Chocolate Tart

IMG_3251This is the best ever chocolate tart…and I mean EVER! A crispy shell forms on top and then opens up to a soft, but not gooey, chocolate centre before you hit the crisp pastry that lies beneath. It is absolutely divine served with vanilla ice cream – or you may prefer cream.
If you’ve never made your own pastry before now is the time to start. Don’t be daunted by it, it’s really quite simple. I use this recipe whenever a sweet pastry shell is required, it works time and time again. It can be made by hand but I prefer to use my food processor. The trick with pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible, you need to keep your hot little hands away from the buttery goodness. In the food processor you really don’t need to make any contact with it at all. If making it by hand, just work quickly and in a cool area. If you’re making pastry on a hot day you’ll need luck on your side.
I think I initially pulled the pastry recipe from a cookbook called The Food of France – it’s an excellent book. The tart filling is from Delicious. Wicked Desserts.
Serves 8

Sweet pastry
340g plain flour
pinch of salt
90g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter
2 eggs beaten
Chocolate tart filling
150g dark chocolate (55% cocoa)
120g unsalted butter, chopped and chilled
5 eggs
220g caster sugar
70g plain flour, sifted

For the pastry, in a food processor whizz up flour, salt and icing sugar until well combined. Add the butter, make sure it’s chilled, and pulse until the dough reaches a consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and process until just combined, be careful not to over process it. If making by hand, combine flour salt and icing sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the consistency of breadcrumbs. Stir through the eggs. At this point it is the same for both methods. Turn the dough out onto the bench and knead for about 15 seconds until smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Tip: If you want to work quicker with your dough flatten the dough into a disc to chill it down quicker.
IMG_3243 IMG_3247While the dough is resting grease a 24cm loose bottomed tart pan and preheat the oven to 180°C. Make sure you get into all the grooves if using a fluted tin. Once the dough has rested remove it from the fridge and begin to roll it out on a floured bench top. Again, try to work quickly. Once it has reached the desired thickness, about 4mm, roll the dough up onto your rolling pin to loosely place over the tart pan. Ease the dough into the pan, try not to stretch the dough at all, and gently push it into place making sure the pastry comes into contact will the entirety of the pan. Trim the excess dough about 1cm above the edge of the pan, the pastry has a tendency to shrink which this will allow for. Place back in the fridge to rest for another 10 minutes, longer on a hot day.
Once rested remove from the fridge and fill with baking weights (or rice), using a sheet of baking paper as a barrier. This will ensure your pastry doesn’t puff and rise when you don’t want it to. Blind bake for 10 minus, remove the paper and the weights and bake for another 10 minutes. It is cooked once the pastry has taken on a matt look and there are no shiny bits left. Remove from the oven and it is ready to be filled.
To make the filling place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter. Wait until half the chocolate has melted before stirring it. Remove from the heat and set aside. In another heatproof bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar and place over the simmering water. Whisk continuously until thick, this can take a while. Once you lift some of the mixture out main part and it drizzles back in leaving an indentation it is done. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and finally the flour.
IMG_3248Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for 20 minutes or until just set – when you put your finger gently on top you shouldn’t get too much of a wobble.
Serve warm or at room temperature and definitely with vanilla ice cream, or cream if you must.

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