Chocolate Tart

Chocolate FlanThis is a straightforward recipe to follow but makes a stunning indulgent dessert than cannot fail to impress unless you encounter that rare creature  – someone who doesn’t like chocolate. I recently made this quantity and it served 8 happy people with a ‘cooks’ portion left over for me to scoff later after everyone had gone.

The base is pate sucree and baked blind. When cooled a plain chocolate ganache is poured in and allowed to set. Not exactly ‘light’ on calories but a perfect occasional treat – great for a dinner party as it can be prepared in advance.

For this recipe I used a 23cm (9 inch) diameter loose bottomed flan tin with approx. 2.5 cm (1inch) high side.

Tart Case
I made pate sucree using ingredients the following proportions:

280g plain white flour
200g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into dice
100g icing sugar
2 large free range egg yolks
pinch salt

Sieve flour, salt and icing sugar together then quickly and lightly rub in the butter on a clean, smooth work surface. When all the butter is combined to form varying sizes of crumb make a ‘well’ in the centre of the pile of crumbs and add the egg yolks. Mix the crumbs into the eggs with your fingertips and draw in all the crumbs. Pull together into a lump then smear the paste with the heel of your hand a couple of times to make sure the butter is evenly distributed. Don’t overwork. When it looks a uniform colour pat it into a smooth block, wrap it in cling film and put in the refrigerator until you need it (at least 30 mins but you can prepare it the day before).

Roll out to approx. 4mm thick and line the flan tin, don’t trim the edges yet, leave some excess pastry so you can trim it neatly after chilling. Prick all over the bottom with a fork. Put into the fridge again and chill for at least 30 mins. Remove from fridge and trim pastry edges. Crumple a piece of baking parchment, flatten it slightly and place on the pastry  base of the flan, fill with baking beads (I’ve seen Heston Blumenthal recommend that you use one pound coins instead as they transmit the heat better – I’ve tried this and it works but I never have enough change to be able to always do this… my 5 year old reusable black-eyed baking beans are cheaper).  Put into the pre-heated oven at 190°C for 20 mins. remove the beans and parchment and return case to the oven for a further 10 mins to cook the base. Remove from oven and gently remove from the flan tin when cool enough to handle.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

375ml double cream
300g plain chocolate – min. 70% cocoa solid, broken into evenly-sized pieces
75g unsalted butter, diced
40g liquid glucose

Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan, remove from heat immediately, add chocolate and stir gently but throughly until combined. Add glucose and stir in then finally add the butter and stir again. Do all this fairly quickly so the ganache retains some of its fluidity. If you allow it to cool too much it makes it difficult to pour. Finally pour into the completely cooled pastry case and leave to cool. When it has reached room temperature put into the fridge to chill thoroughly.

You can flavour the ganache with a splosh of brandy, spiced rum or Tia Maria before adding the butter if you want to make it a more grown-up dessert.

I’ll work out how many calories are in this tart and update this post with it later…or maybe I just won’t for this one :-)