Chocolate Tart with Bourbon Vanilla Cream
Tarts have become our go-to dessert recently. If you look at it simply, it really is just a crust casing with a filling. But that’s where the fun begins. The crust itself is so versatile, be it puff pastry or shortcrust, or with added flavour. And what goes into the tart really is one big playground to work one’s creativity.
Despite the many faces of the pastry, there always be the classics that people turn to when they seek familiarity and nostalgia. Like the apple tarte tatin, blueberry pie, bakewell tart, tarte au citron and of course, tarte au chocolat. It is not difficult to envision a little cafe in Paris boasting an array of immaculate miniature pastries baked with an almost military precision. The presence of lovely round chocolate tarts sit among them with subtlety and quiet lust. It doesn’t shout its presence, but it ultimately seduces the hungry customer with good old childhood memories. (Well, I would just devour everything on sight.)
This tart in particular has a fudge-y filling, making it rich but not too cloying. Although the hazelnuts gave the base a certain aroma, it did not do wonders for us. A basic shortcrust pastry would have done the job as well. To give it a little edge, we served it alongside bourbon-spiked vanilla cream and loads of orange peel. Chocolate and orange are wonderful companions, and this dessert speaks volumes about this perfect pairing. For the record, I ate three whole slices, with slight remorse. The waist line really needs some work out now.
For the Hazelnut Shortcrust Pastry
113g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
68g confectioner’s sugar
100g ground hazelnuts
1 ½ teaspoon orange zest
¼ teaspoon salt
75g (1 ½) eggs, beaten
325g plain flour, sifted
For the Chocolate Tart Filling
365g of 70% cacao dark chocolate
390ml whipping cream
25g trimoline or invert sugar
85g butter, cut into cubes
For the Bourbon Vanilla Cream
120ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon fine sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
1 tablespoon bourbon, or more
Start by making the tart base by placing butter in a mixing bowl and add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat together until light in colour. Mix in the ground hazelnuts, orange zest and salt. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the eggs, tablespoon by tablespoon, to prevent curdling. Lastly, add the flour and mix to form a smooth and homogenous mass. Place the pastry onto a floured baking sheet, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick and line the tart tin. Prick the base of the tart and leave to rest for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 180C. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, remove beans and bake for 12 to 15 minutes more, until golden brown. Leave for 5 minutes, then remove from tart tin and cool on a rack.
For the chocolate filling, place chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a saucepan, heat the trimoline with the cream until hot, being careful not to boil. Once hot, slowly pour mixture in a trail over the chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Once melted, add butter and continue to stir until butter has fully melted.
Pour chocolate filling into tart and place the chocolate tart to set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
To make Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream, mix all ingredients together and whisk until stiff.
To serve, use a hot knife to cut the tart into slices and plop a generous helping of Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream and orange peel on every slice.