The “Spoon” Chocolate Pizza

I tasted this dessert when I cooked in New York with Alain Ducasse for the television show, and I can tell you that I have never seen a crew hanging over the cameras waiting for the finished dish as they were for this chocolate pizza from Ducasse’s “Spoon” restaurants and his cookbook of the same name.

You will need to make the dough the day before and have four 4-inch tartlet forms 1 inch high. The ones with removable bottoms are the easiest.

Ingredients

Brioche Crust

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 tablespoons butter for dough ( sticks)

Chocolate Filling

  • 3 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut in ¼-inch cubes
  • cup heavy cream
  • cup good-quality bittersweet chocolate, broken in ¼-inch pieces

Method

Make the brioche crust: Put the yeast and water in a mixing bowl of a countertop mixer and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, and a pinch of salt. Mix together on medium speed until the ingredients come together as a dough. Then knead the dough with a bread-hook attachment for 5 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl cleanly. Add the eggs and 12 tablespoons butter and mix again until the dough again no longer sticks to the bowl.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in volume. Knead once again briefly until the dough is smooth, shiny, and “dry” to the touch. Place in a bowl dusted with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter four 4-inch tartlet forms 1 inch high. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board or table until ¾ inch thick. Cut into 4 circles 8 inches in diameter. Line the forms with the brioche rounds. Prick the dough thoroughly with a fork to avoid air bubbles in the cooked pizza. For the chocolate filling: Spoon equal amounts of cocoa powder, brown sugar, and butter cubes into each of the brioche shells. Let the shells rise for 20 minutes, so the cooked dough will be a little softer.

Set the shells in the oven on a baking sheet and bake one-third of the way through, or 8 to 10 minutes. Then pour the cream equally over each of the 4 pizzas. Cook for another 8 minutes, until the cocoa, cream, and butter are well mixed and form a liquid.

Turn off the oven, sprinkle the chocolate pieces equally on top of the 4 pizzas, and leave the door ajar for 2 minutes, or until the chocolate melts. Remove the pizzas to a wire rack. When cool enough to handle, remove from the forms and serve the pizzas warm, not hot.

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