Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate & Orange Blossom Cream and Hazelnut Praline

In an attempt to find some new recipes and inspiration, I was recently thumbing through the MasterChef Cookbook (2010) and came across a recipe for chocolate tartlets (made by one of the 2009 finalists - Chris Gates). They looked delicious and got me thinking that I had not yet written a post which included sweet gluten free shortcrust pastry. The idea of a chocolate tart immediately appealed so I decided I would give them a go (albeit a teeny bit adapted), but with my gluten free pastry.

The original recipe is served with crème fraiche and a sesame snap, but I really fancied combining the dark chocolate filling with a light white chocolate cream. I also love the combination of dark chocolate and hazelnut, so I added a hazelnut bite in the form of hazelnut praline.

I recently bought some orange blossom water and wondered how this would differ in flavour from usual orange essence. It has a much more subtle, slightly flowery aroma and I thought it would compliment both chocolates well, so I added it to the white chocolate cream. It worked beautifully and added a subtle, but nonetheless distinctive, quite grown-up note to the over all dessert. I had considered adding a dash of Cointreau or alternative liqueur, but as I was feeding it to my 7 year old, I figured I better avoid it this time around. I bet it would taste delicious though...

I made a combination of individual 10 centimetre tarts (although they are pretty rich and if you can bare to share, one would probably be enough split between 2 people) and mini bite-sized (well, maybe 2 bite-sized) tartlets which would be perfect for a party or buffet.

The hazelnut praline makes a great sweet treat completely on its own................. my daughter has been nibbling it behind my back (or was that my husband?), but adds a wonderful crunch and tastes deliciously nutty crushed and sprinkled over the chocolate tarts.

The chocolate tarts are incredibly delicious on their own (I ate the one which leaked a bit!) and if you can't be bothered with all the faff of making special accompaniments, would go perfectly well with plain cream or crème fraiche and some strawberries or raspberries. But I was feeling grumpy with the continued cold English weather (when are we going to get summer?) and needed a double hit of chocolate and a big mouthful of creamy, crunchy decadence to cheer me up. These were perfect and put a smile on all our faces.

Chocolate Tarts (I made three 10 cm and sixteen mini tarts)

Sweet Rice & Almond Shortcrust Pastry Base


130g brown rice flour
50g corn flour
40g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
60g caster sugar
110g cold butter - cubed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cold water

Method - by hand

  1. Weigh and sieve the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a large bowl and stir together with the ground almonds.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and pour into the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir all the ingredients together using a table knife until they begin to clump together.
  6. Dust your hands with corn flour and bring the dough together, pressing into a ball.
  7. Knead very briefly, to make sure the ingredients are fully amalgamated. 
  8. Use the dough as from number 5 below............

by food processor

  1. Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum, salt and sugar into the food processor bowl and briefly pulse to mix together and remove any lumps.
  2. Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the food processor with the crumb mixture.
  4. Turn the food processor on and mix until the ingredients form a smooth dough. This will not require any further kneading.
  5. Roll the pastry out straight away (do not chill in the fridge), using corn flour on the work surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  6. With the support of the rolling pin, carefully lay rolled pieces of pastry over your chosen tart tins (I used small non-stick flan bases), and ease into the base with your fingers, gently moulding to the sides of the tin. Trim the edges with a sharp knife. If you are making mini tart cases, cut the pastry into rounds using appropriately-sized cookie cutters or a glass, and gently press the cut rounds into the holes of a mini tartlet tin.
  7. If there are any holes or cracks in the rolled pastry cases, use the trimmed remains to repair, - roll and trim the remaining scraps to size and using cold water on your finger tip, dampen both the area around the hole/crack and the downside of the 'patch' and gently press together, smoothing the edges with a finger dipped in water to seal.
  8. Place the prepared pastry bases in the fridge for half an hour to chill prior to baking.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C / 400⁰ F / Gas 6.
  10. 'Scrunch' and then flatten small pieces of baking paper ready to line the inside of each tart case and then base fill each with a few baking beans.
  11. When the oven has reached temperature, blind bake the pastry with the baking beans for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further 10 minutes until pale golden brown. If the case is browning too quickly, turn the oven down slightly and cover the top edges with a piece of foil.
  12. When the pastry is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, without taking the cases out of the trays.

Chocolate Filling (adapted from The MasterChef Cookbook (2010) - original recipe from Chris Gates - 2009 finalist)


300 ml double cream
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
220g good quality dark chocolate
3 tablespoons milk


  1. Put the cream, sugar and salt in a medium non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring.
  2. Add the chocolate, and immediately remove from the heat. Continue to stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
  3. Pour into a cold medium sized bowl and add the milk.
  4. Whisk the ingredients for about 5 minutes. This speeds the cooling process and ensures a completely smooth, light mousse.
  5. Leave to cool until just warm and then pour the mixture into the tart cases (still in the trays), ensuring they do not spill over.
  6. Refrigerate once cold and leave to set for about 2 hours (or overnight if you have time).
  7. Sprinkle with crushed hazelnut praline (recipe below).

White Chocolate & Orange Blossom Cream


200 ml double cream
120ml good quality custard
100g white chocolate
½ teaspoon orange blossom water (or you may wish to add a dash of Cointreau or alternative liqueur)


  1. Whisk the cream in a medium sized bowl until it produces soft peaks.
  2. Add the custard and orange blossom water (or liqueur) and continue to whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl either over a gently simmering pan of water (low heat) or in a microwave (using 30 second bursts on medium, stirring well in between each until fully melted).
  4. Allow the chocolate to cool before folding into the cream mixture.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Hazelnut Praline


90g caster sugar (I used golden caster)
50g hazelnuts - roasted and chopped


  1. Prepare a sheet of baking paper in a tray or a silicone sheet, ready to spread the cooked praline mixture.
  2. Put the sugar and hazelnuts together in a small non-stick saucepan and place on a low heat.
  3. Stirring continuously with a wooden or silicone spoon, allow the ingredients to cook gently until the sugar melts and coats the nuts with a golden sugar glaze.
  4. Immediately pour the mixture onto the baking paper/silicone sheet and using the back of the spoon, spread the mixture to about 8mm thickness.
  5. Leave to cool completely, before breaking into pieces or crushing for sprinkles.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated


  1. I recently found your blog and recipes, and I'm delighted to have found the Sweet Rice & Almond Shortcrust pastry base. With this recipe I was able to bake a glutenfree version of one of my favorite pies. I filled it with Almond cream and after baking and and cooling down I decorated the pie with strawberries. The dough worked great (got it transported in one piece into my baking mold!) and the result was absolutely delicious. So thanks a lot for sharing, will definately try more of your recipes. Best regards from the Netherlands, Janka

    1. Thank you Janka. So pleased you have found a pastry recipe to enjoy your favourite pies. I love this pastry..... it never lets me down. I hope it is always good to you too. And thank you so much for taking the time to give feedback. It is so good to hear that someone else is getting the benefit of our efforts and eating well! xx


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