Tag Archives: tart

Triple Chocolate Praline Tart

Several years ago now (I KNOW!) a became friends with some remarkable women through this blog. A few weeks ago one of those, the MIGHTY Eleanor (from the commentbox) hosted a lunch at which we were honoured to meet some of her ‘real life’ friends.

Naturally I had a fillerbuster of a day getting there, trying to fit in way too many things before heading across town. I arrived in a complete snit after leaving home late and then being held up by some first-time-in-60-years resurfacing of the Harbour Bridge and stupid Eastern Suburbs traffic in which everyone must drive nice and slowly so everyone else can notice they’re driving the latest Lexus, Mercedes or BMW. That and the small but important issue of me taking a wrong turn. Details.

But as I walked into Eleanor’s serene abode (also alarmingly devoid of dust, I think she could be a witch) the blood pressure dropped, the tension in my shoulders eased and I proceeded to spend a sublime number of hours in the company of smart, funny women. Truly divine.

I was on dessert duty and on offering a fruit, custard or chocolate option our host chose chocolate.

Making this tart does not require any special cooking talents but it does require time. As that afternoon at Eleanor’s reminded me, sometimes the best thing to do is stop. Slow down. Take one step at a time and savour each step.

It’s one of the reasons I love making things like this – you have no option but to slow down and in slowing down you take more care, enjoying the process as much as the outcome.

Having made this twice I can say that the flavour is more developed – ie better – the next day.

I also use pecans as I am obsessed with them.

So gather your ingredients, set aside some time and make something outrageously decadent with love. It makes everything better.

Triple chocolate praline tart

From Australian Gourmet Traveller

Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 60 pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 30g Dutch-process cocoa
  • 100g cold butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks

Filling

  • 150 gm hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
  • 175 gm raw caster sugar
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 400 gm milk chocolate, finely chopped

Ganache

  • 160 ml pouring cream
  • 40 ml milk
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (61% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the pastry

  1. In a food processor combine everything except the egg yolks
  2. Once combined add the egg yolks and pulse until it comes together in a ball
  3. Give it a knead – it is very short and I found it needs a bit of working to get it into a pliable ball – then wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 and roll the dough out to 3mm thick to line a 28cm tart case. I find the trick to this is to let the dough come back to room temperature and to then roll out between two sheets of baking paper. It is a really short pastry so don’t worry if it breaks, just smoosh the edges together.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour and then bake blind for 8-10 minutes. Remove paper and weights and then bake for a further 8-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s cracked, the filling is solid enough it won’t pour out and turn the whole thing into a red hot mess.

For the filling

  1. Spread the hazelnuts (or your nuts of choice, mine are pecans) on an oiled baking tray and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel in colour (4-5 minutes) then pour over nuts.
  3. Stand until cool and set (8-10 minutes) and then process in a food processor until finely ground.
  4. Bring the cream to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in two-thirds of the praline mixture (reserving the remaining to serve).
  6. Spoon into pastry case, smooth top, refrigerate until just set (1½-2 hours).

 

For the ganache

  1. Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer then add the dark chocolate.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Spread over the tart and refrigerate until just set (45 minutes-1 hour).

Cut into wedges with a hot knife and serve immediately scattered with reserved praline.

 

Seriously, it’s a tart that makes everything better.

 

Onward!


Lemon Curd Tart

So this is basically my favourite dessert/tart/sweet treat of all time. If I come upon a patisserie or a cake shop which looks even remotely like it has a proper pastry chef at the helm I will buy a lemon tart. Or Citron tart if we feel like getting fancy.

I adore my lemon butter but it is not right for a proper lemon tart. Similarly, that time I made the lemon meringue tart when I so bravely tried to keep up with the Daring Bakers produced a very easy lemon ‘curd’ but I could not bring myself to say a mix that involves cornflour is a proper lemon curd.

This comes from Jane and Jeremy Strode who own Bistrode, a 40 seat bistro in Sydney. They also do the weekly recipes in Good Living, which I always find very hit and miss. In fact, I bought their cookbook bistrode purely on flicking through it in the bookshop and chancing upon the page with their lemon curd tarts. There is much in the book I will try, far more than what they offer in GL, and this lemon curd is absolutely sensational.

The shortcrust pastry below is the one I use for everything. I think it is a Bill Granger recipe from recollection. (The picture below features double the curd recipe and is made in a 10cm x 33cm tart case w/ removable base.)

Lemon Curd Tart
Jane and Jeremy Strode, Bistrode
For the pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cold water

For the curd

  • 120g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 175ml lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the pastry

  1. Process the flour with the butter and add enough water for it to come together as a dough
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  3. Roll the pastry to 2mm thick and line a tart case or 12 x 10cm diameter round discs (Jane Strode says here to cut out the discs and then refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight but I am never so organised – I cut them out, line the cases and then refrigerate)
  4. Make sure you avoid any air bubbles between the pastry and the tin
  5. Line and fill with pie weights and bake for 10 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through then allow to cool.

