Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fifteen chocolate tart

I might as well own up: I don't have a very sweet tooth. This seems to be something of an oddity in the world of people who like food: food blogs tend to include a lot of elaborate sweet concoctions, the like of which I would probably be unable to reproduce anyway. I would love to be able to surprise people with my culinary and artistic flair but I can barely draw in 2 dimensions, let alone produce three-dimensional works of edible art. I am reassured by Jamie's intro to the desserts chapter, where he suggests to the over-ambitious home cook that it is best to start with understanding the basics and not to be too clever. I think that this is particularly true in desserts because you can go to a shop and buy professional desserts - it's nice to see something a bit homely too, the kind of thing you want to eat as well as gaze at. My problem with desserts is mainly that I like the idea of them and not the reality - I am not keen on meringue (and thus pavlova), pannacotta, cheesecakes full of fruit, sticky toffee pudding, Bakewell tart... the list goes on. It isn't that I don't like them - I just can't really be bothered to eat them, as I explained to my brother yesterday. We are engaged in a friendly battle as to which of us is the pickier eater: his dislikes include various vegetables and offal; mine, apart from raw tomatoes, mainly involve desserts, but in fact it's only raw tomatoes that I actually wouldn't eat (and even then I have done...). Conscious that Simon has eaten scallops and mussels as part of this project, I hereby solemnly declare to try all the desserts in this book - who knows? - maybe it will make me a dessert-lover. (This in itself is a bit worrying - I have enough vices already).

I don't need to make myself eat chocolate though - on the contrary. I have already raved about chocolate and I don't need to repeat myself ad nauseum; suffice it to say that there is always chocolate in the house, always dark, and usually Green and Blacks or Cote d'Or. It is unsurprising that Fifteen chocolate tart attracted me immediately when I opened the book. The problem was a) I didnt have a large enough tin and b) OK, I'll admit it -I was scared of making chocolate pastry. I have made pastry before, but I usually make shortcrust; sweet short crust is somewhat scarier already and as for a chocolatey version... Still, I didn't let the tin size deter me - I just used my smaller tin and didn't use all the pastry and made less filling - and I decided to forget the possibility of disaster and just make the tart, no-fuss.

Pastry: to make the pastry, I mixed unsalted butter, sugar and a pinch of salt, then folded in flour, orange zest (this is optional but I love the choc-orange combo and couldn't resist), eggs and cocoa powder, worked it into a dough, wrapped it in cling film and refrigerated it for an hour. I then rolled it out and lined the tin, leaving it in the freezer for half an hour.

While I blind baked the pastry for 12-15 minutes, I made the filling. I brought milk, cream and sugar to the boil, stirring gently, took the mixture off the heat and added broken-up dark chocolate, whisking till smooth, then 2 eggs, and whisked again. I filled the pastry case and baked for 15 minutes, at which point the filling was still a bit wobbly. I obeyed Jamie's instruction not to overcook it and ignored the wobble - it firmed beautifully as it cooled down.

You can see from the above pic that my tart is a bit rustic-looking (home-made, one might say). That is probably because I didn't line the tin particularly fussily - I could have done, but I was in something of a hurry because I needed to make the tart to use the oven for something else. Anyway here is a piece:

I can hardly begin to describe how good this tart is. The orange really comes through in the chocolate pastry and makes it oddly refreshing as well as chocolatey - the pastry is delicious indeed. The filling is a sort of tart version of ganache and thus is unsurprisingly gorgeous. I would say that this tart is pretty rich; Jamie suggests serving it with creme fraiche but I only had natural yoghurt and it was a magic combination. This is an absolutely divine tart and everyone should try it.


Gravy Queen said...

Oh. My . God

That looks amazing, keep on cooking girl you are such an inspiration!!!


PS I can't keep up with you am lagging behind pathetically!

Anonymous said...

This looks sooo dreamy, enough to make anyone forget temple mode and dive right back into swamp mode!! When am I coming over for dinner????!!

julie said...

It looks truly delicious! Chocolate heaven!

annauk said...

It looks amazing, well done!!

Ilana said...

That's a beautiful tart! Well done. I think it's cool how you got over your pastry fears and dived right in.



Jamie said...

This is such an interesting, well written blog! Shame you seem to have stopped the updates though :-(

I stumbled upon it after trying to do my own chocolate tart, and finding some of the quantities in the recipe to be frankly quite ridiculous! I could have made 3 tarts, albeit with my slightly smaller baking tin. It was nice though, although next time I will buy the best chocolate available.

Anonymous said...

Totaly sisgusting. Pastry overr cooked and filling far to thick and presentation, ha ha. I wouldn't serve it to my dog.

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Anonymous said...

I have made this tart before and it was amazing. Its always good when the pastry looks great :P