All it takes are a few friends for dinner and before you know it, my culinary mojo is back! Readers of the previous post will understand that kitchen libido has been a little low of late. Anyway with motivation at an all time high, I decide that dinner isn’t quite enough- this would be a perfect time to experiment with the dark art of pastry making.
You may chuckle but pastry, like mayonnaise has been my kitchen nemesis. I am not sure how and this may be a case of mild paranoia but my emotional being has a direct effect on my baking and mayonnaise experiments i.e. if I am tired, stressed, anxious, tearful, frustrated or generally an emotional wreck than I should stay well clear of baking and mayo activities. Disaster often ensues. Dramatic? don’t deny it you’ve been there too. So why is pastry a dark art? Well if mayo making and baking are sensitized to my emotional well-being, god only knows how pastry would react.
On the whole I am a fairly logically person. You would think that in order to make pastry I would ensure that I would be in a positive, relaxed frame of mind. Clearly I am not as sensible as originally thought. Unfortunately due to a looming redundancy I’ve been under a little pressure of late, emotions are running high. So with this in mind you would think I would stay well clear of baking, pastry and mayonnaise.
Recklessly I decided that I would liberate myself from my pastry fear. I looked the recipe straight in the, well, picture and channeled my melancholy mood into beating pastry into submission, creating a delicious desert. Silky chocolate & raspberry tart. The recipe was really simple to follow and like a good friend it guided me through the process.
For the pastry you need patience, room in the fridge and a G & T. You will also need 175g plain flour, 25g coco powder, 50g icing sugar, 100g chilled unsalted butter, 1 medium egg yolk and 4 tsp cold water. Sift the flour, sugar and coco powder before putting it into the food processor. Add the small cubes of chilled butter to the flour mixture until you get a consistency of fine bread crumbs. Add the beaten egg yolk and enough chilled water until the mixture starts to stick together. Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Once chilled roll the pastry out so that you can either line four individual tart tins or 25cm loose bottomed tin. Once lined trim the edges and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes.
Blind bake the pastry in a preheated oven at gas mark 6 for 15 minutes, remove the lining paper and baking beads, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove the tart tin and turn the oven down to gas mark 3/4.
Whilst the pastry is cooling, you can prepare the delicious chocolate filing. Gently heat 150ml milk, 500ml double cream and 65g caster sugar, slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat once it reaches boiling point and add 300g of good quality dark chocolate, stir until mixture is smooth. Once cooled slightly add 2 medium eggs and mix well.
Scatter fresh raspberries in the tart case, pour over the chocolate mixture, return to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. The finished tart should be set but still have a alluring wobble, it will continue to firm up as it cools.
When it comes to serving the tart is your oyster- decorate with fresh raspberries, dust with icing sugar or coco powder, heck why not both? Use your imagination and go to town. Since making this desert I have experimented with additional fillings, white chocolate is a great substitute (as featured with my niece Daisy). However the crowing glory remains the pastry, I would highly recommend giving it a try; perfect for pastry novices and confident cooks alike.