Chocolate Espresso Hazelnut Tart

I wish I could say that I had the privilege to eat this tart all throughout my youth. I’d tell you about all the countless celebrations and gatherings we had, when I was a child, where I would eat a slice or two or three of this incredible dessert. It would be the centerpiece of all our parties and everyone would talk about it for days on end. We’d be the toast of the town and the kids in the neighborhood would be jealous of me because I got to enjoy this tart all the time. Like everyday, all the time. I wish I could say that this here tart was the very essence of my childhood existence. This chocolate espresso hazelnut tart in particular is what made me a chocolate lover from way back when. The sad thing is that I can’t say any of those things. I can’t share those stories with you. I can’t even say I knew what a chocolate espresso hazelnut tart was. I was oblivious as a kid. If it wasn’t in the form of chocolate chip cookies, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I didn’t really eat this tart growing up, what can I say? I was deprived as a child of life’s wonderful chocolatey pleasures. But not really because I still had other delicious desserts. See? I just saved myself from my mother’s wrath. I’m sure she’ll read this and say “You WERE NOT deprived as a child!” Okay so I wasn’t deprived. I’m sure I still enjoyed countless of chocolate desserts as a kid. I don’t recall this, but let’s just say I did for argument’s sake and my mother’s sake. The point is I didn’t have this chocolate dessert and that makes me sad. You should feel sad for me right now. Feel sad for yourself, while you’re at it, because maybe you didn’t have this chocolate espresso hazelnut tart either. What kind of lives were we living? Okay now that the feeling sad moment has passed, let’s not be sad anymore because the most important thing is that I finally did experience this delicious treat when I grew older and now you can too.

I won’t fill you in on all the boring details as to how I finally came across one of the most delicious chocolate desserts I’ve ever made and ate. That’s not important. I won’t tell you about how my eyes were opened and now there’s no point in eating any other chocolate tart after this one. You’ll see that for yourself. I will tell you that now you can make this tart all the time and have it be the centerpiece of all your celebrations and gatherings and parties. You can tell me about all the occasions you had where you ate a piece or two or three of this delicious dessert. Tell me about how so many people talk about this chocolate treat for days on end. People can now be jealous of you. It can be the very essence of your adulthood existence. This here chocolate espresso hazelnut tart, in particular, can be what has made you a chocolate lover, if you weren’t already one. Now, doesn’t that sound wonderful? All that power one little (okay big) chocolate tart has. If that doesn’t convince you to make it, I don’t know what will my friends. I don’t know what will.

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Mixed Berry Tart

Birthdays come once a year. Along with this joyous day of birth, brings with it all sorts of festivities. Parties filled with people. Parties filled with music. Parties filled with games. Parties filled with decorations. Parties filled with booze. Parties filled with food. But most importantly, parties filled with cake. As we get older we no longer look forward to extravagant get togethers with obscene amounts of gifts. The big things do not matter to us anymore. Rather we take comfort in the little things. The loved ones that surround us. The hugs and kisses we receive. We take solace in the good times and memories we create, instead of the number of presents on the table. The tearing of beautiful paper that hugs the packages, just isn’t important anymore. Good food, wine, company and laughs are all we need. In fact there are even some instances, a year here and there, in which we might forget that our birthday is near. We overlook the idea of our special day on the horizon. As if by not keeping track of this day will make the prospect of us getting older any less realistic. No, ignoring it will not work. Pushing it off and out of our minds, will not turn back the hands of time. We won’t get any younger by denying the day, no matter how many times we pretend to be a certain age.

Once we lose the fascination of presents, cake takes over and becomes our main priority. Delicious cake, high towards the sky, is what excites us about our day. As our age grows in number, the candles start to dwindle. No longer is it fun to put the exact amount of candles on the cake. Covering it with a vast array of dancing flames, with which illuminate are eager faces. Perhaps it’s because lighting that many candles takes too long? Maybe we do not want to buy that many candles? It could also be because lighting one sole candle is so much easier and less dangerous. You can put that fire extinguisher down and put away the rest of the candles, as one is more than enough for me these days. Whatever the case may be, that edible centerpiece is now the most important aspect of the celebration, when it comes to birthdays. It’s our day and therefore we have the right to indulge in a piece-or two-of cake. And why shouldn’t we?

Age is just a number and we cannot look to it to define us. We’re not getting older, we’re just getting seasoned. Look onto those youngins and be content in knowing that we have that many more years of knowledge ahead of them. Many more years of experience and life lessons that have taught us oh so much, than they do. In fact, feel sorry for them. Feel sorry because they are not at your age. You got to an age that has taught you so much. Sure we might complain, every so often, that we’re getting old and dreading our next birthday. But what you have to remember is that no matter how old you turn, there will always be someone who is older than you. There will always be someone who you cannot compete with. And that someone-or something I should say-is America. Yes, we forgot about the little detail that America has a birthday too. America does not need any presents. It does not look for or expect birthday cards and balloons. But what it does need. What it does deserve, is cake. But oh no, a regular cake will not suffice. An plain and ordinary vanilla or chocolate cake will not do. America deserves something special. Something fantastic and delicious. It needs to have a triple berry tart. A tart topped with ridiculous amounts of strawberries and blueberries and raspberries. Fresh berries. Fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries and fresh raspberries. Delicious berries. While you’re at it, put a candle on it and let’s sing Happy Birthday to the United States. If getting older requires a fake age, then America definitely needs one. Happy 236th Birthday America. Thanks for all the good times and happy memories. I will however, not thank you for the hot weather and treacherous sun, of whom I hate so much with a passion. But that’s another story, America. Another story for another time. This time you shall enjoy your mixed berry tart in peace.

This tart plays out in four acts.

The first act is to make the pastry cream.

The second act is to make the tart shell.

The third act is to make the yellow cake.

And the final act is to decorate with fresh berries. Queue fireworks. Drop the banners. Wave the flags.

Let’s start with numero uno.

Here is what we’ll need….

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