Sunday, 21 June 2015

Chocolate custard tarts


Did you miss me?  When I signed off in February I wasn’t planning on being away for so long but you know how things are sometimes...weeks become months and so it goes on.  Sorry.  If it’s any consolation I missed you all!    I can’t promise that I’ll go back to my regular-like-clockwork weekly updates but I shall try my very best.

This is the first time I have attempted chocolate pastry.  I’ve read before that it’s ‘tricky’ and can be difficult to roll etc, therefore I decided to take the approach I would to turn a sponge into a chocolate sponge: use a trusted recipe and replace some of the flour with cocoa.  It worked well and I didn’t have any issues with texture or rolling.

I didn’t have to pack chocolate flavour into the pastry as the tart filling was pure chocolate indulgence!  It combines the intense richness of ganache with the velvety texture of custard – be careful not to overbake it or you will lose the lightness of texture.  The use of milk chocolate makes it a tart to suit most palates (except those odd souls who like their chocolate so bitter it’s more of a punishment than a pleasure).

I only ever make individual pies and tarts in disposable foil cases now – they are so easy to use and the pastry never sticks.  There is no sadder sight in baking than a beautiful tart or pie ruined because it wouldn’t come out of the pan.  We’ve all been there – I remember mine was a batch of mince pies that ended up so scarred and battered by the knife I attacked them with to dislodge them, that I suspect they formed some sort of support group to get over the trauma.

Now of course these don’t need any adornment at all but I never know when to stop, so piped a simple rosette of whipped cream on the top of each tart.  I like the contrast it gave against the dark tarts.  I showed a modicum of restraint in not sprinkling crushed flake over the top….but you can bet your life I thought about it (and wanted to!).


For the pastry:
150g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
85g unsalted butter – cold
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:
225ml single cream
75ml whole milk
300g milk chocolate
2 eggs

To decorate:
200ml whipping cream


Start by making the pastry: place the flour, cocoa and butter in a food processor and blitz until you have crumbs that look a bit like wet sand.

Add the sugar and blitz again.

Add the egg yolk and water and blitz just until the pastry starts to form.

Tip out onto a sheet of clingfilm and bring together into a ball of dough – don’t over handle or it may become tough.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm and, using a cutter of the appropriate size, cut out rounds to line either a cupcake pan or individual foil tart tins (I use the latter as they are a nice way to transport and protect the tarts).  I got 18 tartlets.

Prick the base of each tart with a fork, then cover with clingfilm and chill for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  It won’t do any harm to chill overnight, if you want to get a head start!

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line each pastry case with baking paper or non stick foil, then weigh down with baking beans or rice.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans/rice and paper/foil and return to the oven – uncovered – for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry base no longer looks wet or shiny.  This is the best test for chocolate pastry as the colour will not help you!

Put to one side to cool.

Reduce the oven to 140C/fan oven 120C/275F/gas mark 1

Now make the filling: place the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring just to boiling point.
Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.

Stir until all the ingredients are combined.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes before beating in the eggs.

Spoon into the pastry cases – I found a ladle worked best.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the filling looks set but wobbles when you shake the tray – they will continue to set as they cool.

[If you have leftover filling spoon into ramekins and place them in a roasting tin.  Fill the tray with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until set with a wobble – bonus dessert!]

Leave to cool on wire rack.

Decorate with whipped cream if required.

Refrigerate until about an hour before you wish to serve.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



sensibilia said...

Yes, we have missed you, CC! So glad you are back. Hope your new kitchen is now fully bedded in and acclimatised. Am looking forward to more mouth-watering delicacies. This looks wonderful. Good tip re disposable foil cases, too.

Hedgehog said...

Welcome back, I missed your posts for the writing just as much as for the recipes, and the recipes are always worth a visit (and sometimes a test, purely for scientific reasons of course. I wouldn't eat cake for pleasure...). Like the look of this one, I have hit and miss results with pastry, including the attacking mince pies with a knife, but would be reluctant to use disposables. I like my loose based flan tin for larger tarts but it would be a lot of fuss to use mini ones even if you can get them. Hmmm... I have an idea that individual tart tins might work, if the base was rounded so you could slide them out, but have never seen any (like pudding tins only shallower).

Anyway, look forward to reading your blog again in the future, and must buy the book!

verity said...

I missed you!

Laura Denman said...

Welcome back! I've been wondereding lately when you'd be ready to return for a while and hoping that you would be. These little treats are the perfect comeback recipe and you showed more restraint than I would have - the flake would have definitely gone on top!

Maggie said...

Evening CC! Pleased you have come back refreshed and have whisk and spoon at the ready. I've never made chocolate pastry, the little tarts look great!

Charlene Flash said...

Welcome back, glad to see you blogging again x

Claire Gordon said...

Yay! Welcome back. I have been checking each Sunday night for weeks! X

Baking Addict said...

Welcome back! You've definitely been missed and these chocolate tarts are a great comeback. Yum!

Gloria Baker said...

Happy to see you dear!
Welcome back!
I missed you:)
And these look delicious!!

Gloria Baker said...

Happy to see you dear!
Welcome back!
I missed you:)
And these look delicious!!

Lisa Niblock said...

I missed you too! These chocolate tarts look amazing! I sometimes think of taking a break from blogging and baking, but I also find myself in the kitchen baking again! One day I will take a break! Look forward to your posts, regular or not!

Zoe Tait-Sargent said...

Yes we missed you, had been checking this page in vain every week.
Glad to see you back and hope you and yours are in the finest of health and happy.
You have inspired me to bake something this coming weekend.

Jo said...

You have no idea how delighted I was when your name popped up in my blog reader. Welcome back CC! Your chocolate custard tarts sound amazing. I've made a custard tart before but never a chocolate one. I can only assume it's even tastier!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness your back ! I have missed your Sunday recipes so much!!!

Lady of the Cloth said...

Welcome back, I missed you! I know how time flies. I have had to abandon my blog due to continuous computer problems with Blogger. The chocolate tarts look amazing.

Choclette Blogger said...

Hey CC, your back. We missed you and your wonderfully indulgent bakes. Sundays just haven't been the same. Chocolate tarts sound like the business and make me realise it's been too long since I made any.

Snowy said...

Great to see you back, and the chocolate tarts look delicious.

Lisa Marie said...

Oh, praise the Lord, you're back! And with a chocolate vengeance. I'm delighted to read you again.

The Kitchenmaid said...

Hurrah, you're back! And with a vengeance, if these tarts are anything to go by. I absolutely love the tip about the disposable cases - I've lost far too many little baked things due to bad tins. A chef I know swears by some kind of magic spray, but I can't remember what it's called... anyway, I think I'd probably just eat that custard on its own, sprinkled with Flake, of course!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Welcome back CC! Good to see you've returned with a deliciously chocolate creation! Hope we'll see many more over the coming weeks (whether chocolate or not!)

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back CC! I don't normally comment but thought you'd let you know I missed your posts. I cook from your blog more often than any other (and I read/cook a lot!)