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Chocolate and Anise "Champurrado" Tart

Home » Recipes » Chocolate and Anise "Champurrado" Tart

Chocolate and Anise "Champurrado" Tart

For the Tart:
½ cup masa harina
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg, well beaten
1 T water
2 T brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 cup milk
½ cup crema mexicana or other type of thick cream
4 oz dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), chopped up small
½ vanilla bean
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 T aniseed

Sift together the salt, sugar, and flours. Make sure there are no clumps of brown sugar.

Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter quickly, so that it is fully incorporated, and the flour resembles coarse sand. I often mix in the butter quickly with my fingers, which is fine for those who might not have a pastry cutter.

Form a well with the dough, and pour the egg and water into the hole. Incorporate the liquids with your hands. Try to not knead the dough, but work it in with your fingers until it comes together. Take out any clumps with the heel of your hand.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Flour a work surface.

Roll out the dough to ¼" thick. Form it into the pie shell. Rolling the dough onto the pin, and then into the shell is an easy way to do this.

Refrigerate the pie shell lined with the dough for another half hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
Prick the shell with a fork all over.

Pre-bake the tart shell for 15 minutes, and let it cool to room temperature.

Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF.

Meanwhile, heat up the milk with the cinnamon stick, anise, and the vanilla bean, scraping out the vanilla seeds into the liquid with the tip of a knife.

Do not bring it to a boil, but heat it until it is just so how that there is steam rising from the top.

Have the chopped chocolate prepared and in a bowl.

Take the milk off of the heat and strain it into the bowl, where the chocolate is waiting.

Stir the milk and chocolate gently with a spatula until smooth.

In another bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, and the rest of the sugar.

When the chocolate milk has cooled slightly (you should be able to dab your pinkie in it comfortably), pour it into the egg mixture. Do this by adding a little at a time, so that you temper the egg mixture with the chocolate.

Whisk until combined well. Strain if necessary.

Stir in the aniseed.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie shell. Scatter on a few more seeds for decoration.

Place on a baking tray and put in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until set.
Cool completely, then refrigerate the tart and serve it cold.

It goes well with a dollop of whipped cream or some fresh red berries.

September 17, 2007


I made this for some friends at dinner recently, and it was well received..."delicious" was the general consensus. I'd advise that you try to make sure the pastry base is quite thick, and that the tart has been refrigerated for a few hours before serving, so that it's nice and solid.
All in all a wonderful recipe and I'll be trying many more in the future!

Mmmm, this looks mighty tasty! Would regular cornmeal work in place of masa harina? It's probably not quite as finely ground. Would running it in a food processor help? I'd rather not buy masa just for this recipe if the substitution would work well enough.

Hi Nancy.  We have never tried it with cornmeal, but I am sure it would be fine.  If you don't want to risk anything, just subsitute in 1/4 cup of cornmeal and leave 1 3/4 cups of the flour.  Let us know how it turns out.

I went ahead and got a whole 5-pound bag of masa at the nearby Latino grocery. Also got some piloncillo to replace the brown sugar. Takes a while to grate the sugar! Excellent results overall; it received high marks at our "singles" Valentines Day party. BUT, I will make some adjustments next time. HAD to watch the video; recipe alone was vague and left out some info. For instance, the ingredients list didn't even mention the cinnamon stick, and called for 1 tsp of anise seed, period. The directions do not specify how much anise is added at each step they're called for, just: "add the anise," three different times. Pastry was rather thick. Two cups of flour generally is sufficient for a 2-crust pie. Next time, I'll makea bit less or else freeze half, and role it a bit thinner than 1/4 inch. As it was I had a fair amount left over. Also, recipe doesn't specify what kind of pie pan. At first, since it's called a tart, I assumed a tart pan with removable bottom. But the video looked like it used a cake pan! I wound up using my trusty ceramic deep-dish pie pan. Would a metallic pan be preferable, produce a crunchier crust? Finally, I used a Ceylon cinnamon stick rather than true cinnamon to achieve a more authentic Mexican flavor. Used a whole vanilla bean since mine were a bit on the "mature" side [i.e., old and a little dried out!]. And I used creme fraiche rather than Mexican Crema. Pretty similar, and I adore creme fraiche. While this may all sound very critical, au contraire, it was EXCELLENT and I will definitely make this again. Perhaps this week! A refreshing change to the normal chocolate tart. Mmm-mmmmm. It's now part of my go-to dessert repertoire.

I made it again, after viewing the video again, and my crust was much better. Had originally processed butter as I would for a regular pie crust, which wasn't adequate for this one. Having it more fully incorporated made the stated amount of water/egg yolk work just fine. Still, it made far too much dough for 1 tart, but not enough for 2. And while any thinner than 1/4" would be pretty difficult to handle, 1/4 inch is a little too thick for my taste. But an unusual, distinctive variation on the typical tart pastry shell that is quite suited to the chocolate filling. Looks like some experimentation is called for to make the crust better suit my tastes--which I will be delighted to undertake. I accept this challenge with gusto. It is a fabulousc recipe!

I'm so glad you're enjoying the recipe Nancy! This is my favorite dessert of all time. I had it once before we filmed the segment and could not wait until it was time to film it so I could eat it again...

Hi Nancy, like Emma said, this is one of our favorite recipes.  I am glad that you have made it twice and are experimenting with the crust.  I sometimes will cut the crust recipe in half, which seems to work for me just fine.  You will have to adjust the quantity of sugar and finagle with what 1/2 an egg is, but I wonder if that would be better for you.  Let us know how it goes!

This would be a WONDERFUL dessert for Cinco de Mayo! Definitely time to make it again. Each time it improves. One question: What kind of pan do you recommend for this? A tart pan, pie pan, cake pan, or ...? Metallic or ceramic or glass make a difference? The video looks like you used a cake pan, which is sorta odd. I enjoy your recipes a lot. Quite an eclectic variety and many are unusual. Appreciate your efforts, please keep 'em comin'--thank you!

Hi Nancy, I am so glad you like this recipe.  We love it too.  We can actually never have enough.  To be honest, I usually make it with whatever I can get my hands on, depending on what kitchen I am in.  Ideally, however, I would use a 9" tart pan with 2 inch sides and a removable bottom:

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