Nadine Ingram: Chocolate Tart RECIPE

52:04  |  Chocolate Tart
Recipe by Nadine Ingram

Makes 1 large tart case or 8 x 10 cm individual tart cases

Sweet Pastry
350 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into large dice
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
50 g caster sugar
80 ml milk
500 g plain flour
good pinch of salt

Chocolate Mousse
300 g good-quality dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
170 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
50 g caster sugar
Cocoa powder, for dusting

Make the pastry the day before and allow it to rest overnight. The caramel can also be made up to 4 days before you bake the tart.

Sweet Pastry

1. Remove the butter from the fridge half an hour before you start to make the pastry so that it is not completely hard and unmanageable.

2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and milk by hand in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Tip the flour onto your work surface, add the salt and scatter the butter over the top. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, or if you have a pastry cutter use it to ‘chop’ the butter into the flour. Ordinarily with something like scones you would continue to work in the butter until it feels like fine breadcrumbs, but here we are looking to keep the butter lumpy throughout the pastry. Work quickly to keep the pastry cold, especially if you have hot hands, leaving lumps of butter the size of small olives in the flour.

4. Make a well in the centre of the butter and flour, then pour the egg mixture into the well. Use your fingertips to gradually pull flour from the outside into the well until all the liquid has been absorbed. Now work on those butter lumps. Push the heel of your hand away from you in a sweeping motion, isolating the butter lumps and flattening them into ribbons throughout the pastry. This process shortens the pastry, works the protein and forms a structure around the butter (the steam component in the pastry), which will later form the support for the flaky layers of the pastry. If we were to leave them as lumps they would just melt into holes. Take care not to overwork the flour and butter as this will cause shrinkage from stretching the protein.

5. Press the dough together and form it into a flat rectangle about 3 cm high (that way, when you roll the pastry later you won’t need to work it as much to flatten it). Wrap it in plastic film, then rest the dough in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours before using it.

6. This recipe can be doubled and frozen so next time you need sweet pastry all you need to do is take a block from the freezer the day before and thaw it in the fridge overnight.

Note: Look for butter with a high water content as this will produce the best steam, which in turn will make better flaky layers throughout the pastry.

Chocolate Mousse

1. Dust your work surface with a light coating of flour, pop the block of pastry in the middle and sprinkle the top with more flour so the rolling pin doesn’t stick to the pastry. Roll out the pastry to form a 5 mm thick circle that is 5 cm wider (all the way around) than your tart ring. If the outer edge of your pastry starts to crack just stick it back together with your fingertips and continue rolling with no fear. Using the tart ring as a template, place it in the middle of the pastry and cut around it with a small knife, making it 3 cm larger than the ring all the way around. Discard the surplus pastry. Lift the ring away but keep it nearby.

2. The sweet pastry will be fairly soft now and difficult to manoeuvre, so I’m going to talk you through the easiest way to get it into the tart ring without it breaking. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin: to do this, lift an edge of the pastry onto the pin, then roll it up like a Swiss roll. Place the tart ring in front of you, then unroll the pastry over the top. The surplus edges of the pastry will start to drape over the ring now so work quickly to gently tuck them back inside. Press the pastry into the bottom and sides of the ring but leave about 1 cm of pastry sitting above the rim. Place the untrimmed pastry case in the fridge to rest overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.

3. The following day, preheat the oven to 150C.

4. Remove the tart case from the fridge and use a knife blade to slice the excess pastry from above the rim of the ring. Allowing the pastry to rest overnight without trimming reduces any shrinkage that might have occurred if you’d trimmed it immediately after rolling the pastry out. Line the pastry case with a circle of baking paper or foil and fill with baking beads. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until pale golden. Take the tart case out of the oven and remove the baking beads and paper or foil. Leave the oven on but reduce the temperature to 120C.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 120C.

6. Chop the chocolate and butter into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and combined.

7. Meanwhile, place the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed for 10 minutes or until pale and fluffy and doubled in volume. It is important that the chocolate is kept warm while the eggs are whisking – if it is allowed to cool the chocolate may seize when added to the eggs.

8. Remove the bowl from the machine. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate all at once and gently fold through until there are no more streaks in the mousse.

9. Pour the mousse INTO THE TART CASE and smooth the surface with a palette knife until it is flat. Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes. Test the chocolate mousse for readiness by pressing the centre with your finger. If it springs back slightly, it’s cooked! If you see the outside edges of the chocolate mousse starting to soufflé (rise) during baking, turn the oven down to 100C. The slower the better at this stage, otherwise the edge of the mousse will crack and the centre will be undercooked.

10. Remove the tart from the oven and cool for a minimum of 2 hours before cutting. If you are in a hurry (and this is perfectly understandable) you can speed things up by chilling the tart in the fridge for 15 minutes only (no longer).

11. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

12. This tart will keep for 2 days at room temperature. Don’t store it in the fridge as this will alter all the textures and it won’t be nearly as delicious

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