Decedent Chocolate Brownie Puddle Tart

Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Serves 10 or more

Decedent hardly describes this dessert. It is so chocolaty. So smooth. So nutty (the pecans). And sooooooo delicious.
If you make this, be sure to cut very small slices. It is so rich that no one can eat a big slice of this tart.
The ganache puddles are a wonderful surprise. Try it frozen or chilled if you like your brownies chewy or leave them out at room temperature for a softer, creamier texture.
If you like chocolate, you’ll love this tart. But, if you make it, get the good chocolate. You will not be sorry.

Note: This looks like a long recipe with lots of steps. In reality, it is not hard to make.

Recipe follows.


1 cup pecan pieces or coarsely chopped pecans (about 4 ounces)
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (7 ounces)
3 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, I use Callebaut 60% cocoa but other brands work great too like Lindt Excellence, Ghirardelli Bittersweet or Valrhona Caracque, broken into pieces
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa, preferably fine-quality Dutch-processed (1-3/4 ounces)
1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar (8-3/8 ounces)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 cup all purpose-flour, preferably unbleached (2.5 ounces)
Pinch of salt

Ganache Puddle
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (see above), coarsely chopped
1/3 liquid cup heavy cream, at room temperature (2-3/4 ounces)


To prepare a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan, with removable bottom, grease the bottom, line tart pan with parchment (cut parchment slightly larger than bottom so it rides up the sides thus sealing the tart pan), and then lightly spray the parchment paper and sides of the tart pan with nonstick vegetable spray.
To Make Brownie

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F at least 15 minutes before baking. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven before preheating.
  2. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or just until the color deepens slightly. Cool completely.
  3. In a metal bowl set over sauce pan of barely simmering hot water or in a microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring two or three times.
  4. If using a double boiler, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle.
  5. Beat the cocoa, then the sugar, into the chocolate mixture, beating until incorporated.
  6. Beat in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain.
  8. Add the flour and salt and mix only until the flour is fully moistened.
  9. Stir in the nuts.
  10. Place the prepared tart pan on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil to catch any possible leaks.
  11. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. It will fill the pan almost to the top.
  12. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the batter has set. As a test for doneness, a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the side should come out clean.
  13. The mixture will puff and rise a little above the sides but sinks on cooling.

Make The Ganache for Puddles

  1. While the brownie is baking, prepare the chocolate puddle.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over barely simmering hot water (as above), stirring occasionally, or in a microwave, using 15-second bursts on high power and stirring several times.
  3. Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark. If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture is not entirely smooth), return it to the heat and stir until totally fluid and uniform in color.
  4. As soon as the brownie is removed from the oven, grease the round end of a wooden spoon (1/2-inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie at 1-inch intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as you insert and withdraw it, to create 23 to 28 little holes.
  5. Place a reclosable freezer bag in a large water glass and pour the ganache into the bag.
  6. Seal the top of the bag and cut a very small piece cut off one corner.
  7. Fill the puddle holes with the ganache until slightly rounded on top (you will need at least 1/2 teaspoon for each).
  8. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

Unmold the tart

  1. To remove the parchment, refrigerate the tart or allow it to sit at room temperature until the puddles are firm to the touch.
  2. Cover a flat plate with plastic wrap, spray it lightly with nonstick vegetable spray, and set it on top of the tart.
  3. Invert the tart, peel off the parchment, and reinvert it onto a serving plate or nine-inch cardboard cake round.
  4. To serve, use a thin sharp knife to cut wedges.

To Store

Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container, room temperature, up to 1 week; refrigerated, up to 1 month; frozen, several months.


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