Strawberry and Chocolate Ganache Tart

Several months ago, I caught an episode of Martha Stewart's show where Martha and a guest were making tarts. The process appeared to be time-consuming and unnecessarily difficult (i.e. the butter had to stay super cold, the dough could not be over-processed, etc.), but the tart pan looked so cute with its floofy little edges and such that I figured I could weather the challenge and make one. A few weeks after that, a random trip to Marshall's led me to a $10 tart pan (seriously, check them out for affordable kitchen goodies--I always find something amazing for my recipes there!). And finally, last week marked the end of the school year for me, giving me the free time needed to bake. Which brings us to the strawberry and chocolate ganache tart!

Now, most tarts are fruit-based, but I was not about to sacrifice my chocolate addiction in the interests of recipe purity (or, you know, health), so I found a gorgeous recipe for a chocolate cherry tart here: http://hotpolkadot.com/2011/06/09/thick-as-thieves/. I had to modify the recipe slightly because 1) I could not find hazelnuts in my grocery store and 2) my husband hates cherries. So, I substituted almonds (for consistency) with a spoonful of Nutella (for flavor) to replace the hazelnuts and strawberries for the cherries. Here were my ingredients:

First, you make the tart shell. The shell is the annoying (and time-consuming) part of this recipe, but I promise it will be worth it!

Shell--Phase One (because tart-making is not a one-phase affair!):
-Cut 1 stick (or 1/2 cup) and 1 tbs of butter into pieces and place in freezer
-Grind 1/4 cup almonds with 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a food processor 
-Add 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 1/4 tsp salt and pulse together until mixed
-Add in frozen butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs
-Add in a tbs of Nutella and one egg and pulse until the mixture begins to come together
-Remove from food processor, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least two hours

Shell--Phase Two:
-Remove tart dough from refrigerator and let it sit out for 10-15 minutes. You want it cold, but working with the dough immediately is like trying to flatten a rock. 
-While waiting, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, cut two sheets of wax paper, and get out your tart pan and rolling pin. Butter your tart pan or spray it with a non-stick spray to prevent sticking.
-Once the waiting period is up, unwrap your dough and place it between the two pieces of wax paper. You want to roll the dough out so that it is about 15" in diameter, and keeping it in between the pieces of wax paper will keep it from sticking!
-When finished, remove the top sheet of wax paper, and do your best to center the tart dough above the tart pan. Place the dough inside the tart pan, pushing the dough into the corners and CAREFULLY removing the remaining piece of wax paper. The dough will have warmed up a bit here, and I know I caught myself swearing at it at least twice while attempting to keep the dough in one piece, but if you are patient, you will have a lovely soon-to-be shell when finished!
-Fold excess dough back along the edge of the tart pan to form a double crust, PIERCE THE DOUGH with a fork in several places to keep it from rising, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. When done, it should look something like this:

Shell--Phase Three (the easiest one!):
-Butter or spray a sheet of aluminum foil and fit it snugly inside of the tart pan, making sure to cover the entire shell.
-Bake in the 375 degree oven for 20 minutes with the foil on
-Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes
-When finished, remove the pan from the oven and set it on a cooling rack (I also put my cooling rack with the tart pan into the refrigerator, since I wanted it to cool a bit faster)

And finally, the filling--the easiest and best part of the whole recipe. You can do a lot of the prep work for this while your tart is cooking/cooling:
-Chop up 8 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate (Ghiradelli is amazing, but Baker's is more affordable and still tasty). Pour into a heat-proof bowl and let it sit.
-Mix 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 2 tbs of butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
-Remove the cream and butter from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
-Whisk the chocolate into the warm cream after the 5 minutes are up. Congrats! You have made your ganache, which should resemble an especially shiny chocolate pudding. Wasn't that insanely easy after all that shell nonsense?
-Pour the ganache into the COOLED chocolate tart shell and decorate with fruit of your choosing (you can also dust with powdered sugar or cocoa powder).

To conclude: is the shell a royal pain in the rear end? Absolutely. But is it worth the first bite of chocolate decadence and fresh summer berries? Absolutely. Enjoy!

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