Today, for something completely different, I am going to tell you how to make a lovely pudding (British for dessert) called Chocolate Tart. It is tremendously fun to make and nice to serve at a dinner party. Incidentally, although I think it a mistake to ask men out on dates or bring them baking, I cannot see anything wrong with inviting them to dinner parties of four or more.
This recipe is based on one from my baking bible Great British Puddings by Mary and Debbie Smith. It is a lie that British cuisine is terrible. British puddings have always been wonderful, and Britain had a food revolution in the 1950s that taught everyone not to boil their veggies to mush and their meat to string.
For this recipe you will need a 9 inch fluted tin tart with a removeable bottom, greaseproof paper (I use brown wrapping paper) and baking beans--either dried real ones or ceramic ones. A kitchen scales would be handy. Every cook in Britain has a scales. Mine is a big pink retro one.
The recipe has three parts: pastry, filling and meringue. It involves three separate bakings at gradually lower temperatures.
6 oz plain white flour (in Canada, Poland and the USA use pastry flour)
4 oz cold butter
2 oz caster (fine) sugar
3 oz finely chopped roasted hazelnuts (ground almonds will do)
1 small egg yolk
4 oz (a 100g bar) dark chocolate, broken up
16 fl oz (2 cups) cold milk
2 oz plain white flour (better use pastry flour in Canada, Poland and USA)
pinch of salt
2 oz caster sugar
big pinch cinnamon
1 oz butter
4 medium egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 tbsp rum
4 medium egg whites
4 oz caster sugar
Making the Pastry
1. Wash and flour your hands.
2. Cut the butter into small pieces and then chop into the flour with two dinner knives until mixture has an oatmeal-like consistency. If this takes too long, get your fingers in there and squish the mixture to your will.
3. Stir in the sugar and the hazelnuts.
4. Drop in the egg yolk and mix it around and around with a knife. Then get your clean, floured hands in there and squish mixture into dough.
5. Drop half-formed dough onto floured board and knead until smooth.
6. Stick dough ball into the fridge for half an hour.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Roll pastry into a round, drop it into your tart tin, press sides into the fluting with the floured stick end of a wooden spoon, prick all over with a fork, line bottom with greaseproof paper and pour in baking beans to cover. Trim any edges that stick out over the tin with a sharp knife.
9. Put tart tin in the oven for 10 minutes. Then take the paper and beans off, and return tart tin to over for 5 more minutes.
Voila! Beautiful pie case. Take it out of the over, but leave it in the tin. Turn oven down to 325 degrees F.
Making the Filling
1. Put chocolate, milk, flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon into heavy bottomed saucepan and melt over low heat while stirring. Stir until smooth.
2. Simmer for two minutes. This will thicken it up nicely.
3. Remove from heat, mix in butter, and leave to cool a wee bit. It will thicken more.
4. Add the egg yolks and the rum. Stir.
5. Pour into the pastry case and put carefully (loose bottom!) into the oven for 15 minutes.
Making the Meringue Top
1. Put your four egg-whites (absolutely free from even the tiniest bit of yolk) into a cold bowl and whisk them until they are stiff (will make peaks) but not dry. If you are doing this by hand it could take five minutes. Il faut souffrir pour etre belle. Whiskie, whiskie, whiskie.
2. When there are peaks, whisk in half the sugar.
3. Fold in the rest with a spoon.
4. When the 15 minutes of baking are up, carefully take your precious pie out of the oven and pour the meringue over it. Start from the middle and cover to the very edges of the pastry to create a seal. Turn the oven down to 300F.
5. Carefully put tart back into the oven and bake for another half an hour. The meringue will turn a golden brown colour.
When it is cool enough, carefully pop it up out of the tart tin collar and slide it onto a plate. Serve at room temperature with single (light) cream or ice cream the day it is made. Eat the leftovers for breakfast.
This tart has the power to make even the most hardened of bachelors reflect that although he would rather die, marriage might not be so bad for other chaps.