Friday, 4 March 2011

No-Bake Chocolate Tart and a Rescue Mission

I learned some lessons this week...

lesson one...don't use your beautiful homemade butter biscuits as the biscuit base for your chocolate tart. Why? Well this is what's not looking good is it? 

I guess all the butter in the biscuits combined with the butter I used to bind the crumbs was a bit too much. As you can see, what I ended up with was a sorry mess of crumbs swimming in a sea of butter. And so rescue mission number one began and back to the shops it was for some old faithful digestives and another block of butter.

lesson two...taste your chocolate tart mix before adding more sugar. Why is it that following a recipe makes you doubt your own judgement? Don't add extra sugar if you don't need it. Taste, taste and taste again! I let it set anyway but being the perfectionist that I am, I didn't want to serve something to my friends that might have sent them into a sugar induced coma. My problem was my inferior chocolate which turned out to be a measly 54% cocoa solids instead of 70%. So check your chocolate too and be warned that even if it says it's dark chocolate it may not be dark enough.

And so rescue mission number two commenced. Armed with a teaspoon I set about scraping out the sickly sweet filling to make way for attempt deux. I can tell you though that it tastes mighty fine if you stick it in the freezer and eat it out the tub with a spoon. Well, it would be a crime against chocolate to let it go to waste wouldn't it?

I learned my lesson and tasted ALOT when making the second batch. In the end, even after using the good dark chocolate, I didn't end up adding any extra sugar. So just remember, even if you're following a recipe, taste everything and if you think it needs less of this or a little more of that then follow your own judgement!

As long as you don't end up making it twice this is actually a super quick and super tasty dessert. It only uses 5 ingredients (minus decoration), requires no baking and just needs to be set in the fridge. It really couldn't be simpler and the result definitely outweighs the effort you put into making it...just do it right first time. 

And the verdict on the second attempt...pretty darn good.

Loosely based on this recipe

Serves 8-10

For the biscuit base

200g digestives
100g butter


Crush the biscuits either in a food processor or pop them in a bag and bash with a rolling pin if you don't have one. Melt the butter over a low heat and when it's melted, stir in the crumbs and mix thoroughly making sure that all the crumbs are evenly coated.

Line a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin with baking parchment and pour in the crumbs. I can't remember where I read this, but if you're putting a biscuit base up the side of a dish then the best way of doing it is to take a glass and use it to push the crumbs up and around the edge. This way you get a lovely neat, square edge. Press down fairly firmly so it sets properly and doesn't crumble when you cut into it.

Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to set. 

For the Filling

100g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
100g milk chocolate
200ml double or whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks with 1tsp of vanilla extract
a punnet of raspberries to decorate, or any fruit you like


Break the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water to melt. When melted take it off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Gently fold in the whipped cream until completely combined and then pour the filling into the tart case. Told you it was simple!

Leave to set for at least 2 hours or it can be made up to 2 days in advance.

To decorate, take your chosen fruit and arrange in a ring around the edge and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve with creme fraiche or extra whipped cream if you're feeling naughty.

Bring to room temperature before serving. This will make it much easier to remove from the mould.

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