Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year, New Chocolate & Apricot Tart

Any New Year plans we had were scuppered by coming down with the flu the day before. However, it would've been too depressing not to do ANYTHING vaguely celebratory on New Year's Eve, so in my mildly feverish state I dragged myself into the kitchen and made this delicious tart before hopping back into bed to save my energy for the glass of fizz with Mr Eve at midnight. It's a yummy combination of sweet pastry, apricot jam laced with lemon, and a soft, dark mousseline chocolate topping.

Bear in mind when casting a critical eye over this tart that it was the first time I've ever tried to make pastry, and I had a fever as I made it. So I didn't roll out the pastry thin enough, I overcooked the edges of the tart a little and as I was using a slightly smaller size tart tin I poured a bit too much chocolate filling into the pastry case. But hey, it was my first time at making pastry! And it tasted bloody gorgeous! Happy New Year and here's to a wonderful 2012 all you lovely people!

By the talented mistress of tarts, Tamasin Day-Lewis, from her book The Art of the Tart. Buy the book on Amazon here
Serves 8-10

for the sweet pastry:
225g plain flour
75g icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
150g unsalted butter

1. Turn the oven to 200C (180C fan ovens) and get a 25cm or 30cm tart tin.

2. Using a food processor or food mixer, make the pastry by blending the icing sugar, plain flour and butter together.

3. Next add the egg yolks, and blend again until the mixture is well combined.

4. Shape the pastry into a ball and wrap in cling film, before leaving it to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. When the time is up, flour a rolling board and pin, and roll out the pastry so that it lines the tart tin.

6. To prepare to blind bake the chilled pastry circle, cut a circle of greaseproof paper and place it over the circle base, before covering with ceramic baking beans (or kidney beans or any kind of uncooked bean). Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper.

7. Now prick the base of the pastry with a fork, before putting back in the oven to back for another 5 minutes.

for the filling:
125g apricot jam
juice of half a lemon
180g unsalted butter
180g good dark chocolate
125g caster sugar
4 eggs, room temperature

8. Turn the heat of the oven down to 180C (160C fan ovens) before getting to work on the apricot element. Mix the apricot jam and lemon juice together. Then spread it evenly over the pastry base of the tart.

9. Next, melt the butter and chocolate in a bain mairie, a bowl over a pan of just simmering water. When melted, take the bowl off the heat to allow the mixture to cool a little.

10. Meanwhile, in a larger bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and foamy.

11. Using a wooden or metal spoon gently stir the chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar until just combined.

12. Pour the filling into the pastry case. If your tart case is 25cm as opposed to 30cm, then you won't use all the chocolate filling - more spoonfuls for licking out the bowl I say!

13. Bake the tart for 20 minutes until the chocolate has formed a slight crust.

14. Once baked, leave to cool for a while, before taking out of the tin and scatter flaked almonds ontop if you like. Serve with double cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

This tart was baked while listening to James Brown, The 40th Anniversary Collection

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