'Dirty' Dark Chocolate Tart
‘DIRTY’ DARK CHOCOLATE TART
Who doesn’t love a good tart?
Contrasting textural elements are super important in creating a dessert that’s exciting to eat. Crunchy texture against a silken texture makes the silken texture seem even more luxuriously silken, and the silken texture against a crunchy texture make it seem even more deliciously crunchy.
The ‘dirty’ part of this recipe, is the crunchy cocoa soil/streusel texture in the base of, and sprinkled over, this surprisingly simple and scrumptious tart. The streusel on its own is downright delicious, but when you add the caramelised hazelnuts to the mix, well, it’s downright addictive.
Think about other applications for this power powder combo …. sprinkle them over an ice-cream sundae for an absurdly easy dessert, plate under or over a scoop of ice cream or gelato next to a slice of cake or tart, or let’s be honest, my money is on you not being able to help your self but to devour a spoonful or two just as is. The caramelised hazelnut component on its own is a great one to have in your repertoire … I use this with embarrassing regularity in different ways to add a crunchy contrasting texture to a plated dessert. Of course you can use any nuts, but roasted hazelnuts (locally sourced from Orange or Mudgee … even better!) or peanuts are my fave.
This also makes amazing little individual single person serving tarts, or petit four sized tarts, just follow the same instructions, but make mini versions. And be prepared to be the favourite when you share these morsels at the office, bookclub, family gathering or chocoholic anonymous meeting.
‘DIRTY’ DARK CHOCOLATE TART
For a recipe with less detailed instruction, in a printable format click here!
125g plain flour sifted
20g good quality cocoa powder
125g raw sugar
50g almond meal
50g hazelnut meal
125g unsalted butter (melted)
good pinch of sea salt
175g caster sugar
¼ cup water (60ml)
To assemble tart:
125g melted dark couverture chocolate (to mix with streusel and hazenluts)
100g melted dark chocolate to brush onto the cooled tart base
500g dark couverture chocolate of choice (I’ve used 55% cacao solids)
500g thickened cream
Place all ingredients except butter into mixer bowl and mix with paddle on low speed until combined (or mix with electric handmixer or fork).
Add melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Crumble the streusel mix onto baking paper on baking tray, and bake at 170° C for around 20 minutes, until crumbs resemble a biscuity texture. Cool.
Keep ¼ cup of streusel aside to sprinkle on finished tart.
CARAMELISED HAZELNUTS METHOD
Spray a baking tray with neutral flavoured vegetable oil like canola (olive oil will impart a flavour on the nuts, so isn’t great in this recipe). Place hazelnuts on tray.
Place sugar and water in heavy based saucepan, over medium high heat, and let sugar dissolve. Give a brief gentle stir if necessary to combine solid sugar with liquid. Brush any sugar crystals that appear on the inside of the pan above the water line with a pastry brush dipped in warm water, to dissolve them. Let the sugar/water bubble away until it begins to colour.
Give the pan a little swirl when the liquid sugar starts to colour, to disperse colour evenly, but don’t stir!
When the liquid sugar has become an amber toffee colour, pour onto the hazenluts. Don’t worry if the toffee doesn’t cover all the nuts … when cool, the whole lot is going to be broken up and placed into the food processor to be made into powdery crumbs. So do this when it’s cool. When reduced to crumbs, combine the hazelnut crumbs with the cooled streusel mix.
TO ASSEMBLE TART:
Add 125g of melted dark couverture chocolate to the bowl of streusel and caramelised hazelnuts (that have been mixed together), and mix with a spoon, then by squeezing with your hands, until combined. If the mix isn’t coming together after squeezing with hands, warm gently for a short burst in the microwave. If the mix seems too liquid after squeezing, add a little more hazelnut or almond meal. The mix should be pliable like a moist dough.
Take the slightly warm, squishy mixture and place on baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper over the top and roll it baby, with a rolling pin. Roll until the mix is around 5-6mm thick for a large tart, and large enough to cover the dish you’re going to put the tart together in with some extra to go up the inside of the dish to create the outer crust edge (I used a 27cm round flan tin with a removable bottom, which makes it easy to remove the finished tart as a whole, and place on a presentation plate). Place a baking tray under the dough and baking paper.
Take the top baking paper sheet off. Lay your dish upside down over the rolled out dough, pick up the baking tray and flip the whole lot upside down, with the dish base now sitting right way up in front of you. Remove the baking tray. Remove the baking paper, and gently press the mix into the dish. Don’t freak out if bits break off, just squeeze/press them back into shape with the rest of the base. *Note: if this is too tricky, just press the mix into the dish, but rolling the base will give you a more even base.
Trim top edge with knife. Refrigerate or freeze until set hard.
When hard, brush the base with a thin layer of melted dark chocolate to protect from the ganache filling making it soggy. Eeew.
Note: If you choose to use a higher cacao percentage chocolate, it may be worth using some milk chocolate as well, to help the ganache from splitting. Eg. you might want to use 400g of a very dark chocolate (for the more intense flavour notes) and 100g of a good quality milk chocolate (cocoa butter should be the only fat in the ingredients – no vegetable oil!). You’re already adding a bucket load of cream, so it’s hardly worth becoming snobby at the thought of using milk chocolate if you’re of the darker inclination. Keep the final total weight of the chocolates at 500g.
Heat thickened cream in saucepan until it boils.
Pour over chocolate (which you’ve chopped into small uniformly sized pieces if it isn’t already in little ‘callet’ or button form).
Give bowl a little swirl and tap on the bench, to encourage cream to work its way through the chocolate and start melting it. Leave for 10 seconds to start melting.
With a whisk, start in the centre of the bowl, and gently stir in spiral motion from centre of bowl to the outside, then reverse motion from the outside and stir in spiral motion back to centre. Repeat until the ganache has come together in a silky smooth emulsion.
Let the ganache cool, stirring gently every few minutes to avoid a skin forming. When the bowl is no longer warm to touch on the bottom of the outside (a stainless steel bowl will cool down more quickly than glass – so is preferable for this ganache mixture), but the ganache is still liquid enough to stir, pour into tart case, give a little wobble/shake to level out, and return to fridge.
When cold and set hard, cut with a hot knife and serve with a few ‘dirty’ (streusel) crumbs on top.
Best served with cream (brown sugar whipped cream is delicious), or ice-cream.
SWITCH IT UP
Infuse me: Heat the cream for the ganache, then infuse with any flavour infusion – fresh mint leaves, fresh orange zest, coffee beans, vanilla bean etc. When you’re happy with the flavour strength, strain away infusion ingredients used and continue recipe as directed – but with flavoured cream!
Milk & Peanuts: Replace hazelnuts with peanuts in caramelised nuts recipe and the dark chocolate in the base with milk chocolate (still use dark chocolate in the ganache filling).
Ooey Gooey Goodness: Place a layer of salted caramel over the chocolate lined tart base and refrigerate til set before pouring ganache over. This is especially good with the peanut base. Sprinkle tart with a little extra sea salt and streusal on top before serving
Berrylicious: Top with fresh berries when ganache is cool enough that the berries don’t sink into the liquid. The acid in the berries helps cut through the richness of the chocolate. Same to be said for citrus, or passionfruit.
Boozey: Gently stir a capful or two of hazelnut or orange liqueur into the ganache when cooling