Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Simple Chocolate Tart

I don't know about you guys, but to me, the sight of a patisserie with shelves full of fruit tarts is enough to make me swoon with pleasure, and want to jump on the first plane to Europe. Crisp tart shell, sweet pastry cream and fruit arranged beautifully on top. This month, thanks to the Daring Bakers, I learnt what the Italian  term is for this: Crostata di frutta fresca. How cool is that? Doesn't it make you want to say it over and over again? Preferably while eating some of said crostata? Also, sweet short crust pastry is called pasta frolla. I don't think I'll say short crust pastry ever again, when I can say pasta frolla.

Easy to make too. Tart shell, pastry cream, or even some sweetened mascarpone, topped with beautiful fruit. Except I've never actually made one. And I'll tell you immediately why not: it's the blind baking bit. I once made a chocolate pecan tart which required blind baking. It turned out absolutely delicious, except it was so fiddly I wasn't keen to repeat the experience anytime soon.

Then I came across somebody called Jamie Oliver. Baby Brother and I were in Amsterdam, taking a break from drinking coffee and looking at Van Gogh, and found ourselves in an english bookstore. The title caught my eye: The Naked Chef. I'm sorry to say I couldn't take the book off the shelf quickly enough. After the initial disappointment of not seeing any beautiful naked men, I realised that the recipes are actually pretty good, and I bought the book. Back home I realised the man is actually world famous, his recipes are great, and I started cooking. One recipe I've always wanted to try, but somehow never got around to, was his Simple Chocolate Tart. Chocolate, pastry, cream. Say no more. And to make things better, he believes that if you put your pastry in the freezer before baking, you don't have to do the whole baking paper-and-beans-thing. I was sold. And when this Daring Bakers challenge came around, I decided to make, among others, this chocolate tart. I also wanted to do the whole mascarpone cream and beautiful fruit tart, as well as a cooked pastry cream one featured in the challenge. Then I sort of lost track of time, and this morning realised with a shock that posting date is today. Hence, I present you Simple Chocolate Tart. And nothing else. Hopefully I'll get round to them sometime soon.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Pasta frolla

1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar, or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.

Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).

Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.

Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.

Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Line your tart tin with the chilled dough, making sure it is as even as possible. Wrap the tin in plastic, then put in the freezer for at least an hour.

Bake the tart shell straight from the freezer at 180°C for 15 minutes. Cool.

Simple Chocolate Tart

1 tart shell, baked blind
300ml  double cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
115g softened butter
450g dark chocolate, broken up
100ml milk
cocoa powder for dusting

Place the double cream and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture has boiled, remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir until it has completely melted. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring in the cold milk until smooth and shiny. Scrape all the mixture into the cooked and cooled pastry shell with a spatula. Shake tart to even it out, and allow to cool for around 1-2 hours until room temperature. Dust with cocoa powder. Ultimately the pastry should be short and crisp and the filling should be smooth and should cut like butter.


  1. I love Jamie Oliver his is very famous in Australia also. Your crostata is gorgeous and glad to hear that the freezing the dough worked so well for you. Excellent effort on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Sug. Nou gaan ek vanaand aan niks buiten daai sjokoladetert kan dink nie. Dit lyk pragtig.

  3. Oooh that looks yum! The chocolate must have paired awesomely with the pasta frolla. (which is now my new fav pastry. How could it not be?)

  4. Jippieeeeeeee! 2 redes vir die vreugde: jy is terug online met jou rubrieke en uiteindelik is die Grace Kelly van chocolate terte gefeature!! xxA