Chocolate Tart and Cookbook Review – From Scratch by Michael Ruhlman

slice of chocolate tart

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I received a copy of From Scratch by Michael Ruhlman at no charge as part of the Abrams Dinner Party. All opinions are my own. The Chocolate Tart recipe below is from the cookbook. Be sure to also check out how I made chicken noodle soup from scratch in celebration of the cookbook’s release.

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From Scratch

About From Scratch:

An indispensable new cookbook from James Beard Award-winning food writer Michael Ruhlman 

From Scratch looks at 10 favorite meals, including roast chicken, the perfect omelet, and paella—and then, through 175 recipes, explores myriad alternate pathways that the kitchen invites. A delicious lasagna can be ready in about an hour, or you could turn it into a project: try making and adding some homemade sausage. Explore the limits of from-scratch cooking: make your own pasta, grow your own tomatoes, and make your own homemade mozzarella and ricotta. Ruhlman tells you how.

There are easy and more complex versions for most dishes, vegetarian options, side dishes, sub-dishes, and strategies for leftovers. Ruhlman reflects on the ways that cooking from scratch brings people together, how it can calm the nerves and focus the mind, and how it nourishes us, body and soul.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

About the Author:

Michael Ruhlman is the author of critically acclaimed books including GroceryThe Soul of a ChefThe Elements of CookingRatio, and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He has collaborated on several bestselling cookbooks, including The French Laundry CookbookBouchon, and Alinea. He divides his time between Providence, Rhode Island, and New York City.

My Opinion:

This is not a typical cookbook where you open it up and find a section on appetizers, soups, main dishes and desserts. Instead Chef Ruhlman takes 10 popular meals and shows you the steps to making them from scratch so as to appreciate and learn about the food you eat. For example, he shows how to make lasagna – make the cheese, sauce and pasta and then construct the lasagna. Along the way the skills you pick up will stand you well for other dishes you might want to make.

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Another example he offers is how to roast a perfect chicken. Then he shows how to make overnight chicken stock. That stock then offers you a myriad of opportunities for further meals. Learning to cook is a building block of skills and then using those skills in different recipes.

I have been cooking for a long while now. I thankfully have a real instinct for it but I know a lot of people just don’t. This cookbook is perfect for someone who needs a kickstart to cooking. It’s also a delight for experienced cooks who want to go the extra mile for a meal. I really enjoyed reading the stories in advance of each chapter.

The tart I showcase below uses two of the basic recipes he highlights in the book; basic tart dough and chocolate ganache. Both are very useful for many a dessert; the dough works for savory tarts/pies too if you just remove the sugar. Do not be afraid of making pie – it is not hard. Just remember to handle the dough as little as is necessary.

Cooking should be fun and this book let’s you explore good, basic food from its origins in a truly fun way.

chocolate tart recipe

Chocolate Tart 

Serves 8 to 10

For the Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into large pieces
  • 4 TBS ice water

For the Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or bittersweet chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other flavoring
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • grated zest of two oranges


Make the Crust

make tart crust

  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar and pinch of salt.
  • Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or using your fingers mix butter until the mixture resembles sand with pea sized chunks.
  • Add just enough ice water to bring the dough together.
  • Form the dough into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and for up to two days.
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Roll the dough large enough to fit a tart pan. Trim to fit. Cover with parchment and fill with pie weights/beans/rice.
  • Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes
  • Remove the parchment and pie weights/beans/rice, poke the bottom of the tart with a fork and return to the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven, but keep the oven on.
  • White the shell is baking make the filling: combine the half and half and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

make tart filling

  • Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Pour the half and half mixture over top and let sit for a minute or two. Whisk to blend the chocolate and dairy.
  • In a second bowl combine the sugar, egg and Grand Marnier if using and whisk to combine.
  • Whisk this mixture into the chocolate and then add the butter, whisking until dissolved.
  • When the butter has melted, stir and add the zest from one orange.

fill tart shell with chocolate filling

  • Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell and bake for 20 minutes.

baked chocolate tart

  • Allow the tart to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

chocolate tart recipe

  • Serve cold or at room temperature. Decorate with the remaining orange zest and sprinkle with sea salt, gold foil stars and other decor if desired

How Was the Chocolate Tart?

Delicious. The crust was flaky, the filling rich with a wonderful orange flavor. A little bit goes a long way so you don’t need a lot of this to really enjoy the beauty of this tart. I felt that it needed something to temper the dark chocolate so I made some homemade whipped cream and that was, at least to me, just perfect.

slice of chocolate tart

I would note that I didn’t have a true tart pan when I made this, I really had more of a quiche pan. Since making this tart I have rectified this situation so the next tart I make won’t give me the same issues with “wall fall.”

Be sure to check out all of the other delicious chocolate recipes from Choctoberfest 2019

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