Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Most Decadent Chocolate Tart

Moving onto dessert and this time I got it from my Mama.... 

This what I always consider as Jane's classic dinner party dessert. Jane and Tim are a formidable force of socialising and entertaining, throughout my life they have been and still are a whirlwind of social activity. So I have no idea where I get it from....  

Anyway back to pudding and this guy takes no prisoners, it is a full steam a head, calorie stuffed, straight to the hips kind of tart. Exactly what a dessert should be. If you are going to indulge, make it count! 

For 12 inches of pure naughtiness, you will need: 

Pastry - 125g Butter 
100g Icing Sugar
250g Plain Flour
2 Egg Yolks 
2 tbsp Cold Milk
A Pinch of Salt

Filling - 315ml Double Cream
2 tbsp Caster Sugar
115g Butter
455g Dark Chocolate
100ml Milk
A Pinch of Salt

You need to start by making the pastry, don't panic, it is a full proof sweet crust. Super easy I promise. 
Mix the flour and icing sugar together. Then cut your cold butter into little cubes and begin rubbing the butter into the flour/icing sugar mix much as you would do making scones. I'm pretty sure scones where the first thing I learned to bake, I remember standing with both Mum and Grandma whilst we rubbed in the butter, You don't want to over work the butter so it becomes soft, you just want to use the tips of your fingers gently so you make a breadcrumb like constancy. The key to good scones is well rubbed butter! I applied the same to the pastry. 

Next add your beaten egg and start to bring everything together, add your milk a drop at a time just to make sure it won't get too wet. It doesn't look like it is going to work and then all of a sudden, voila! A nice little ball of pastry. Don't work it too much as you want it to be nice and crumbly and short! Working it stretches the gluten and will make it elastic and chewy. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half and hour! 

While your pastry is having a nap, grease up your tin. Do this even if you tin is non stick trust me, and go to town, don't scrimp!

Once the pastry has rested. It is time to roll it out, I would say to about 1cm thick. Use icing sugar on your surface as it is a sweet crust remember! 

Gently line the tin and use a little of the excess pastry to make sure you get in all the way into the creases. Using pastry means that you can really push without leaving uneven finger marks.

Trim the excess pastry, though not too much! It will shrink a bit in the oven so leave some room. 

The first step is to bake blind. I have baking "beans" ceramic balls, however you can use anything, rice lentils... You just need something in order the weigh down the pastry as it can puff a little when it first goes in. Remember to line the tart with baking paper first, I can't tell you how annoying it is to pick pieces of rice off a pastry tart. 

After 15 mins in a 180 degree oven whip the baking paper and beans off the tart and cook for a further 5. As you wont be baking the pastry again you need to make sure it is cooked through!

Once cooled you can trim down the edges. Use a peeler to really neaten up those edges once you have knocked the bigger bits off. Mine certainly isn't perfect but then I think it adds to its rustic charm. 

Now the pesky pastry is out the way you can start on the filling. Break up the chocolate, it is always best to use a good quality high cocoa content one, as it is the main taste i.e not brownies, it's one time I wouldn't scrimped. I went with Green and Blacks.  

Always melt your chocolate over a bain-marie (metal bowl over boiling water) so it isn't on direct heat. Chocolate can be tricky and it is an expensive pain if it splits! Always use a spoon, never a whisk. A whisk aims to put air into whatever it is you are whisking and you don't want that with chocolate, it form clumps and be ruined. I pretty much use a silicon spatular for everything. So melt your chocolate and butter, heat the cream salt and sugar separately and then add them together.

Now as you can see, my mixture looks exactly like I described above - spilt ruined and awful. DONT PANIC it goes like this. You need to leave it to cool. Then add in the milk....

You will see it starts to come together. Once its cooled further add the rest of the milk.
Eh Voila, I promise the picture below is the same as the mixture above. The milk works it's magic and brings it all back together. I cant tell you why this happens, or why someone needs to invent a recipe that incites so much panic, but it does, and it's perfectly normal.

Now just pour the mix into your tart case and done. That's it just leave to set in your fridge! 

Now I will explain the appearance of my tart. It looks like I've spread it in like icing, not pouring as I have just described. I did, because.... I got over excited and decided to make my filling whilst I was baking my tart and, of course what is the filling meant to do? It is meant to set. So obviously it started to set and by the time my tart case was cool enough... I was spreading in my mixture. So it doesn't have that glossy, smooth shiny top like Mum's usually does. 

What it lacks in sleekness though, it makes up for in taste. Goes with my rustic pastry too. I liberally sprinkled Malden Sea Salt over the top to give it a little edge over Mums. If you don't fancy this you can leave it be, or dust it with cocoa powder. 

I served this up with strawberries and they cut through the richness of the chocolate perfectly! I highly suggest serving it with some sort of fruit. 

There was so much left this could easily do a dinner party of 10-12. If you can manage a large slice then you are better than I am! We were eating this for about 4 days before I finally packed the rest of it up for Dan to take to the office. They promptly scoffed the lot thank god! 

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