The filling is like a melt in the mouth, velvety smooth chocolate truffle. You can make the chocolate as bitter or mild as you like; I used two-thirds milk chocolate (Green and Blacks 34% cocoa) and one-third dark (Green and Blacks 70% cocoa) to strike a good balance.
The recipe is adapted from a wonderful book I recently came across called “Chocolate” by Sverre Saetre. I haven’t even looked through all the recipes yet but this one leapt out and demanded to be made; I can be very obedient when it suits me!
As I had some whipping cream left over I piped it around the edge of the tart. This not only gave a nice colour contrast, but also was a good accompaniment to the rich tart.
The tart is not difficult but does take a bit of time to make; however, the results are reason enough to tackle it. We all agreed that this tasted like professional patisserie, the sort of thing you see in the window of fancy cake shops.
For the pastry:
200g unsalted butter, cold
100g icing sugar
300g plain flour
For the filling:
150g chocolate (I used 100g milk, 50g dark)
3 gelatine leaves
315ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod
Optional decoration: Whipped cream, raspberries, chocolate vermicelli
How to make:
- Start by making the pastry: place the butter, icing sugar and flour into a food processor and blitz until you have fine bread crumbs.
- Add the egg and blitz until the dough just starts to come together.
- Tip the dough out onto a sheet of clingfilm and bring together into a ball, handling as little as possible. The pastry is incredibly soft – more like a thick paste, than a dough.
- Flatten the pastry into a disk and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate for at least an hour, the longer the better.
- Butter a 22cm loose bottomed flan tin.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Roll the chilled pastry out so that it is about 2 inches bigger than the flan tin all the way around. As the pastry is so short and buttery, I rolled it out between two sheets of clingfilm; this prevents having to use any flour and changing the consistency of the pastry.
- Line the flan tin with the pasty and leave any overhanging pastry.
- Chill the pastry for a further 30 minutes. This will stop the pastry shrinking in the oven.
- Line the pastry case with a sheet of baking paper and fill with baking beans, or lentils, dried pulses etc
- Bake for 8 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Leave to cool.
- Chop up the chocolate into small, even pieces and melt in a large bowl (it has to be big enough to take the cream too) above a saucepan of simmering water. The heat should be low as you don’t want to overheat the chocolate and have it seize on you. Also make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- In a bowl of cold water, soak the gelatine leaves so that they are soft.
- Slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds.
- In a saucepan bring the cream, vanilla pod and seeds to the boil. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the vanilla pod.
- Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves and, one at a time, stir into the hot cream and ensure that they dissolve.
- Steadily pour the cream into the chocolate and stir with either a wooden spoon or spatula. This will ensure that you don’t create air bubbles that might spoil the finished look of the tart.
- Stir slowly and steadily for a few minutes. At first you’ll worry that the cream and chocolate won’t mix but eventually you will have a glossy and thick chocolate sauce.
- Pour into the cooled pastry case and refrigerate until set (approx 4 hours).
- Decorate as required – I used piped cream, raspberries and chocolate vermicelli.
- Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before required in order that the lovely chocolate flavour will be at its peak.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.