Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate, pine nut and orange tart in a ginger crust

This weekend I had dinner with my friends Lucy (check out her morsels of reflection here) and Jason. Whenever they've cooked for me in the past I have been a bit awed by how yummy everything is - and they tend to cook meals I rarely make myself, making them all the more enjoyable. So when I offered to bring dessert, and Lucy kindly asserted that I needn't feel I had to make anything too fancy, I kind of knew I was going to make something that was at least a bit fancy. Also, I probably should have been studying on Saturday afternoon, so the idea of making some pastry from scratch was all the more appealing.

This tart is one I've made before. It's all about contrasts.  The chocolate is divinely rich, but in small proportion compared with the tang of the orange and ginger. The ganachey-custard is so incredibly smooth whereas the pine nuts add a lovely crunch, while the pastry is all buttery crumbliness. And the nuts and zest themselves crispen to form a fragile sugary crust over the whole thing.  Best of all, the pastry recipe is very easy. Oh goodness, I do endorse this tart.

I found the recipe for this tart online, from chef Antoine Bouterin.  However adding the ginger to the pastry is my own addition, for that extra kick.

Ingredients - for the pastry:
  • 70 grams butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/14 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • splash of iced water
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 180g dark chocolate pieces
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • zest of one orange

While it's not tricky, you need to start a little ahead of time if you want to make your own pastry. For shortcrust pastry I really recommend doing it yourself, as the result is always so lovely and fresh and buttery. When making pastry, I tend to cheat. I put all the ingredients in my mixer and turn it on until it's a crumbly mix. Then I tip it into my greased and floured tart tin (about 9 inches across).

Press the mix with the heel of your hand until it evenly covers the tin, making sure you smoosh enough over the sides to form the lovely corrugated edges. Once it's evenly covered, place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Now it's time to pre-bake the tart case. Heat the oven to 180 C. Prick your tart case with a fork all over the bottom, and line it with tin foil, pressing the foil firmly against the pastry all the way around.  Now bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10.  When you remove the pastry from the oven, if it looks like it's raising up from the base of the tin a little, just gently push it back down.

Now add your filling. Mix the cream, sugar and egg with a fork or whisk and pour into the tart case. It will form a very shallow layer. Scatter over the chocolate pieces, making sure they're evenly distributed. Next, add the pine nuts. And finally, sprinkle over the orange zest.

Place the whole lot in the oven at a 175 C and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Serve in delicate wedges with whipped cream. Oh yes indeedy.

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