I decided to look at the recipes at the American Heritage Chocolate website and pick one which worked with the chocolate block they sent us. The challenge was finding one that used the block, several of the recipes used the drinking chocolate, and one which used only one block since that is what I was sent. So I chose their Chocolate Tart recipe and having never made such a creation before I knew this would be an adventure.
The first challenge was finding all the ingredients. Actually the biggest challenge there was the rice flour. That is just not something I keep around and I couldn't find it in a smaller quantity than the bag you see with the other ingredients. It was expensive. Let me repeat that: It Was EXPENSIVE compared to ever whole grain wheat flour which I use 95% of the time. Also getting whole milk was an extra expense since we simply do not drink that and never had and I couldn't find it in a smaller amount. The frozen pie shells were another extra expense but there were two in the bag so I get to make another pie later. In short, this isn't a cheap tart to make especially when I need to try and make it as close to the recipe as I can while trying to respect our dietary needs.
The second challenge was grating the chocolate block. I ran into a few problems here. My grater just was not working well at all for this. Pieces of chocolate were flying which is wasteful, something I and probably you cannot afford to be. I switched to my peeler and that worked better but my hands and therefore the bar would heat up. I had to keep stopping to let my hands cool down and stretch out my back. Why did that matter? Well, I was trying to get small pieces that would melt easily plus melted chocolate turns into wasted chocolate again since I can't really add it to my bowl of shavings or handle either peeler or bar with too much chocolate on my hands. Remember these American Heritage Chocolates are made in the Colonial fashion so they are spicy and not what you normally go around licking off you hands. A little bit for me goes a long way when I eat it directly. Also finally at the end I simply had to break up the bar because it was too small to really handle well with the peeler.
|The Egg Mixture|
|Cream, Chocolate & Sugar|
I made sure and I got a deeper pie crust because the last time I made a recipe with a pie crust the mixture I poured in almost ran over the edges especially as it baked. I hate cleaning my oven, such an annoying chore. Anyway as you can see getting the 2 inch deep pie was a very good idea from this pre-baked photo.
Let's talk about the Chocolate Block itself while the pie bakes. This comes in a 5.13oz block and I'm sure between all the melting on my hands and flakes going everywhere that I ended up with the 5oz that the recipe required. Remember this is based on Colonial American recipes so it is a spicy chocolate but not in the Aztec way you might imagine. The spices in it include, according to the website, anise, red pepper, nutmeg, orange, and cinnamon. It also includes sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, Annatto, and salt along with natural flavors that like the spices are not specified on the box label itself. It had a very strong chocolate and spice fragrance when I removed it from the box and the inside paper wrapper. This block is made of 4 servings though in our pie it will become 8 servings. That means that each of our eight slices, in terms of the chocolate only will have 95 calories, 3.5g saturated fat, 7.5mg sodium, 1.5g fiber, 8g sugars, 1g protein along with some iron. I'm not even going to attempt to try and figure out the entire slice's values but needless to say I may want to split a slice with someone.
After 45 minutes, the tart was done. It was dark and it had filled out a bit but not over the edges of other pie crust. I let it cool to room temperature per instructions then put it in the refrigerator until dinner, about 4 hours. I set it out as I started to cook so it wouldn't be too cold and more difficult to cut. I think it turned out well, you can see we tried two slices so I did indeed eat more than I should have. It was not creamy but very spicy, just like it smelled, just like the block had been. That meant that the chocolate was coming through all the eggs, cream, and sugar. If you are expecting a traditional chocolate flavor this will surprise you so sample the chocolate first so you know what to expect. The spices, the Colonial chocolate, made it seem like heavy and dessert-like than I think using modern chocolate would. However it was very calorie heavy.
So there you have it, a review of the Chocolate Block, the recipe and a celebration of "Chocolate Day" all in one! I hope you leave a comment and tell me how you celebrated "Chocolate Day" today.