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Nigel’s Chocolate Cream Tart
Chocolate Cream Tart
by Lucas Hollweg from The Sunday Times Style Magazine
This is like chocolate truffle in a tart. What more encouragement do you need? It’s a fiendishly rich.
Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
1 chilled, uncooked 23cm tart shell
250g dark chocolate (50-70% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp caster sugar
250ml double cream
2 drops vanilla essence
2 tbsp whisky or brandy
1 medium egg, beaten
Cocoa powder for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Remove tart shell from the freezer & bake from frozen on the middle shelf for 15-18 mins, until set (if there are buttery areas, give it 2 or more mins).
3. If the base rises during cooking, just press it down with a tea towel while still hot.
4. Leave to cool, then remove the ring of the tart tin.
5. Meanwhile, break up the chocolate & place in a mixing bowl.
6. In a saucepan, heat the sugar & cream together until almost boiling, then pour the mixture over the chocolate.
7. Stir rapidly until the chocolate is melted & smooth, then stir in the vanilla, booze & egg until velvety.
8. Pour into the baked tart shell, level out the surface, then bake at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, in a preheated oven, for 12 mins until just set.
9. Remove from the oven & allow to cool to just above room temp; it will firm up a bit as it cools.
10. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.
11. This is scrumptious with whipped cream (yes, more cream) into which you have stirred a little orange zest & a tiny squeeze of orange juice; blood orange is nice.
Add 1 tsp of Earl Grey Tea Leaves to the cream & sugar, bring to the boil (as in point 6), leave to stand for 5 mins, before straining through a sieve onto the chocolate. Leave out the vanilla essence & alcohol & stir in 2-3 tsps of orange blossom water instead. Then proceed as above.
The Sweet Pastry Shell
Lines a 23cm / 9” tart tin, 3.5cm deep, comfortably.
Prep time: 20 mins + 1hr in fridge
125g butter, cut into small cubes
100g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 drops vanilla essence
250g plain flour
Small pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp milk (if needed)
1. In a mixing bowl, squidge together the butter & icing sugar with your fingertips until well combined & smooth.
2. Add the egg yolks & vanilla & mix in well with a spoon.
3. Sift in the flour & salt on top, then rub the mixture between your fingertips, drawing in the flour, until it has the texture of coarse, cloddy breadcrumbs (make sure there are no greasy lumps of butter left.)
4. Press the clods together with your hands to form a smooth dough ball (if it’s too dry, add a little milk). Don’t overwork the dough or the pastry will be tough.
6. Shape into a log, wrap in clingfilm & place in the fridge for 1 hour.
7. Use a 23cm (9”) tart tin with a removable base.
8. You can roll your dough out, but it is a bit of a fiddle. The simplest way is to slice off pieces, 5mm thick, cutting lengthways along the log.
9. Arrange these around the sides & over the base of the tart tin.
10. Push the pieces together with your fingers until the tin is covered & there are no visible joins.
11. Try to make the pastry as even as possible, & trim neatly around the rim with a knife.
12. You will have some pastry left over – you could use this for a couple of tartlets.
13. Prick the base of the pastry shell all over with a fork, then place it in its tin in the freezer for at least 1hr or until needed.
Nigel's Top Tips
• If you haven't got, or don't want to invest in orange blossom water, use an orange flavoured dark chocolate, there are some great ones around, or add orange zest.
• If the pastry base rises during cooking, just press it down with a tea towel while still hot.
• Lucas says "all that stuff about cool hands & a warm heart is rubbish".
• If you are averse to using eggs for your pastry, or simply don't have any, don't panic. Just add a couple of tablespoons of water to maintain the moisture level.