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Our Chef's Recipes

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Makes a 23 cm (9 in.) tart

For the pastry shell

  • 1 plump vanilla bean
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 60 gm ( ½ cup) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tabs whole blanched almonds
  • 100 gm ( ¾ cup) plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 70 gm (5 tabs) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling

  • ¾ cup double cream
  • a third of a cup of milk
  • 200 gm (7oz.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 50 gm (5 tabs) chopped orange peel, optional
  • ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder for sifting

To make the pastry shell

Flatten the vanilla bean and cut it in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the egg yolks and stir to blend.

In a food processor, combine the sugar and almonds and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and process to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the dough just about begins to hold together; do not over process – the dough should not form a ball. Gently pat the dough into a disc, handling it as little as possible. Wrap dough in wax paper and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hr or overnight.

Butter the bottom and side of a 23 cm (9in) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 28 cm (11in) round. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and gently press the dough against the side, allowing about 1 cm (½ in) to hang over the rim. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork.
Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Set the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for about 5 mins. just until the pastry begins to firm up. Remove from the oven and, with a sharp knife, carefully cut off and discard the overhanging pastry to make a smooth, even rim. Return the shell to the oven and bake for about 15- 20 mins longer until the pastry is well browned all over.

Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before filling. Leave the oven on.

To make the filling

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the egg until thoroughly blended. Stir in the candid orange peel.

Pour the custard into the pastry shell and bake in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 mins, or until the filling is almost set but still trembling in the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sift the cocoa powder over the tart and serve warm or at room temperature. It is also delicious served chilled.