Yesterday it poured with rain. All day. I’m not complaining, as these are my favourite days to hang out in the kitchen, put some jazz on the stereo, (good, vocal jazz, think Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne), tie on my apron and get to baking. What could be more perfect on a dark and stormy day than a Decadent Dark Chocolate Tart?
This is a very sophisticated dessert, however it is surprisingly simple to throw together. It requires very little hands on time but you do need to allow a couple of hours for the tart to chill and set. I like to make my own chocolate pastry (So easy! So good!) but even if you have a pastry making phobia you can still make this tart with a crushed biscuit base.
This is also the perfect prepare ahead dessert for a dinner party – you can put it all together in the morning, or the day before, then keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve and seriously impress your guests. I’ve topped it with black cherries as we are bang in the middle of cherry season (and I love them) but this would work perfectly with any berries, sliced figs, shards of white chocolate or even dusted with a little cocoa powder and served plain. It is rich, but not overly sweet which makes it incredibly moreish.
To keep the flavour of this tart really balanced, I like to use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate. I recommend using a good quality 70% dark chocolate as this flavour will really shine through. I add a little vanilla flavouring to the chocolate ganache, but there is absolutely no reason you couldn’t add some ‘grown up’ flavouring like rum, brandy or flavoured liqueurs. This is also stunning served with Cointreau infused, softly whipped cream.
Pastry making can seem scary if you haven’t done a lot of it. Sweet pastry is often easiest to roll out between two pieces of baking paper, to stop it sticking to the bench top. A special trick to make life easier is to roll the pastry into a long tube shape, slice off coin shaped discs and lay them into the tart pan, pressing gently to join. It might take a little longer but will guarantee a perfect base.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the pastry:
- 200 g plain flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 125 g unsalted butter, chilled
- 50 g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, beaten
for the filling:
- 400 ml cream
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200 g dark chocolate, 70%
- 200 g milk chocolate
- For the pastry, place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse to mix together. Add the butter, cut into small pieces, and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and run the processor for 20-30 seconds until the mixture comes together to form a dough - you will hear, as well as see this. You may need to add a tablespoon of ice cold water if the pastry is very dry and not clumping together.
- Form the pastry into a long tube shaped roll, slice off coin sized discs and use these to line a 26cm loose bottomed tart tin, pressing gently, but firmly to seal the joins. Leave a small overhang to allow for any pastry shrinkage.
- If you are confident with pastry, you can go ahead and roll the pastry out, either on a floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper to fit the tin.
- Prick the pastry all over with a fork, then cover the lined tin with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Take the tart tin out of the fridge and remove the cling film. Crumple up a nice big piece of baking paper, then smooth it out and place it over the pastry. Cover this with a large square of tin foil, pushing this into the corners of the inside of the tin. Weigh down with baking weights or uncooked rice, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the paper/tin foil lining and rice and return to the oven for five minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven, and if you like, use a small, sharp knife to trim and tidy the edges while the pastry is still warm (you can leave them too for a more rustic effect!) and set aside.
- Meanwhile, for the filling, bring the cream, butter and vanilla extract to just under a simmer in a saucepan - you want to see small bubbles around the rim of the pan but it should not boil.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place into a large bowl. Pour over the cream mixture allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk slowly until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, dark and glossy.
- Pour the chocolate mixture carefully and slowly into the tart case, gently shake the tin to pop any large air bubbles, and use a skewer or toothpick to pop any smaller ones - this will give you a nice, smooth surface. Place in the fridge to set for at least two hours.
- Top with fruit of your choice, and slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water between cuts. Serve thin slices, with whipped cream.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 763Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 6gSugar: 27gProtein: 10g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do I have to chill the pastry before I blind bake it?
Chilling the pastry really well before blind baking will help to ensure it doesn’t shrink, if you are in a rush, put the pastry lined tart tin in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before baking. If the pastry is super cold before baking it drastically reduces the chances of it shrinking while it cooks.
I don’t want to make pastry. How do I make a biscuit crust?
To make a quick biscuit crust, crush 250g plain chocolate biscuits (Oreos, Cameo Creams etc) in the food processor or in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin. Stir together with 125g melted, unsalted butter, then press firmly into the tin. Bake in a 180°C / 350° F / Gas 4 oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool completely before filling.
Can I add other flavourings to the tart?
Try adding a tablespoon of rum, brandy or liqueur to the cream for an extra flavour kick! Peppermint schnapps or essence will make this a refreshing after-dinner mint treat.