For the curd

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan then add the sugar and stir to combine
  2. Add lemon juice and eggs and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon
  3. Make sure you don’t let it boil as this will curdle the eggs
  4. Take off the heat and pass through a fine strainer into a clean container
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing gently onto the surface so a skin doesn’t form and cool in the fridge before spooning into the tart case(s)
  6. The curd will keep in the fridge for a week.

Seriously, I could eat this until my head fell off.

Oh, and that pastry quantity will mean you have some left over. Just wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another day.


Lemon Curd Slice (aka Tart Lemon Squares)

The first time I made these was sometime in 1988. Then they fell by the wayside for a decade or two. Now it is back in high rotation. It is tart and moreish, and basically impossible to stuff up. It says to cool the base before pouring over the topping but I never do. Maybe it’s a completely different slice if I actually followed that step! Who cares, it is devoured each and every time I make it. It gets made at least once a month in this house and THAT is saying something.

Lemon curd slice

Sunshine in every bite

Tart Lemon Squares

Originally from Vogue Entertaining and Travel, late 80s

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbs plain flour
  • 2 lemons, the zest from one and the juice from both
  1. Preheat oven to 190C and line a 20 x 20cm cake tin
  2. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar – I just whizz it all in a food processor then press into the tin
  3. Press into the base of the tin
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until it is golden brown and then cool
  5. Combine the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice
  6. Pour over the cooked base
  7. Bake for 30 minutes
  8. Dust with icing sugar and chill
  9. Cut into squares and dust with more icing sugar before serving
  10. Eat until your head falls off or your teeth fall out. Either way it’s totally worth it.
lemon curd slice

try to eat only one square, I dare you


Passionfruit pineapple tarts, choc-caramel tarts, neenish tarts

A trio of icings

I have been pining for old fashioned pineapple tarts that traditional bakeries make. The ones with a short pastry, pineapple filling, moch cream and topped with passionfruit icing. Linda helped by providing the pineapple filling recipe from the Presbyterian Ladies’ Cookbook or some such treasure trove of old fashioned pre-world war II (apparently) delights.

Pineapple Passionfruit tartlets
Pineapple filling

  • 1 medium pineapple, sliced very finely then diced (easier to do this if the pineapple is cold)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Combine the pineapple, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil to cook for 10 minutes
  2. Combine the cornflour, water and egg yolk then stir into the pineapple and cook until thickened

I can’t tell you how making this, then tasting it made me feel. I was jettisoned back to my childhood and the fact that I now had the recipe to make whenever I feel like it was so empowering and exciting! Next

Moch cream

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the combined milk, vanilla and water a little at a time until all incorporated
  3. Just try not to eat this straight from the bowl.

Passionfruit Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 passionfruit
  • 1 1/2 tbs boiling water
  1. Beat the icing sugar with the butter and water by hand
  2. Add the passionfruit by spooning the pulp into a small strainer then push the juice of one half of the passionfruit through, adding some of the seeds to dot the icing.
  3. You might need to add more passionfruit depending on the texture. You want it somewhere between being spreadable and being a glaze. (in the picture above, my first attempt, the icing was a bit too stiff)

Shortcrust pastry

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 350g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Rub the butter through the flour
  2. Add enough water to bring the dough together
  3. Flatten to a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Roll out to quite thin and line 12 1/4 cup tartlet cases. Prick bases and bake in 180C oven until golden.

This pastry recipe is the one I use for everything. I very rarely make a sweet shortcrust pastry as I find using straight shortcrust helps counterbalance the sweetness of a pie filling. The following pastry however, is perfect for a neenish tart, where the pastry is really a major part of the experience. It is much more like a biscuit crust.

To build the tartlets

  1. Spoon some pineapple into the base
  2. Top with moch cream and smooth surface
  3. Spoon over icing with a palette knife and smooth off.

Neenish Tarts
Pastry for Neenish Tarts

  • 125g soft butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 4 minutes until pale and fluffy
  2. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined
  3. Stir through the flour then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  4. Roll out to 3mm thick and line 12 1/4 cup capacity tartlet tins
  5. Prick bases and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 1 tbs water (you can use sherry for a grown-up version)
  • 1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and 1 1/2 tbs of boiling water by hand
  2. Divide the mixture in half. Either add 1 tsp of sherry or the 1 tsp of lemon juice to one half and set aside
  3. Add remaining sherry to cocoa and stir to combine then mix in to remaining icing

To build the tarts

  1. Fill the pastry case with a spoon of jam
  2. Top with moch cream and level out
  3. Using a small palette knife ice half of each tart with the chocolate icing then ice the other halves with the lemon/white icing, smoothing to edges.

It’s best we not speak of just how many I ate.

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