You fool. You thought you'd had a chocolate tart before, didn't you? Well, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. This is the chocolate tart.
While planning our European adventure, I spent a little time (read: weeks and weeks) planning cooking classes. As it turns out, I only booked this one, but that's all I needed when this is the result.
We were in a rush on the day. We'd been to see Monet's garden and the bus ride took a little longer than we'd expected. It didn't help that I can't read a map to save myself and became hopelessly lost finding the venue.
The location of this cooking class? The Ritz. The Ritz, Paris, no less. The place was so ornate and beautiful inside. The actual class itself was in the basement of the hotel - not so fancy, but it's where the real magic happens.
The chef was a very funny, very sweet, but exceedingly smart man. He knew every tiny trick to make sure your tart turned out flawless - not just ok. My realisation? I handle my pastry far too much. No fixing cracks when rolling, no touching the edges, no overworking. Quick movements and use a pastry cutter as much as possible: your fingers are hotter than you realise and will melt that butter toot sweet.
We were lucky enough to be shown more than one recipe on the day: this beautiful tart, and a gorgeous chocolate mousse with tonka beans. We will revisit tonka beans at a later date (and boy, will you thank me we did).
Unfortunately, two recipes caused the class to run way over time. I popped out quickly to find Matty waiting for me, busting for the little boy's room. I was sure it wouldn't be a problem for him to use the facilities quickly. But yes, it was. Wow, pretty intense attitude from the doorman. It was a pity, it kinda spoiled such a lovely afternoon with the talented chef.
All was forgiven, of course, when we tasted the finished product. There was only two of us and one giant tart. Gone in three days. We probably shouldn't have kept it that long (it should not be refrigerated) but it was too good to toss.
I've since made it about a dozen times in the 12 months since we returned. That seems like a lot, but for me, it is the equivalent of a tart a day. I hate repeating recipes and feel like I need to constantly tweak (or totally recreate) in order to feel satisfied. But this. Wow. Happy to keep on cooking.
My latest rendition was for workmates. The people in my office were so sweet while I was away sick and I thought a little something chocolatey was in order. The verdict? Success. One guy had three pieces. "Emma, I swear I waited before taking seconds!" "And thirds, Jase?"
4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
300g dark chocolate
1 quantity shortcrust pastry
Preheat oven to 175ºC.
Roll pastry out to 3mm thick. Carefully line a 20cm tart tin with the pastry (ours is a ring with around 4cm height). Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Blind bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until cooked and just golden.
Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool slightly and fold very gently into the egg mixture until just combined.
Fill the pastry shell with the chocolate mixture and bake for around 20 minutes, or until set on the sides, but still soft in the centre.