Merida, the Spanish town where this simple dessert was born, was once a Roman capital sitting just below Portugal. It was also the home of the ancient Monastery of San Isidro de Loriana. It is in the kitchens of this convent that this delicious tart emerged. The isolated town of Loriana and its monastery succumbed to humidity, insects and poverty and basically disappeared by the mid 1600s. Tartas del conventas, however, were embraced by the rest of Spain and different versions survived and a still a favorite dessert to this day.
Chocolate Glazed Puff Pastry Tart
- 2 Baking sheets
- Stand mixer or whisk
- 1½ Packages puff pastry, frozen
- ½ cup Water
- ⅓ cup Granulated sugar
- 3 large Egg, whites only
- A few drops lemon juice
- 1 tsp Powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp Vanilla
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 3 oz Unsweetened chocolate, highest quality
- 10 tbsp Sugar
- 6 tbsp Water
Prepare Puff Pastry
- Defrost puff pastry sheets. On a floured surface roll first one out into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle. Keep other 2 sheets in fridge. Transfer first sheet to a lightly greased cookie sheet and put in refrigerator. Adjust oven rack to top position and preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Do the same routine on the second sheet. Remove first sheet from refrigerator and replace it with the second one. Poke holes all over the first sheet and bake on top rack for 10 minutes, opening it up and poking more holes every 2 minutes. While first sheet is cooking, do same thing with the third sheet, replacing the second one in the fridge. Punch holes all over the second sheet and swap with one in oven when it is browned all over. Put aside to cool. Finish all in the same manner. When cool, trim browned edges on each to get 8 x 13-inch rectangles.
- Put the water and sugar into a saucepan. Boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrup reaches soft ball stage, 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with lemon juice until foamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until eggs are stiff but not dry. Slowly beat in the hot syrup and continue beating for 10 more minutes. Scoop it into a bowl and refrigerate. Clean the bowl and whisk attachment and put in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, remove from freezer and whip the cream. Gently fold it into the cooled egg white mixture.
- Place 1 sheet of the pastry on a large, flat serving dish. Cover evenly with half the cream mixture. Lay the second sheet on top, spread the rest of the cream mixture on top and then cover with the last sheet.
Make Chocolate Glaze
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 2 minutes. In a saucepan, combine 10 tbsp sugar with 6 tbsp water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until it reaches the string stage. Slowly pour melted chocolate into the warm syrup, stirring constantly. Keep warm until ready to use so it doesn't harden.
- Spread the chocolate sauce over the top layer of the tart. With a large thin knife, cut into rectangular pieces and plate.