Sometimes you gotta make a tart
Sometimes I will see a recipe for a dessert so spectacularly wonderful that I just have to make it despite knowing that the process will be a continual uphill battle. This particular dessert that I am sharing with you today is a really good example. It’s in the middle of summer in Adelaide, and we are experiencing typical heatwave conditions where temperatures are up around the mid-40’s (close to 110˚F), so it’s reasonably hot. In weather conditions like this, there are certain things one should not make. Shortcrust pastry is one of those things. It was already 34˚C by 10am when I decided to roll out my pastry, so you can imagine the difficulties I had handling it and lining my tart tin with it. It was almost melting in my hands. Not in the mood to be defeated by Mother Nature, I pushed through the heat, made some adjustments to my technique of rolling the pastry and lining the tart tin, and managed to produce my desired dessert. But that wasn’t the only thing that was making my life difficult. As the mercury crept higher, there was still the task of baking the pastry shell and making the tart filling over a hot stove. By this point, I was sweating so much that I had to ask my DBF to take over making the tart filling so I could change out of my sweat soaked clothes – ewwwwww. When I pulled the tart out of the oven, I stood there staring at it, hoping that the couple of litres of fluid that I sweated out and the resulting hyperthermia was worth it. As I plunged my fork into a piece of the tart and hit the delightfully short pastry, a smile broke out on my face. This was looking good! When I tasted the soft and gooey filling, I squealed with happiness! It was amazing!!!! I’m so thankful that, after working through horrid baking conditions, the tart turned out wonderfully delicious. So, if you’re thinking of making this tart for yourself, don’t do what I did and make it whilst the fires of hell are burning outside. Wait for a more climatically appropriate day. This tart serves 8 to 10 people.
Melty hot chocolate tart soufflé
450g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
225g unsalted butter, chopped
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
Chocolate shortcrust pastry
125g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
90g icing sugar, sifted
30g almond meal
150g plain flour, sifted
100g Dutch-process cocoa
The pastry needs to rest in the fridge overnight, so start this recipe a day before you want to serve it. To make the pastry, chuck the butter, egg, icing sugar and almond meal into the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, and mix until smooth and combined (I used setting 2 on the KitchenAid).
Sift together the flour and cocoa into a bowl and mix until combined. Add the flour a little at a time to the butter mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Stop mixing, and turn the pastry out onto some cling warp. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap it up and chuck into the fridge to rest overnight. Pull the pastry out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling.
Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper that has been lightly floured (this technique of rolling saved my butt in the heat), until it is about 4mm thick. Line the base and sides of a 3cm deep, 23cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin with a removable base with pastry. Use a knife to trim the excess pastry. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and whack it back into the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190˚C (fan-forced). Line the pastry shell with some baking paper and fill with baking weights (or whatever you usually use for blind baking, e.g. dried beans or rice), and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 180˚C (fan-forced), remove the weights from the pastry shell then bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the shell is dry.
To make the filling, heat the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, otherwise the chocolate will burn! Stir every now and again until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Pull the bowl off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
In another heatproof bowl, add the eggs, yolks and caster sugar, and place the bowl over the saucepan of just simmering water. Once again, ensure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water, unless you want really sweet scrambled eggs! Whisk the mixture until it’s thick and holds a trail when you move the whisk through the mixture. Pull the bowl off the heat and gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until well combined (you may need an extra pair of hands to help you with this step).
Pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry shell. Pop it back into the oven and bake for about 18 minutes or until it has just set. The middle of the tart should be soft and gooey. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature before serving with a dollop of whipped cream.
Note: I haven’t made any changes to the original recipe, but if you would like to see the original recipe, it’s in the February 2014 issue of Taste.com.au which is currently on sale. If you do buy this issue, please note that the recipe does have an omission in the shortcrust pastry recipe – they forgot to include the cocoa. It was fortunate that I had Manu Feildel’s cookbook, Manu’s French Kitchen, whose tart recipe was featured in Taste.com.au, and I was able to get the details of the missing ingredient. Manu’s cookbook has a wonderful range of French recipes (a few I have tried already), so I highly recommend getting it if you love French Food!
Edit: I emailed the team at Taste.com.au and they have sent me the link to the recipe online which includes the missing ingredient. Click here for the complete recipe. Thanks Taste.com.au!