So, let's just say the blog took a back seat for the last *ahem* 10 months of 2018. I send my sincerest apologies for going blog-AWOL, it was a busy time (check out the media page for some highlights), particularly with my bakineering shows. 2018 was great, loads of challenging opportunities for me which I'm keen to build on this year, so watch this space. I'm planning on doing a dedicated longer form blog about my whole bakineering thing another time. But for now, no more excuses. The blog is BACK. Kicking off 2019 as I mean to go on, aiming for at least a recipe a month to share with you lovely people. Whilst it's still cold outside, here's a winter warmer a bunch of you have been asking for the recipe for, a salted chocolate tart. The best thing about this is you can hurl (almost) any liqueur you fancy into it (cointreau, amaretto and hazelnut would all work well), or just leave the liqueur out and sprinkle a little sea salt on top as I've done here. Go to town, it's January, everyone needs a pick-me-up ;) As always, keep in touch on twitter, instagram and facebook @cakesmyth x
Ingredients - makes 2 6 inch tarts (or 1 8 inch tart)
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
225g plain flour
110g chilled unsalted butter, diced
60g caster sugar (US: superfine)
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tbsp ice cold water
For the ganache filling
300ml double cream (US: heavy cream)
300g plain dark chocolate
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt flakes
For the decoration
25g white chocolate
2 6 inch shallow baking tins or 1 8 inch baking tin
For the pastry
Into a large bowl, add the flour and the diced chilled butter. If using a food processor, blitz briefly until it resembles breadcrumbs. If by hand, gently rub the mix between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs, keep an eye out for any large chunks of butter and don’t handle the mix for too long - we want to keep it cool.
Add the caster sugar and mix in gently using a cutlery knife, making a well in the middle. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of ice cold water to start with. Make cutting motions with the knife to incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients. Once it starts to clump together, use your hand to gently press together into a ball, being careful not to knead too much. Add a little extra water if it is easily breaking apart.
Divide the dough into 2 portions and press each into a disc about 1cm thick. Wrap each one tightly in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 25 minutes. Lightly grease your tins with butter whilst the pastry is chilling using a pastry brush.
Tip the chilled pastry disc out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to the thickness of a pound coin, regularly turning the pastry so it doesn’t stick. To line the tin, either:
Roll the pastry out to a large circle roughly 2 inches bigger around the edges than the diameter of the pan. Then lift the disc onto the tin and tease the edges down before trimming the excess away with a sharp knife.
The “cheffy” way - reserve just over ⅓ of the dough to one side, roll the rest out to a circle roughly the size of the base of the tin and lift this into the base. Roll the remaining bit of pastry into a thin strip that is just over 3 times the diameter of the tin (or in separate bits). Trim this strip to be the width of the height of the tin and lift this to line the edges of the tin. When baking, the bottom seam will automatically be formed so there is no need to press it too firmly.
Preheat the oven to 175C fan and chill the pastry cases in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Once chilled, prick the bottom of the cases with a fork, line with scrunched parchment paper (scrunching the paper before lining the case makes it easier to fit in) and baking beans and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5 mins.
Cool completely on a cooling rack, trimming the pastry if necessary to level out the top edge.
For the filling
Finely chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a large heatproof bowl. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the cream and butter until the butter has melted and steam is starting to come from the pan. Take care not to let it boil.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave to sit for a minute. Gently stir the hot cream with a spatula to incorporate the melting chocolate until a glossy smooth ganache is formed. If there are any lumps of chocolate remaining, return all the ganache to the pan over a very low heat and stir constantly until it is smooth.
Pour the filling equally between the 2 tart cases and level out with a spatula. Chill the tarts in the fridge to firm up.Once firm, sprinkle the top with flakes of sea salt.
To decorate, melt the white chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Transfer to a small piping bag and cut a small hole in the end. Pipe lines of white chocolate at various angles onto the chocolate tart. Chill in the fridge to firm up before serving.