Monday, April 20, 2009

Chocolate to the rescue

There is such a thing as too many recipes. Adam is always lamenting the amount of recipes that I clip from magazines and newspapers and the fact that I have far too many food magazines to fit into our bookshelves. I usually laugh off the criticism, confident that his protestations will be silenced by the next culinary masterpiece I serve up from one of these new recipes.

But when friends asked me to bring dessert to a dinner party last Saturday night, I was confronted with a dilemma. What should I make? It's the culinary equivalent of looking in my wardrobe and wailing that I have nothing to wear. How could I possibly not find a special dessert recipe among my collection?

Well, the short answer is that I didn't know where to start. So, rather than choose a recipe, I started knocking out contenders. Our friends made cheesecake for the last dinner party, so, in the interests of variety, that was struck off the list. It had to be something already prepared and easy to transport, so that ruled out hot puddings and souffles. No cakes, because that is too similar to afternoon tea. Perhaps a tart? That is easily prepared in advance and easy to transport. Of course, chocolate is always a winner for dessert, so now I felt I was getting close. And, at last, there was Jill Dupleix's recipe for bitter chocolate tart with Baileys, a recipe I've long had marked too try. Perfect!

As well as being a sinfully rich finale to a meal, this tart is also a cinch to prepare ahead. Its impressive appearance and taste belie the easiness of the method, which makes it a winner on all counts.

Jill Dupleix's bitter chocolate tart with Baileys

75g butter
75g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
125g plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons iced water, or more

300ml thickened (or whipping) cream
200g dark chocolate (70 per cent)
50g butter chopped
2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

For the pastry: whiz the butter, sugar, ground almonds, flour and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add water a spoonful at a time, still whizzing, until the pastry clumps into a ball. Place in the base of a greased 20cm tart tin and gently press the mixture down, working from the centre out, to cover the base and up the sides. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line the tart with non-stick baking paper and weight down with pastry weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool.

For the filling: Heat the cream until just before boiling point. Chop chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Add cream, leave for 1 minute, then mix well with a spatula. Add butter and stir until smooth. Stir in Baileys and pour into the tart case. Leave in a level place to cool, then refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

This serves 8-10 but is very rich, so serve in thin wedges.


Suzie said...

My husband thinks I have far too many cookbooks and far too many clippings. I know he is right but can't bear to toss anything I might regret later... luckily he likes to eat so he puts up with it!

Ellemay said...

You can never have enough cookbooks!

I didn't even realise I had been featured until your email. It's always great to know that I'm not the only daring baker in Melbourne!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

I love a good tart, and chocolate tarts are especially nice! I bet you were really popular at the dinner party!

Melinda said...

Hi Suzie - your husband sounds like mine! I also can't throw anything out just in case I really need that recipe next week...

Hi Ellemay - nice to meet another Melbourne blogger. Hope you are looking forward to the latest DB challenge!

Thanks Maria - yes, the tart was a hit, so I'll definitely be making it again!