July 29, 2012

For the love of chocolate.


On a whim, I entered the My Best Ghiradelli Chocolate Dessert Contest at our County Fair.

Last night I made a chocolate ganache tart, put it in the refrigerator, made whipped cream this morning and then put the whipped cream, fruit and mint on top of the tart in the fair parking lot.


We bought tickets to the fair and then wandered around for awhile until we found the Beer Tent, the site of the contest.

I checked my tart in, gave them a copy of my recipe and the label from the Ghiradelli chocolate chips I used -- to prove I'd actually used a Ghiradelli product.

And then we waited.

There were three judges.  One owns a candy company, one is the food editor for one of the Chicago newspapers and is also a professional pastry chef, and the third was the winner of this competition last year.

They took an hour to methodically review recipes and taste desserts while a woman on a microphone told us, in excruciating detail, every possible thing she could think of about the fair so we couldn't hear what the judges were saying.  I've honestly never heard anyone talk for 60 straight minutes about nothing in particular.  She had to be completely exhausted.


They finally announced the winners and -- drum roll please -- I won first place!  I jumped up when the called my name like I'd just won the lottery.  I received a snazzy Ghiradelli apron, a basket of Ghiradelli chocolate, $150 and a big ol' blue ribbon!

(Michal and I are looking into the sun hence the squinty-eyed looks on our faces.)


Eric described it as the quintessential Midwest moment.

I couldn't agree more.

And just in case you'd like to make a "prize-winning" chocolate ganache tart of your own, here's the recipe.

It really is so good!

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Pecan Crust


3 cups pecans
1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons of melted butter, cooled

Run nuts with sugar through a food processor until coarse like sand, stream in melted butter with motor still going, until moistened.  Press firmly into an 11-inch tart pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Be careful to not over bake the crust.

Once the crust has cooled completely, make the ganache.


16 ounces of Ghiradelli Bittersweet Premium Baking Chocolate
2 cups heavy cream

Heat the cream in a double boiler over medium heat.  Don't let it boil.  Add the chocolate and stir gently until mixture is thick and the chocolate is melted.  As soon as the chocolate is combined with the cream, remove from the heat and pour into the cooled crust.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  (May be refrigerated longer.)  Remove from refrigerator and carefully remove the tart from the pan.  Allow to soften slightly before serving.

Best served with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream.  Garnish with berries and mint if desired.



  1. Congratulations!!!!! I would have screamed to hear them call your name, how fun. Oh, and I am a lifelong Ghirardelli addict, by the way, there is just something about that taste that can never be duplicated. Am printing out your recipe, yum.

    1. I used a new Ghiradelli product that's called All Natural Premium Baking Chips. They are bigger than regular chocolate chips, are 60% cocao and really were so good!

      The recipe is one your girls can definitely help with. You'll have to do the part on the stove but they can help with the food processor part.

  2. Anonymous12:47 AM

    Wow! I am very impressed! The pie..er tart..looks just delicious. I wish I could reach into my computer screen and have a piece.

  3. Congratulations!! This is quite an accomplishment to win 1st place. Your pie is beautiful!

  4. Wow...it's beautiful...and sounds SO good!!! Congratulations...I'm excited about that blue ribbon for you!!!

  5. Congrats!!! Looks so delish! Will definitely be printing this off!

  6. Hey, that is really, really cool. I would have screamed too!

  7. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Did you make up the recipe or could you use one that you found in a cookbook or magazine? I want to tell people when I make the tart that it is a Kristi recipe.

    1. I didn't make the recipe up. I was given the recipe by a friend, who got it from a different friend. It's actually a pretty basic recipe. Just a classic ganache -- cream and chocolate -- and a crust that can be made with almost any kind of nut.

      I love recipes from friends! That's usually how you find the very best things to make. That's why I love Junior League Cookbooks . . . they are one big, bound-together collection of usually-amazing recipes that others are willing to share.

  8. HUGE Congratulations!!! It is the quintessential Midwest moment!!! Dave won a ribbon at a county fair pie contest when we lived in VA too!

    I do believe I made that art (recipe courtesy of YOU) and it was delish!!!

  9. Wow congratulations on this honor. Cant wait to try this recipe

  10. Girl, you can do everything! How exciting that you won.

  11. YUM! Thanks for posting recipe :)

  12. Congratulations on winning first place! it looks delish! YUMMO!



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