This is by far the best pastry I’ve made. So wish I could take credit for the recipe. But no, that’s not the case. Actually, the pastry for my Bakewell tartlets is probably better (by the same writer), even though it’s more difficult to manage. This is easier. But I can’t stress enough the need for absolute restraint when dealing with this. As, if you’re heavy-handed with this pastry at all, it’ll turn out – like most pastry I’ve eaten in the past – like cardboard. This time around I’ve managed to grab a couple of photos of how the pastry looks at differing stages. Hopefully I’ll be able to grab more photos, as I’ll be making this often. And it was perfect, after all, for using with my stainless steel sundae dishes for the pudding pies below (the same recipe as last time, excepting differing fruit). Ah hah, well, almost. The pastry will have to be blind baked to be able to use them. But with muffin cases filled with baking beans it’s not so much hassle. It must be something to do with the shiny s/s deflecting heat, so they’re not baking as well as my ceramic coated baking tray. Still delicious. And would be perfect as a dessert on cold nights served with thin custard. Anyway, I’m not going with that recipe again. Here, it’s about the chocolate tart, that just so happens to have walnuts. With coffee, I’d be perfectly happy with just a slice of the chocolate tart (without the walnuts).
Chocolate Tart with Walnuts
Pastry recipe based on: Fig Sly Cakes (p226) by Elizabeth Ray from Good Housekeeping’s Country Cooking
- The recipe below for the pastry will make enough for 2 tarts. If 2 tarts are needed then double the filling recipe.
- The measurements of flan dish used: 20cm or 7&3/4 inch in diameter.
For the pastry:
- 275g (9.700 oz) x plain (AP) flour, sieved
- 50g (1.764 oz) x icing sugar, sieved
- 1/4 x teaspoon table salt
- 200g (7.055 oz) x unsalted butter (at room temperature), cubed + extra for greasing flan dish
- 4 – 6 x teaspoons milk
For the chocolate filling:
- 50g (1.764 oz) x unsalted butter
- 50g (1.764 oz) x icing sugar
- 50g (1.764 oz) x 85% cocoa dark chocolate
- 1 x tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 x tablespoon unrefined dark muscovado sugar
- 2 x medium organic eggs, beaten and poured through a fine mesh sieve
- 2 x tablespoons milk
- up to 100g (3.527 oz) x walnut pieces
Measurements within brackets directly above are only intended as a guide – they have not been tested.
- Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle over the salt and whisk to combine. Add the butter, and using a pastry blender mash the butter a few times, then scoop underneath the flour mixture and bring that up to the top of mixture. Repeat this process a few times (the flour mixture should look like rough breadcrumbs – see photo below), but don’t overwork this pastry at any stage. And try and keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Drizzle over a couple of teaspoons of milk, and using an eating knife cut this through fairly gently. Add a little more milk, if necessary, just to get this to start clumping fairly heavily around the knife itself. And it should start to feel kind of sticky. It’s not even necessary at this stage to bring this dough into a ball. Leave in a cold place for about an hour.
- When the pastry is needed dust a suitable counter liberally with flour, as well as your hands and rolling pin. Gently bring the pastry dough together in its bowl. The pastry should feel sticky at this stage but will probably look very dry (see photo below). Don’t be tempted to add more milk, unless the pastry won’t clump together between your fingers. If more milk is needed only add a teaspoon at a time.
- Grab about half of the pastry only and bring it together into a loose ball. Don’t press on this dough at this stage at all.
- Place the ‘half’ ball on the dusted counter, and using both hands cup this as if making a snowball. Then start to gently press with your knuckles of one hand to create a disc shape (see photo below), keeping the other hand turning the pastry as you go. It doesn’t have to be a particular thickness.
- Scrape underneath with a slice (lifting the pastry up and dusting underneath if necessary) and dust the surface lightly with more flour. Roll out to a thickness of about 4 mm or 0.157 inch. As I’m using a mat for the pastry all I do is place the dish upside down and lift both it and the mat as quickly as possible and invert, place back on the counter and then gently drape the edges of the pastry into the dish itself. Holding on to the edges of the pastry I work my way around the dish by gently pressing in with my index finger into the edges of dish to make sure that the pastry fits quite snug. Then any excess pastry is sliced off with a paring knife.
- Grease your baking / flan dish liberally with butter. Preheat oven to 175°C or 347°F.
- For the filling, add the butter to a large saucepan over low heat only. Break in the chocolate and allow it to start to melt. Sprinkle over the sugars and cocoa powder and stir through.
- After beating the eggs pour them into a fine mesh sieve sitting on and over a separate bowl. Scrape underneath the sieve as well but don’t rub the eggs through.
- Allow the butter mixture to cool sufficiently before adding the eggs. When those are added simply stir well to combine. Add half the milk, stir through, and only add more milk if this mixture is too thick.
- Once the oven has preheated pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry case, making sure it’s level by tapping the dish gently on the counter which will release any bubbles. Scatter over the walnuts.
- Bake in the centre of a preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes until nicely puffed on top (the filling will deflate and level off when cooled).
- Allow to cool completely before serving.
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