• 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tb. sugar
  • 3 Tb. Valrhona cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 5 Tb. unsalted butter, cold, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • Filling:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted, topping
  • Espresso Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tb. confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tb. instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Procedure
  • 1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder in a processor and pulse several times. Add the butter and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and pulse until dough comes together. Remove from the processor and form into a disk, wrap and chill for one hour.
  • 2. Butter the bottom and sides of a nine inch tart pan. Roll out the dough to a 11 inch circle. Fit into the pan and press into the sides leaving a 1/2 inch of the dough to hang over the sides. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Chill one hour.
  • 3. Heat the oven to 375. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes until well browned. Cool completely.
  • 4. In a medium saucepan bring the cream, milk and sugar to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted. Let cool to lukewarm and whisk in the egg until blended.
  • 5. Pour the custard into the shell and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until almost set. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  • 6. Meanwhile, beat the cream in a cold bowl until slightly thickened. Add the sugar, espresso powder and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Transfer to a serving dish.
  • 7. Sift the cocoa powder over the top of the tart and serve warm or at room temperature with the espresso cream.
Valentines Day is this week and of course what we want is chocolate! How did it ever come to be that chocolate is associated with love, romance and passion? Well I looked into it and there is a long history behind this now accepted belief that chocolate is the lovers food of choice.
What some scientists have discovered is that contrary to the belief that mood enhancing chemicals are present in chocolate;  “An alternative explanation is that the effects of eating chocolate are psychological – the unique combination of aroma, texture and taste makes eating chocolate a pleasurable experience that stimulates the emotional ‘feel-good’ centres of the brain. In short, the chocolate tastes good, so we feel good.”

Here is yet another point of view from a writer who researches natural medicines from all over the world: “Chocolate gets right to the heart of sexual pleasure by increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Serotonin plays a major role in positive mood, emotional health, proper sleep and balanced appetite, contributing to numerous behavioral and physiological functions. Decreased serotonin is a well-known factor in cases of depression. Increased brain serotonin promoted by chocolate increases sexual excitation, desire and responsiveness. Women have more serotonin in their systems than men and appear to be more sensitive to chocolate. Chocolate provides a mood boost to women during PMS and menstruation, when serotonin levels are often down. It also puts women in the mood for love.”

Whatever the case may be, for me, chocolate is the only reason for Valentines Day or for dessert for that matter and here is a great recipe to share with you so you can enjoy both!

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