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!

Outrageously easy slice

You can all blame Inner Pickle for this one. Or perhaps the people of Mayflower village from where the cookbook containing the recipe came from. It’s called Easy Slice and while it is that, the name totally underplays what this slice is. It’s like a snickers with coconut. It’s addictive. It is outrageously easy to make. And dangerously easy to eat.

 

Part of me wants to call it Slut Slice because it’s so easy and goes down a treat. What? Too much?

 

My pictures do not do it justice. In fact, when I took them I thought, ‘man, few could make a slice containing all forms of sugar, chocolate and saturated fat could make it look like a lasagne but I have’. Then Mum saw it and asked if it was a lasagne type dish and then BabyMac said the same thing about the meat and cheesy looking picture in my last post.

So maybe I should call it Not Lasagne Slice .


Easy Slice  

Mayflower Village Cookery Book via Inner Pickle

  • 6oz (185g) butter, melted
  • 1 packet Nice biscuits, crushed
  • 1 packet choc chips (mine was 230g as was Inner Pickles)
  • 1 packet walnuts (Inner Pickle’s was 120g, I used unsalted peanuts which I then toasted – I didn’t measure them, instead I just sprinkled them over the top for a good coverage)
  • 2oz (about 3/4 cup) shredded coconut
  • 1 tin (395g) condensed milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a slice tin (18cm x 27cm) with baking paper
  2. Pour in the melted butter then spread over the crushed biscuit
  3. Sprinkle over the choc chips, then the nuts and then the coconut
  4. Pour the condensed milk over the top
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
Let it cool completely before trying to remove from the tin or cutting it as otherwise the base will just crumble into a thousand pieces. I know I know, it’s hard to wait but believe me, it’s totally worth it.

 

 

Honey Nut Slice

OK, I made this for the first time yesterday and am about to go and make another batch. I’m going to put it in a bigger tin so it goes thinner because essentially this is like a florentine and well, me and florentines go way back.

I can’t remember where I got this recipe from – it’s one of those ripped out of something a lifetime ago so apologies to the originator but thanks as well. My life is so much better for having this recipe in it.

I hadn’t bought enough pistachios so I threw in some pecans. So good. So very very good.

Honey Nut Slice

Honey Nut Slice
 
You just need to make this.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 250 g butter
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • ⅓ cup brandy
  • 300 g flaked almonds
  • 150 g shelled unsalted pistachios or your nut of choice, I more often than not use pecans
  • 100 g dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200C and line the base and sides of 19x20cm (or thereabouts) tin, then grease it well
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the sugar, honey, cream and brandy
  3. Bring it all to the boil
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts
  5. Pour it into the tin and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool
  7. Melt the chocolate and then drizzle it over the top
  8. Refrigerate and then cut into bite size pieces - store in the fridge.
  9. Eat yourself into a diabetic coma.

 

Three-Layered Peppermint Bark

So over the past few years some of my US online friends have talked about a festive season treat called peppermint bark. I was intrigued and then I saw this. I’ve been waiting all year to make it and it hasn’t disappointed. At all.

Three-Layered Peppermint Bark

From Bon Appetit via Orangette

  • 500g white chocolate (not cooking chocolate and make sure it is good quality w/ cocoa butter content)
  • 30 red and white striped candy canes, crushed
  • 200g dark chocolate (again, not cooking chocolate)
  • 8 tbsp cream
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint essence

  1. Use the back of a large flat baking tray and mark out a 12×9 inch rectangle.
  2. Melt the white chocolate and spread 2/3 cup of it over the rectangle using a spatula or palette knife
  3. Sprinkle over 1/4 cup of the crushed peppermint canes and chill until set – about 10-15 minutes
  4. Combine the dark chocolate, cream and peppermint essence until just melted then cool to barely luke warm – about 5 minutes
  5. Pour over the white chocolate and then use a palette knife to smooth to an even layer then refrigerate until firm – about 20 mnutes
  6. Rewarm remaining white chocalate then, working quickly, pour over the dark chocolate layer and spread to cover.
  7. Sprinkle over remaining crushed candy canes and chill until set – about 20 minutes.
  8. To cut, pull it out of the fridge for a little while – I found cutting it while really hard just resulted in the layers splintering from each other.

Maggie Beer’s Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest

So I made this yesterday for our Christmas gathering with my Dad, step-mother and family. I was down for dessert and along with pavlova topped with cream, lemon butter and fresh fruit I was bringing our family’s traditional Christmas pudding cooked in cloth. Then the last fortnight came and firmly bit me on the arse. I only got the fruit soaking a few days ago for the pudding so getting one made and on the stove for five hours was just not going to happen.

I’d seen this recipe in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Table and knew it would be good some time ago – it came to me that it would make a fine Christmas pudding alternative and boy, was I bang on the money on that front.

This cake is seriously good. I only had a tiny sliver yesterday due to the dedicated food consumption that had gone before it and man, today all I can think about is making it again so I can sit in front of it like a fat fool and eat it until my head falls off.

I should say, I did not roast the almonds and then grind them, I simply used some store-bought almond meal. I am sure doing that step would take the cake to even greater heights but it was delicious even without doing so.

So go on, make it .

Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest
Maggie Beer, Maggie’s Table

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup Scotch whisky
  • 160g blanched almonds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 375g dark couverture chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 210g unsalted butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 175ml pouring cream
  • 250g couverture chocolate
  1. Soak raisins in whisky for a few hours
  2. Preheat fan-forced oven to 180C
  3. Place almonds on baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly then process in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour and set aside
  4. Melt chocolate and the add the zest to it
  5. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add eggs one at a time. The mixture will split but don’t worry, it comes back together when the almonds and flour are added
  6. Fold in the melted chocolate then the soaked raisins and any of the whisky juices that are left in the bowl
  7. Sprinkle over the almond and flour mixture and fold through very gently, being careful not to overmix
  8. Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform round cake tin
  9. Bake for an hour or until skewer comes out clean (mine took at least another 10 minutes and probably could have done with another 5 or 10 minutes)
  10. Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack in its tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cake cool completely.
  11. Make the ganache by bringing the cream to the boil and then pouring over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes to melt and then stir thoroughly
  12. Pour over the cooled cake and then leave to cool for a further hour (not in the refrigerator) before serving

Divine with double cream or vanilla ice cream.