Salted Chocolate Tart

This week I’ve been back home in Cumbria for a holiday, and whilst here it finally sunk in for me that it’s Autumn. I don’t know if it’s because it’s colder than London, or if the fact there are more trees means all the colours are more obvious, but I’m enjoying it a lot. The boots and woolly jumpers are out, and the heating is on.

I wanted this recipe to be straightforward to make but look (and taste) amazing, and I think it fulfills the brief! It makes such a fantastic Halloween centrepiece, and the addition of the salt elevates the flavour into something spectacular.

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Ingredients (to fill a 23cm tin):
Pastry:
– 190g plain flour
– 30g cocoa powder
– 160g unsalted butter, diced
– 30g caster sugar
– 2-3 tbsp cold water

Filling:
– 300g dark chocolate (I used 70%), broken into small pieces
– 50g butter
– 50g caster sugar
– ½ tsp sea salt flakes
– 300ml double cream

Decoration:
– 50g white chocolate
– small knob butter

1. With the tips of your fingers, rub together the flour and cocoa powder with the butter to form a mixture resembling breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar, then add just enough water to bring the mixture together into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.

2. Heat the oven to 190°C and grease your tart tin. When the pastry has chilled, roll it out on a worktop dusted with cocoa powder (using flour will leave white marks) to about 3mm thick. Drape it over the tin, and use some of the excess pastry to help press it into the edges. Cut away most of the excess pastry, but leave some hanging over the side – this will help to stop the pastry from shrinking. Use a fork to prick small holes in the pastry case, then place a large piece of greaseproof paper into the tin and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and baking beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut away the excess pastry, and leave to cool completely.

3. For the filling, pour an inch or so of water into a large pan and bring to the boil. Cover with a heatproof bowl (ensuring it doesn’t touch the water), then add the dark chocolate, butter, caster sugar, salt flakes and half of the cream. Heat until all the ingredients have melted and combined (but try not to stir it too much!), then remove from the heat and whisk in the rest of the cream. Pour the filling into the tart case and leave at room temperature for about an hour.

4. For the decoration, melt the white chocolate and butter together in the same way as above. Allow to cool slightly – you want it liquid enough to work with but not so hot that it burns your hands – then put into a piping bag with a size 4 nozzle and pipe a swirl onto the tart.

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5. Use a cocktail stick to drag a line from the centre of the swirl to the edge of the tart; repeat this 8 more times to create a spider web effect. Allow at least another hour for the tart to cool completely, then serve.

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Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag, use a plastic sandwich bag and snip a small hole in the corner to create a make-shift one.

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