A tale of a tart… a Warm Belgian Bitter Chocolate Tart.
Not so long ago I owned and managed a beautiful fine dining restaurant. It was warm and cosy with an open fire and a luxurious atmosphere. One of our signature desserts was Warm Belgian Bitter Chocolate Tart served with Crème Fraiche ice cream. It was the most delicious, moreish dessert, one you dreamt about days afterwards and had to return to eat time and time again. I admit, I too fell victim to its charms and would dream about this tart, I craved it.. I HAD to have it… and I’m not even a chocoholic!!!… how fortunate I was to have it at my fingertips, and errr at my lips, not to mention the hips!!! hehehehe
Now I make this dessert at home and it transports me back to the ambience of the restaurant, the buzz of service and salubrious atmosphere of that whole endeavour. Although traditionally served with Crème Fraiche Ice cream, which paired perfectly with the rich bitter chocolate, I generally just serve it with a huge dollop of double cream and a vintage port, or a hot chocolate if you are having it for breakfast, as I have done in the past… oooooopps did I actually admit to that?! Ahem… shhhh don’t tell anyone… I’m so naughty 😉
So here it is, the exclusive recipe for my infamous Belgian Bitter Chocolate Tart, perfect for any occasion that calls for indulgence, and so simple to make with its chocolate shortcrust pastry and rich filling.
If you haven’t made shortcrust before, be patient with yourself, it does take a bit of practice and a lot of the success of it rides on the temperature of the ingredients making it quite temperamental…. but persevere because it is well worth it to make it from scratch. The pastry in this recipe makes a double batch, save half of it in the fridge so you can make another tart the next day… believe me you will find yourself fantasising about it and it’s better to be safe than sorry I always say! hehehe
Here are some progress shots:
You can eat this tart cold, but I prefer it warm, serve it about an hour after you take it out of the oven, then it is more like a pudding and the texture is so silky it’s like a little bit of heaven. If you want to heat it up from cold, you can pop it in the microwave for 25 – 30 seconds and it will be ready to transport you to another world. Sooooo enough drooling… ENOUGH ALREADY… let’s get baking!
- 500g plain flour
- 100g cocoa powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 375g butter
- 3 eggs
- 3 pinches salt (about 1 tsp)
- 250 ml cream
- 100g butter
- 500g good quality Belgian bitter chocolate 70%
- 3 eggs
- Heat oven to 180° C (350° F)
- Put flour, cocoa, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and blitz until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add eggs one at a time and pulse until dough just starts to come together. Put dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth (do not knead too much otherwise you activate the gluten and pastry becomes tough). Divide the dough in half (I usually weigh it to get it exact) then flatten into 2 round discs, cover with gladwrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up a bit and do its thing.
- Roll out one disc of pastry on a floured surface to about 5mm thick. Line the base and sides of a tart tin gently pressing the edges to avoid any gaps. Cut away the excess pastry. Whack it back in the fridge for 15 minutes. Blind bake the pastry by gently lining with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Lower oven temperature to 160°C (320° F)
- In a saucepan on very low heat put cream, chocolate and butter. Stir continually making sure it doesn’t heat too much and burn the chocolate. Continue stirring for what seems like an eternity (about 15-20mins) until it fully melts and no chocolate solids are visible.
- Allow mixture to cool.
- Add lightly whisked eggs to the mixture and fold to incorporate fully.
- Pour the filling into the pastry shell and bake for about 25 minutes. You know the tart is ready when it wobbles slightly in the middle like jelly but is basically firmish.
- Allow to cool in tin until completely set and then eat to your heart’s content.
Thank you for reading my post. I would love to hear from you so send me a little message on my blog and tell me how your got on with your tart, or share a delicious dessert memory, or just say ‘Hi’ 🙂
EAT – CELEBRATE – ENJOY!!