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Chocolate Pistachio Tart

November 24, 2010

Well, as promised, I’ve concocted my own version of the Chocolate Pistachio Tart that I went positively ga-ga over during my visit to Big Cedar Lodge this weekend!

Of course, it’s very seldom that something you try to make for the first time is going to match the original treat you’re trying to mimic… but this is dang good regardless!

Now, before you go gettin’ scared off by the title of this post… let me just say that if I were to see “Chocolate Pistachio Tart” on a menu, I probably wouldn’t order it.  For real!  I LOVE crunching into a good pistachio, but I don’t like the idea of them interrupting a nice, soft, smooth, chocolate tart.  Ya feel me?

And that’s the beauty of these babies.  No hard, crunchy pistachios to be found.  They lend only their distinctive flavor and subtle color because you grind them up and stir them into a shortbread dough that swirls throughout the tart!  The result:  A sweet & salty and completely decadent treat!  And would you believe I actually ate it as part of a Sunday brunch?  Hey… its the holidays!

Just be forwarned.  I don’t use the word “decadent” just to sound fancy.  These are surrriously rich.  Have milk at the ready.  And if you don’t like chocolate… well maybe you oughtta sit this one out.  🙂 

The pistachio crust is a must-try.  And the chocolate tart filling is similar in texture to a baked pudding or mousse.  Very smooth and dense.  And GOOD.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, just scroll all the way down!


Here’s what you need for the soft Pisatchio Shortbread.

-3/4 C. salted, softened butter    -3/4 C. packed brown sugar,    -1 egg,    -1 tsp. vanilla,   

-1 1/2 C. flour,    -1/2 tsp. baking powder,    -1/3 tsp. salt,    -3/4 C. lightly toasted pistacios, ground

And HERE’S what you need for the chocolate tart filling!

-1 C. heavy cream,    -1/2 C. milk (whole or 2% please),    -2 large eggs at room temperature,   

-10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped,    -2 heaping tablespoons of sugar,    -1/4 tsp. salt


NOW then…  Let start with that killer pistachio shortbread!  First things first, prepare your pan.  Here’s a little trick I learned recently.

1) Trace a small sheet of wax paper to fit into an 8×12 baking dish.  2)Butter the pan.  3) Then stick the wax paper to the butter.  4) Then butter the wax paper!  This is a great trick for keeping wax paper from curling up.  It’s also a big help with very liquid-y batters.

Now, pull out a mini food processor and throw in your pistachios.


And grind them very finely.  Like this!


Now set those aside and grab a mixing bowl.  Cream together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar together until well blended.



Then add in the egg and vanilla.


Mix well to incorporate.


Then in a separate small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.


Then add in that rich, buttery pistachio dust!  This is where the money’s at.


Stir to combine.


Now, I don’t want you over-mixing at this point, so just grab a fork or a spoon and gently stir this mixture into the butter/sugar mixture til everything’s all incorporated!

And OF COURSE… Taste.  You must.  I can’t allow you not to.  I know you’ll regret it if you don’t.  This might be the best dough I’ve ever put in my mouth.


Now, the directions say to shape this dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for two hours.   And I kinda did that.


But who has the patience for such things, really?  This method works just fine.


Now for the chocolate.  Set this dough in the fridge to chill out for bit and get out a cutting board and a big ol’ chopping knife.  Nothing wimpy will do.

Unwrap all 10 chocolate squares… and go to town chopping!


Forty five minutes later you should have something resembling this.

Well, maybe not quite that long but I’m only slightly exaggerating.  This is a serious arm-workout.  Chopping ten whole ounces of chocolate is the new Shake Weight, didn’t you hear?  Except you don’t look as lame doing it and its a bit counterproductive in the end.


Now to the stove!  Heat the cream and milk together in a saucepan.


Warm it up just until you see steam and a few bubbles.  No boiling!


Now remove it from the heat and add in every last speck of the chopped chocolate.  Watch and drool as it settles and begins to melt.


Then whisk vigorously til the mixture has turned smooth and glossy.


Next dump in the sugar and salt and whisk again.


In a separate bowl, vigorously beat the eggs and vanilla.  Then add them to the chocolate mixture, whisking to combine.



And that’s the filling!  It’s basically just pure chocolate… if you’re into that sorta thing. 


Go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350 right about now. 


Now its time to pull out your chilled shortbread and press about 3/4 of it into your prepared baking dish.


