Kitchen Mailbox: Chocolate treats for the sweet people in your life


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Chocolate lovers, these recipes are for you!

The Easy Ganache Tart is, well, easy. All that's needed for this recipe is a pie crust, chocolate and heavy whipping cream. I made the pie crust from scratch, but you could make it even easier by using a store-bought pie crust.

No one will know that the Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie is low-fat and low-calorie -- the chocolate crust and creamy filling tastes exactly like the full-fat and high-calorie recipes. Fresh cherries are used as a garnish along with fat-free whipped topping (I used fresh raspberries instead).

My soon-to-be-13-year-old granddaughter, Ashley, asked if I would make her a chocolate dessert for Valentine's day. How do you deny any request from a little girl who's not so little anymore? Of course I said yes. What she doesn't know is that she'll have two chocolate desserts for Valentine's Day.

EASY GANACHE TART

PG tested

I threw this tart together using my go-to-recipe for tart dough from the "Joy of Cooking" cookbook.

For the tart

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened

2 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the filling

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place flour and salt in a food processor; process about 10 seconds. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream over the flour mixture (1 tablespoon at a time). Process until the crumbs look damp and hold together when pinched. Pat the dough evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom. Prick the sides and bottom with a fork. Bake about 18 to 22 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely on a rack.

Place the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl and set aside. Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl; heat on high about 50 seconds or until the cream is hot. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour over pie crust. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

-- Arlene Burnett

RICH CHOCOLATE PUDDING PIE

For the crust

30 chocolate wafers (I used Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil

For the filling

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1¾ cups 1-percent low-fat milk

2 large egg yolks

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon white rum or vanilla extract

10 tablespoons fat-free whipped topping

Place wafers in a food processor; process until finely ground. Add the melted chocolate and oil; process until blended. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes or until set.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a large saucepan; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add half of the milk and the 2 yolks; stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in rum or vanilla. Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 4 hours or until set. Serve with raspberries and whipped topping.

Serves 10.

-- "Cooking Light The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook" by Cooking Light Magazine (Oxmoor House, 2012, $24.95)


To request a recipe or send a recipe or question to Kitchen Mailbox, write the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222 or aburnett@post-gazette.com.

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