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
- Weigh and sieve the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a large bowl and stir together with the ground almonds.
- Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the sugar.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and pour into the dry ingredients.
- Stir all the ingredients together using a table knife until they begin to clump together.
- Dust your hands with corn flour and bring the dough together, pressing into a ball.
- Knead very briefly, to make sure the ingredients are fully amalgamated.
- Use the dough as from number 5 below…………
by food processor
- Weigh the flours, almonds, xanthan gum, salt and sugar into the food processor bowl and briefly pulse to mix together and remove any lumps.
- Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and then pour into the food processor with the crumb mixture.
- Turn the food processor on and mix until the ingredients form a smooth dough. This will not require any further kneading.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the prepared pastry bases in the fridge for half an hour to chill prior to baking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C / 400⁰ F / Gas 6.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C / 400⁰ F / Gas 6.
- ‘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.
- 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.
- 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
- Put the cream, sugar and salt in a medium non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring.
- Add the chocolate, and immediately remove from the heat. Continue to stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Pour into a cold medium sized bowl and add the milk.
- Whisk the ingredients for about 5 minutes. This speeds the cooling process and ensures a completely smooth, light mousse.
- 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.
- Refrigerate once cold and leave to set for about 2 hours (or overnight if you have time).
- 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)
- Whisk the cream in a medium sized bowl until it produces soft peaks.
- Add the custard and orange blossom water (or liqueur) and continue to whisk until fully incorporated.
- 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).
- Allow the chocolate to cool before folding into the cream mixture.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
90g caster sugar (I used golden caster)
50g hazelnuts – roasted and chopped
- Prepare a sheet of baking paper in a tray or a silicone sheet, ready to spread the cooked praline mixture.
- Put the sugar and hazelnuts together in a small non-stick saucepan and place on a low heat.
- 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.
- Immediately pour the mixture onto the baking paper/silicone sheet and using the back of the spoon, spread the mixture to about 8mm thickness.
- Leave to cool completely, before breaking into pieces or crushing for sprinkles.