As regular readers will know, this Christmas brought me some rather exciting items of bakeware, including a very cute set of individual loose-bottomed tartlet tins. As a rule, I tend to be something of a "more is more" person in the kitchen, so I've been excited about the opportunity of restraining myself with some dainty little specimens, and have just been waiting for inspiration to strike.
Now that Valentine's Day is fast approaching (an event I vehemently vocally shun, and yet am always a little aware of!) it seems like the perfect opportunity to press the tins into action with some naughty, decadent little morsels. I got this idea for a chocolate and chilli tarte from the Great Sport Relief Bake-Off a few weeks ago. Since I couldn't find the original recipe, I had the perfect excuse to experiment for myself. My friend M recently made a German Chocolate Cheesecake with a weird and wonderful crunchy semi-biscuit/semi-pastry base, so I decided to try and create something similar to offset the smoothness of the filling. The result was scrumdiddlyumptious! Although, if I was making it again, I might go for a little less crunch in the pastry as I think it took something away from the delicateness of the overall finished product.
Definitely worth a try, though, if you're into experimental confections!
Makes 6-8 tartes of 6cm diameter
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g butter, chilled, in chunks
25g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
For the filling:
crushed seeds from 3 green cardamom pods
3 cloves, crushed
150ml double cream
45g caster sugar
1/3 tsp chopped scotch bonnet chilli
100g dark chocolate, broken up
2 eggs, beaten
1. For the pastry, mix flour, cocoa and baking powder together. Rub in the fat until you get a breadcrumb constistency. Stir in the sugar, then stir in the egg. Ball up in clingfilm; rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. When the pastry has rested, roll out as thinly as you can on a flour-dusted surface and use it to line your pastry cases. Blind bake at 200 degrees celcius for about 8 minutes; remove your baking beans and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees celcius. If you have any leftover pastry, you can use pastry cutters to make little biscuits - they only take about 3-5 minutes and are delicious!
3. For the filling, add the sugar, spices and chilli to your cream. Bring to the boil on the hob. Once the cream starts bubbling, remove from the heat, and stir in the chocolate until it has completely melted in. Allow the filling to cool for about 5 minutes or so, then gradually whisk in the beaten eggs, a little at a time.
4. Pop your pastry cases on an oven tray for ease of movement, fill each one with the filling, and bake for about 20-30 minutes at 150 degrees celcius.
5. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before serving with a little cream. These keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, but you should let them come to room temperature before serving them.