Cherry and chocolate tart
- December 2013
- Serves 10
- Takes 25 minutes to make, 20 minutes to cook, plus chilling and overnight infusing
This beautifully rich chocolate tart recipe with boozy cherries is a chocolate lover’s dream. It makes a stunning finale to a special meal or dinner party.
- 30.6g (18g saturated)
- 48.4g (35.1g sugars)
- 200g dried cherries
- 150ml kirsch or brandy
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 strip of lemon zest (optional)
- 250ml double cream
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 3-4 tbsp morello cherry jam
- Crème fraîche to serve
For the chocolate pastry
- 170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 30g cocoa powder
- 100g chilled butter, cut into 1cm cubes
- 2 tbsp caster or icing sugar
- 1 large free-range egg yolk
- 2-3 tbsp cold milk or water
- The night before, put the dried cherries in a saucepan with the alcohol, sugar and lemon zest, then bring to a simmer. Take off the heat, then transfer to a bowl and set aside, covered, to infuse overnight. Drain the cherries (see tip).
- To make the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa into a mixing bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips (or pulse it in a food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then mix in (or pulse) the egg yolk and just enough milk or water to bring it together in large clumps. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly into a ball. Pat the dough into a disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin, then use to line a 23cm diameter tart tin, letting the excess hang over the sides. Line the pastry with baking paper, then fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice/lentils). Put the tin on a baking sheet, then bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans/rice/lentils, then bake for 10 minutes more. Take the pastry case out of the oven, then trim off the overhanging pastry.
- In a small pan, heat the cream to a bare simmer, then remove from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir it gently from time to time until completely melted into a thick chocolate cream (see Know-how). Stir in the vanilla. Whisk a small amount of the hot chocolate sauce into the bowl containing the beaten eggs, then pour the mixture back into the pan and whisk until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of reserved cherry liquor, if you fancy an extra kick.
- Spread the jam over the base of the pastry case, then scatter over the drained cherries and pour over the chocolate custard. Bake for about 20 minutes – the centre should still wobble slightly when you take it out of the oven. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack. Serve in small slices with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Reserve some of the liquor used to soak the cherries – it makes a fabulous base for a champagne cocktail. You can also stir a splash of it into the chocolate custard before cooking. With its boozy cherry filling, this would make a good alternative dessert at Christmas for those who don’t like the traditional pudding.
Chill the pastry at the end of step 2 for up to 2 days. You can make the whole tart up to two days in advance and keep it in the fridge. Freeze the pastry at the end of step 2 for up to 3 month. Defrost, then continue with the recipe.
The sauce should be smooth, shiny and pourable. When melting chocolate into cream or milk, don’t overheat or stir too often to avoid causing the chocolate to seize (turn lumpy) or to split.
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