Sunday, 6 February 2011

THE BEST CHOCOLATE TART

I am reblogging this recipe as several people have asked for it, and I thought it would be easier to give it a separate entry, rather than have to trawl through the longer post on New Year's Eve Supper.

I am wary of claims like The Best, Greatest or Finest, but, like Nigella's Chocolate Ice Cream, this really is the best homemade chocolate tart I have ever tasted or made. I ate it at Chalet JoJo at Christmas: my host, Jo, is a fine cook and has a particular affinity for cakes and puddings (unlike me - I have a few favourites which I wheel out: lemon polenta cake, chocolate brownies, and now the chocolate tart). What is so wonderful about this tart is that it tastes - and looks - exactly like a proper French patisserie tarte au chocolat, yet it is dead easy to make. You don't even have to make your own pastry if you don't want to, though I did go the whole hog for a supper party last Friday and made proper sweet pastry (made with egg yolks and butter). I have to say the homemade pastry did make a difference, but a supermarket sweet short crust works pretty well too. If you're feeling really lazy or pushed for time, buy a ready made tart case from M&S or Waitrose. And M&S also do small tart cases, if you wanted to make individual tarts.

The quantities given will make a good-sized tart: it fed 6 generously on Friday night, with enough left over for seconds. I find it is best made the day before as this allows the chocolate filling to set properly. Serve it with cream, creme fraiche, or, if feeling really naughty, clotted cream. And maybe some fresh raspberries, in season, on the side....


Dark Chocolate Tart
Serves 6-8

You can either make individual tartlettes or a large tart (24 cm tart tin)

250g sweet pastry (a roll if cheating)
200g dark chocolate (I like Waitrose Belgian chocolate; Green & Black's dark is also excellent for this recipe)
250ml single cream
40g unsalted butter
150g raspberry or apricot jam (I used Waitrose seedless raspberry jam)
Icing sugar & cocoa powder for dusting
Oven 180C.  
Put the pastry into the tart case/s and prick with fork. Bake blind for 15 mins, then take paper off and put back into the oven for 5 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Put the jam into a saucepan, heat up until liquid, and then spread over the pastry. Leave to cool

Put half of the cream into a saucepan and once near boiling add the chocolate. Take off the heat and add the remaining cream and the butter. If it starts to look granular, beat with a whisk to achieve smooth consistency. Pour over jammed pastry and when cool, put into the fridge to chill and set.
Just before serving, sprinkle over cocoa powder and icing sugar in a design you like.

A brief trawl through the Ottolenghi Cookbook revealed a delicious-looking white chocolate and raspberry version:

40g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
180g good-quality white chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
20g unsalted butter, cut into small dice
90ml single cream
6 tsp raspberry jam, heated until runny

Make pastry case as above. Spread the jam over the base. Leave to cool

Filling
Crush the raspberries with a fork and then pass through a fine sieve to create a coulis. Set aside.

Heat the cream and bring to the boil, watching it constantly. As soon as it comes to the boil, add the white chocolate and butter and stir gently with a rubber spatula to achieve a smooth consistency. Pour into the prepared tart case. Spoon the coulis into the white chocolate mixture and swirl around with the top of a knife or skewer. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge to set fully. This would be very nice served with more raspberries and a dollop of creme fraiche.

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