the appetizer:

A country with distinct Flemish (Dutch) and French influences, including language, it is sometimes said that Belgium serves food with the quantity of Germany and the quality of France.

Global Destinations


Belgian Chocolate Ganache Tart
(Eenvoudige Chocolade Taart
or Gateau Au Chocolat Simple)

Makes one 9- to 11-inch pie crust.

A serious tart and a serious dessert with the deep taste of chocolate that is not too sweet. Perfect for the serious chocoholic.

Basic Flemish Pie Crust (see below)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
   preferable Callebaut, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for serving

1. Generously butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle, 1/4 inch thick. Line the tart pan with the dough, trim the edges, and prick the bottom evenly with a fork. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

3. Line the bottom of the tart pan with aluminum foil. Fill two-thirds full with dry rice or beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until the pastry is lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Remove the pie weights and foil and let the crust cool completely. Leave the oven on.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate filling: Place the chocolate pieces in a mixing bowl. In a medium-size saucepan, bring the cream, espresso, and confectioners' sugar to a quick boil. Immediately pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.

5. Brush the bottom and sides of the pastry with the egg wash. Pour in the chocolate ganache and bake in the preheated 375 degrees F oven until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the side of the pan and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.

6. For garnish, use a fine sieve to sprinkle the cocoa evenly over the surface of the tart, place a doily on top of the cocoa, and sift a layer of confectioners' sugar on top. Very carefully remove the doily. You will have a very pretty decorative pattern. Or simply serve the tart cold with a bowl of freshly whipped cream.


Basic Flemish Pie Crust
Kruimeldeeg Pate Briseens

This is a homey, all-purpose type of crust, suitable for quiche and other single-crust, savory pies. You can make the dough when you feel like it and keep it on hand in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in the freezer up to several months.

The easiest and quickest way to prepare a pie crust is in your food processor, where it is only a matter of a few minutes work. The first time I demonstrated this to my grandmother her eyes first widened with astonishment, then she quickly declared that the crust could not possibly meet her high standards. In fact it did, and she agreed that this was truly progress, but she continues to make her own pate brisee by hand.

If you are making pie crust by hand, you should work quickly so the heat from your fingers does not melt the butter. Either way, do not over work the dough or the pie crust will be tough.

2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter,
   chilled and cut into small cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice-cold water

By food processor:
1. Measure the flour into the bowl of food processor and pulse on and off for a few seconds.

2. Add the butter, egg, and salt and pulse the machine on and off a few times until the mixture has a very coarse texture and the pieces of butter are about the size of small peas.

3. With the food processor on, add the water through the feed tube a little at a time until the dough just holds together. (Do not let the dough form into a ball or it will be over-worked and tough.) Stop immediately. Scrape the dough from the processor.

By hand:
1. Sift the flour onto your work surface. Make a well in the center.

2. Into the well, add the butter, egg, and salt. Use your fingertips to blend the flour into the butter and egg until the mixture has a very coarse texture and the pieces of butter are about the size of small peas.

3. Add the water a little at a time, blending with your fingertips until you have a dough that you can knead. Knead very briefly.

Either method:
4. Shape the dough into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5. When the dough is chilled, roll it out 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin or between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. If the dough is still a little sticky, let it harden in the freezer for a few minutes. Do not work with sticky dough.

6. Drape the dough loosely on your rolling pin and unroll it onto the pie plate without stretching the dough. Pat it gently into place with your fingers. Trim away the excess so that the dough is just slightly bigger than the pie plate. Make a fluted edge by pinching the edges of the dough with your fingers or press the edges all around with the tines of a fork.


Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook
by Ruth Van Waerebeek with Maria Robbins
Illustrations by Melissa Sweet
Workman Publishing ISBN: 1-56305-411-6 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-7611-0106-3 (Cloth)
Reprinted with permission


Belgian Recipes


Belgium on Wikipedia

More country Destinations


This page modified January 2007