I’ve eaten chocolate tart at cafes or restaurants around Perth, but I’ve never found one I was particularly partial to (please leave suggestions in the comments if you have any!). However, I feel chocolate tart is a dessert I should enjoy so I wanted to try to make it myself because in my experience, home-cooked treats often taste better than ones in the cafe!
I have never tried making tart at home, tarts always seemed like too much effort compared to the ease of whipping up a cake or a bunch of muffins. After watching a bunch of talented home cooks make tarts and share tips for tart-making on the Food Network channel, I felt a lot more confident about giving it a go. I got myself a tart pan, sourced a recipe for chocolate tart on Gourmet Traveller and away I went!
I mixed up the pastry, adding lemon, vanilla essence (as a substitute for vanilla pod) and almond meal in the crust. Then, I refrigerated it for a day as I had some social engagements to attend to (however, the recipe recommends you rest it for 1 hour). A trip to a craft store, mask making, spaghetti making and a watching of The Princess and the Frog ensued and by the end of the day I was well and truly tired!
The next morning, I prepared to finish the tart. I removed the flat, hard pastry disc from the fridge, placed it between two lightly floured sheets of baking paper and slowly worked it into a large flat round, applying pressure with a sturdy rolling pin. I eased the pastry over the tart pan, working it into the corners using my fingers then roughly squashing the doughy sides off by pressing it between a fleshy finger and the hard, metal edge of the pan. I then transferred the tart pan into the fridge for another 30 mins of chilling!
After the tart pan finished chilling, I removed it from the fridge, eased a sheet of baking paper into the tart tray and filled it with grains of rice for blind baking (no pictures, too desperate to get it in the oven). In the oven, the edges of tart pastry slowly became golden brown. I removed the rice & baking paper, and left the tart in the oven one more time so the base could also brown up.
After several minutes, I peered into the oven cautiously – the tart was looking solid and finally, the base looked complete! As I went to take the tart out of the oven, I supported it at the base with one hand. This was a huge mistake – the burning hot metal tart sides slid down my arm, and pain signals were sent jolting up into my brain. The sides of the tart pastry collapsed without the support of the metal sides and spilled onto the floor and open oven door!! I yelped, dropped everything and looked dismally at the mess in the kitchen.
I sighed, turned the oven off and scraped all the pieces into the bin. I was determined to get this tart done for the deadline, so I knew that I couldn’t let this disaster discourage me. I put the mistake behind me as a learning experience and started again immediately, mixing the pastry, chilling, rolling, chilling, and baking the tart shell for the second time. I was super careful taking the tart out of the oven the second time and it made the journey to the cooling rack in one piece this time.
Finally, it was time to put together the filling; I roughly chopped into two blocks of dark cooking chocolate. I simmered some cream & milk in a saucepan and added the chocolate and stirred as it melted together, then added yolks to get a glossy, silky mixture. I poured this mix into the cooled tart shell and moved in slow motion toward the oven to avoid spilling the runny chocolate mixture down the sides of the tart pan (I may have added a little too much cream!).
By the way – the whole room smelled of chocolate while I was chopping this; chocolate has such a strong aroma!
After 35 minutes of baking at a lower temperature with the filling, my tart finally firmed up in the oven, wobbling only a little in the middle. I cautiously I removed it, supporting the sides. The surface of the tart ended up looking like an aero bar because I was overzealous mixing in the yolks. No matter, I covered the surface of the tart with some sifted dutch process cocoa.
It was time to slide the metal sides of the tart off again; I nervously pushed it away from the pastry and except for a few little crumbles, it held together. The crumbles tasted like lemony-almondy-goodness. I sliced myself a piece of tart, and salivated with anticipation.
I plated up my tart piece and added some vanilla icecream. It was a bit melty but still delicious and was a perfect complement to the rich, dark flavour of the chocolate filling. I finished my plate and was so happy that finally all the patience I put into chilling pastry endlessly and making two tart shells had finally paid off!
I shared this chocolate tart with my family members and gave the rest to Tom to tote to his friends and family! All seemed to enjoy this, I’d definitely make this recipe again :)
Our challenge for with month was “Snack Food” and Storytelling – I’ve interpreted storytelling to mean that I would need to photograph the process of the tart being made. I’ve also told you the story of the unintentional destruction of tart shell #1, so perhaps that’s another storytelling angle too! Do you think I’ve hit the mark?
Please don’t forget to follow our blog circle around to see what snack Laurie has made, it’s sure to be amazing, she inspires me every month with her food photography! Here: Southern California Food Photographer | Laurie Vengoechea
Hope you enjoyed my tart making adventure,