, by Richard Sax.
Please check out my seven-course Butter-Poached Lobster Tails dinner menu which includes this fabulous Molten Chocolate Tart.
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (best quality), finely chopped
- 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick or cube plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Vanilla ice cream or vanilla-flavored whipped cream (for serving)
Place the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a saucepan of hot water over low heat (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts; remove from the heat. Learn different techniques for How To Melt Chocolate.
When the chocolate is smooth, stir in the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder and cocoa. Beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and has a thick, mousse-like consistency, about 5 minutes.
Fill the ramekins 1/2 full and cover each with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 3 hours. NOTE: The ramekins can be filled and frozen up to 3 days in advance.
Just before serving time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place oven rack in the center of the oven.
Bake the cold desserts until the outer edges of the tops are set, but the centers are still moist and shiny, usually 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from oven.
To serve, invert each hot portion onto a serving plate and serve warm, with a small scoop of the vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of vanilla-flavored whipped cream. Alternately, serve directly from the ramekins.
Makes 6 servings.