Wednesday, 16 May 2007
The Perfect Match
There are some classic combinations in this myriad of foodstuffs. I could name so many off the top of my head, the kind of partnerships that would not be the same without the other. One of my favourites has to be chocolate and orange. Everything from the sickly sugary 'tap it and unwrap it' variation to more adult ones like a bitter chocolate and orange tart. And that is precisely what I needed to make myself happy after a few days of nursing the man flu.
When people ask me for a simple but impressive dessert recipe, I tend to turn to these kind of tarts. Make a custard of sorts with your flavourings of choice, pour into a pastry case, then bake in a low oven for an hour. You have yourself a large and superb dessert that will feed many and ensure lots of accolades for your efforts.
I've made these using a lemon and lime combination. But chocolate and orange wins hands down. The key to getting the flavours right is to ensure you extract the oils from the skin of the fruit. So a gentle heat on the cream and milk with the grated zest of one orange and the rind of another will do just nicely. Just make sure you pull the rind out before baking otherwise it will make for an unpleasant surprise for somebody. I also put cocoa powder in the pastry to provide a double chocolate hit.
Bitter Chocolate and Orange Tart
For the pastry
150g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
A little water
For the filling
300ml double cream
300g 70% chocolate
Zest of two oranges, one finely grated and the other cut into slivers
3 egg yolks
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C, GM3
2 - Make your pastry by combining the dry ingredients in a food processor or by hand. Drizzle in water and combine until it forms a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3 - Grease and line a tart tin with a removable base, I used a 12" tin. Roll out your pastry and line the tart tin leaving the edges overlapped. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans, any old dried beans or peas will do. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little then trim the case with a sharp knife.
4 - In a deep pan, bring the cream, milk, zest and rind of the orange and the chocolate to boiling point then remove from the heat. Ensure the chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined. Remove the large slithers of zest.
5 - Beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Pour in the chocolate mixture beating all of the time. The pour into the pastry case and gently place onto the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mixture is almost firm. Cool before serving.