Generally when making this tart I replace 100 grams of the plain white flour with wholemeal self raising flour, it does alter the texture, making it a little more ‘cake like’. I also now use vanilla bean paste rather than seeds from a vanilla bean. The pastry recipe has been adopted to a method I began to use in the late 1960s, i.e. I chill the butter in the freezer until firm and very cold, but not frozen, removing just before I add it to the pastry. You can rub in as indicted in the recipe, to achieve coarse breadcrumbs, I generally omit this step or very lightly rub in for a few seconds only.
You can change the flavour to suit yourself, try replacing some of the chocolate in the filling with a flavoured variety, my preference would be for coffee as the combination of chocolate and coffee is absolutely fabulous. If you don’t fancy all dark chocolate, replace about 100 grams with a good quality dark cooks chocolate. While I generally use Green and Blacks chocolate and cocoa, you could use Valrhona or Hotel Chocolat.
220 grams plain white flour
30 grams Green and Blacks organic cocoa
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes (crush using a pestle and mortar)
100 grams golden caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds only
150 grams unsalted butter – wrap, place in freezer until firm
1 large fresh egg, lightly beaten
350 grams Green and Blacks organic dark chocolate, 70% chopped
280 ml double cream or crème fraîche
100 ml whole milk
125 grams golden caster sugar
3 large fresh eggs
- Lightly brush a 24 cm flan tin with softened butter.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into a large baking bowl, whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds.
- Remove butter from the freezer, dip in flour (do this throughout the process) and grate into the dry ingredient.
- Rub in, using the fingertips only, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Gradually mix in the egg until the dough just comes together – all the egg may not be needed.
- Shape into a flattish circle, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for one hour.
- Remove and roll out into a circle large enough to line the flan tin.
- Carefully lift the pastry sheet with the rolling pin and position over the tin, gently press down into the base and up the side of the tin, return to the fridge for 15 minutes to chill then trim off excess pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 180ªC, 355ºF, gas mark 4.
- Line the pastry case with a piece of greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans or rice. Blind bake for 25 minutes, remove the baking beans and paper, brush with egg and return to the oven for 5 minutes, allow to cool completely before filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 100ºC, 210ºF.
- Put the chopped chocolate into an heatproof bowl.
- Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and heat until bubbles appear around the edge, immediately pour over the chocolate, allow to stand for two minutes, stir (preferably using a balloon whisk) until glossy and smooth.
- Beat in the eggs and sugar, pour the filling into the crust.
- Place in the centre of a preheated oven, bake for 15 minutes or until the filling has “just” set.
- Remove and allow to cool at room temperature.
- Serve with lightly whipped double cream or Cornish clotted cream.