Chocolate, Orange, and Shortbread
At its heart, this dessert is simply a dark chocolate custard in a shortbread crust, but thanks to a few special ingredients, it is anything but humdrum.
The best pastry shells are made with real butter, for they not only impart exemplary flavor, they also chill beautifully, resulting in slices of tart that can be picked up and eaten like a piece of pizza without falling apart.
Sometimes pastry can be daunting with the thought of cutting in the butter just right and making sure it’s chilled properly so it bakes well. Thankfully, this recipe takes all the fuss out of pastry-making as it is made with melted butter and requires no cutting in or chilling.
It’s also extra special because it’s flavored with ground cinnamon and fresh orange zest so it doesn’t take a back seat to the luscious filling but stands there proudly next to it, bringing its own unique texture, flavor, and fragrance to the party.
The filling of this chocolate orange tart is silky smooth and not too sweet with the heady scent of fresh orange zest permeating throughout. I use a dark cocoa for this one; the bitterness of the chocolate is a far better match for the sprightly orange zest than mild cocoa. I mix it with heavy cream, whisking them together over the stove until smooth and hot before adding orange zest and pure vanilla to infuse while the crust pre-bakes.
If you like chocolate but not citrus, you could also try something spicy like cinnamon or ginger, fold in some finely chopped cherries soaked in rum, or sprinkle fresh raspberries over the top after it has been baked and cooled.
If chocolate really isn’t your thing, we have myriad options to choose from like our Maple Mixed Nut and Seed Tarts or divine Cranberry Macadamia Nut Tart with jewel-like fresh cranberries nestled with buttery macadamia nuts in a caramelized sauce.
Tart and Tea Pairings
This chocolate orange tart can be served warm or cold, and it goes nicely with a strong black tea. Try a slice with our Brunch in Paris Black Tea, which echoes the chocolate and orange theme, Chocolate Hazelnut Chai with nutty flavors that balance the dark chocolate, or Snowy Mountain Black Tea with smooth chestnut and sweet macaroon flavors.
Make It a Party
With a dessert like a chocolate orange tart, it’s easy to envision a full-blown dessert tea party with a tray of various teas to choose from and a buffet table lined with such delicious offerings as our Old Fashioned Strawberry Buckle Cake, Coconut Cherry Macaroons, or zesty Coconut Lime Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling.
Chocolate Orange Tart with Shortbread Crust
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup white flour
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Zest of one orange
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- Zest of one orange
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Mix together melted butter, orange zest, and orange extract. Set aside.
Stir together flour and cinnamon. Add to melted butter mixture.
Press evenly in bottom and sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
While crust is baking, place cocoa powder, heavy cream, and sugar together in saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest and vanilla extract.
Just before crust is done, whisk egg into hot chocolate mixture.
Remove crust from oven, but leave oven on. Carefully pour chocolate mixture into tart shell and return to oven.
Turn oven off, and leave tart to set until oven is cool, about 10 minutes.
Let sit for 15-20 minutes and serve warm or cold.