Now… rip off a sheet of aluminum foil and gently cover the shortbread dough with it.  Fill the foil with dried beans to weight the crust down as it pre-bakes.

Bake it like this at 350 for 14-15 minutes.  At that point, take the crust out, remove the foil and beans…

…and bake again for another 3-5 minutes until the crust is lightly golden but not brown.


At that point… remove it from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325.


Allow the tart crust to cool completely and then SLOWLY and gently pour the tart filling over the crust.  (As you can see, I poured mine in a little too violently and broke through my crust.  Very crushing it was indeed.  I’m over it now though.)


Bake this in a 325 degree oven for 12 minutes (until the tart starts to set up just slightly.) 

In the meantime, use well-floured hands to form the remaining shortbread into thin ropes.  (I was conserving wax paper here by trying to use no more than the half sheet I had cut off earlier when I traced my pan.  You don’t have to make rainbow shapes.)


At the 12-minute-mark, remove the tart from the oven momentarily so that you can lay these strips onto it in a decorative interweaving pattern.  Feel free to get creative here!  I was just trying to copy my memory.


Then just pop it back in for 14-16 more minutes!  Watch for cracks forming in the surface of the tart.  That means it’s becoming over-baked.  But its a delicate balance because you want to make sure the cookie is fully cooked.  14-16 minutes should be just perfect! 


Now, let it cool completely.  Go edit photos like I did.  Or watch your favorite show.  Or do yoga and get ready to ingest some serious chocolate.


When the tart is cool, grab something flat like a cookie sheet.  Lay a sheet of wax paper over it and place both on top of the baking dish like so…


Then take a deep breath and flip it all over to invert the tart out of the pan!  Don’t be scared… we did the wax paper trick, remember?


Remove the glass dish and peel away the wax paper lining.  I’m ashamed to reveal this explosion of tart that broke through my crust, but I know you all understand this was experimentation!  I just got too eager with my filling.  You won’t make the same mistakes I did 🙂



Now, use a big, sharp knife to cut the delicate tart into small squares.  A little of this stuff goes a LONG way.


Invert these back onto a serving dish carefully.  And pardon my chocolately smudges.


I may have intentionally messed up a few of these in the process so they’d just have to be eaten.  And yes, it may have been past midnight and my husband may have already gone to bed.  What’s it to ya?



Enjoy these everyone!  And Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here’s the printable if you want to try them yourself:


Carissa’s Chocolate Pistachio Tart


Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Crust & Swirl

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened + 1 T. shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar – packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
  • ½  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup lightly toasted pistachios – ground
  1. Cream together the softened butter, shortening, and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix in the ground pistachios.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.
  5. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to chill.
  6. While the dough chills, mix the filling as directed below.


    7.    Preheat oven to 350.

    8.    Line an 8×12 glass baking dish with parchment paper, butter the parchment and with clean, floured hands press ¾ of the dough into the bottom to form a thin crust.

    9.    Lay a sheet of foil over the shortbread crust and weight down with dried beans.

    10.    Bake for 14-15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights.

    11.    Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 3-5 minutes until the crust is lightly golden, but not brown.  

    12.    Set aside to cool and lower the oven temperature to 325.


Chocolate Tart Filling  (Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence)


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature


13.    To make the filling: Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium-low flame, until it simmers slightly

          around the edges.

14.    Remove from the heat; add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smoothed out.

15.    Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated.

16.    Beat the eggs with vanilla in a small bowl until blended and whisk into the chocolate mixture.

17.    Gently and slowly pour the filling onto the cooled tart crust and bake at 325 for 12 minutes (til the tart appears 

           to have solidified a bit.) 

18.    In the meantime, with floured hands, roll out long, thin, ropes of pistachio shortbread with the remaining dough.

19.    At the 12-minute mark, take the tart out of the oven and lay the ropes of pistachio shortbread in an interweaving

          pattern across the top.

20.    Let the tart bake 14-16 more minutes until the filling is set and the shortbread is baked. If you see cracks forming

          on the surface, take the tart out right away – that means it is beginning to become over-baked.

21.    Allow the tart to cool completely.  Then turn it out onto a sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface.  Cut into

          small squares.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2010 10:51 am

    Wow, delicious!

  2. December 12, 2010 9:10 pm

    Thank you! It really was! Probably my husband’s and my new favorite chocolate dessert.


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