Tuesday, 6 October 2015

My GBBO Challenge #9: Chocolate Tart

Last week, we had the Great British Bake Off semi-final.  Already!  This series has flown by.  Husband was glad to see Flora go (he found her really annoying).  I was kind of hoping Ian would leave.  It's very shallow but there's something about his sleepy eyes that winds me up.  Importantly though, Tamal and Nadiya have both made it through to the final.  Nadiya got star baker again, with her peacock-inspired showstopper an absolute stunner.  Amusingly, the Daily Mail thinks there is something shifty about having such a diverse final.  If watching GBBO is going to upset the Daily Mail then I'm all for it.

As for the baking, chocolate week set up the exciting prospect of making a chocolate tart.  It's one of those things I've always wanted to make but never quite found the bravery to do.  As the pastry on my bakewell tart went very well a few weeks back I decided it was time to give it a go.

I did go for a slightly different type of recipe than was used on the show.  They specified chocolate pastry but I'm not a great fan of it.  It's my bake, I shall do as I choose.  After much perusing of recipes, I went for a chocolate orange tart from the Good Housekeeping book.  Recently, my bakes have been substandard.  Time for a win, surely..?

OCD Panic Rating: 1/5
Handwashes: about half a dozen

I had to reach for the calculator before starting this recipe.  Having only a 9-inch flan tin (and having little inclination to buy an 8-inch one), I needed to work out how to adjust the ingredients to fit into the larger tin.  I was not going to have another tennis cake incident!  I found a recipe for a 9-inch tart then used those measurements for the pastry, also adding orange zest to give the pastry a zingy citrus flavour.  My initial feeling was that the pastry was too wet but it firmed up after chilling in the fridge.  There was plenty to cover the base of the flan tin and it rolled quite well with a bit of flour.  It made a relatively thick base, but I decided to leave it like that rather than risking leaks when I added the filling.  After blind baking, it had a slight golden tinge and seemed to have adhered well to the side of the tin.  First blood to me.

I used what I hoped was common sense to adjust the ratio of filling ingredients too.  Divide the recipe amount by 8 then multiply by 9 was my thinking, meaning I needed about 200g each of chocolate and cream instead of 175.  I used the same amount of egg, slightly more sugar and an extra tablespoon of orange juice to try not to upset the liquid balance too much.  I used orange juice instead of liquor simply because I'm not a drinker and had no orange liquor in the house.  It made the cream curdle a bit but it all seemed to incorporate properly when I stirred in the melted chocolate.  Then it was into the tin to bake for twenty minutes.

The good news was that my ratios seemed spot on.  There was enough filling to reach the top of the pastry, but no overspill.  After cooking, it had risen a little above the pastry but it settled once cooked.  With a coating of icing sugar, it looked damned tasty:

It was difficult to wait for it to cool sufficiently to eat!  I cut myself a tiny sliver (not wanting to spoil my dinner) and dug in.  It's gorgeous.  It really is.  The pastry is quite thick, as I'd thought, but it is so light and crumbly and has such a lovely orange flavour that this is a good thing.  The filling is silky and smooth, with the bitterness of the chocolate playing beautifully against the fruity pastry and the sweetness of the icing sugar.  It tastes decadent and rich without being too heavy.  It is an utter delight.

The baking hex is broken!  I'd totally have got through to the GBBO final with this!

Key Points:

  • Although I adjusted the size of the tart, the cooking time remained the same.  However, a larger tart is often going to need longer.  Keep an eye on it to avoid any nasty surprises.
  • In a recipe like this where chocolate takes centre stage, you need to have the good stuff.  It makes all the difference to the flavour.  I like Green & Black's, but anything with a high percentage of cocoa should do the trick.

Win Rating: 5/5.  I want to eat it all now.

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