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Chili Chocolate Tart

If you’re a chocolate lover, you would always crave a perfect chocolate tart that reminds you of why you ARE CRAZYYY about chocolate in the first place – This Chili Chocolate Tart is IT. It is simple, decadent, and rich in chocolate flavours with a slight kick of chilli. It has a tender chocolate sweet pastry filled with chili chocolate custard filling, finishing off with a shiny cocoa gaze and chocolate shards. The taste of chili is very subtle in this recipe as I personally can’t take spicy very well. However, If you aren’t a big fan of chili, simply substitute it with dark chocolate and it will work just fine!



 

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Chilli Chocolate Tart

I don’t know about you but I have a thing for tarts. As simple as they look, there’s actually so much knowledge, hard work and effort behind to achieve a satisfying result. This is why the sense of accomplishment of finishing a gorgeous tart can be overwhelming (for me).

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In this post, I am going to tell you the tips of making the best chocolate tart in the simplest way!

    1. Use a food processor (no mess) 
      I was taught various ways of making sweet pastry i.e. cutting method, creamy method etc, but here I want to show you the easier way without getting your hand dirty – using a food processor. All you have to do is to process COLD butter cubes with dry ingredients until fine crumbs, then add in the egg and process until a smooth dough is formed. There’s minimum handling of the dough and you can avoid developing too much gluten in the dough, hence avoid pastry shrinkage when baked.
    1. Rest the sweet pastry dough (no shrinkage)
      One thing that you must have heard when it comes to tarts making is REST THE DOUGH. The reason is that when you need to give time for the gluten that was formed during the dough making process to relax. When making this tart, you will be resting the pastry twice – first, to rest it in a rectangular flat form wrapped by plastic in refrigerator for at least 30 mins before rolling the pastry out for lining; second, to rest the pastry lined in tart rings in refrigerator for another 30 mins to relax the gluten formed during the rolling process. Relaxed gluten won’t shrink as badly (sometimes doesn’t shrink at all) during baking, and you will have a more tender and consistent sweet pastry.
    2. Use a non-stick perforated baking mat when blind baking (no baking beans needed!)
      Have you ever experienced the frustration that even if you have poked thousands of holes in the sweet pastry and even putting baking beans on, your pastry still annoyingly puff up a lot in the oven? Here is the solution for you – use a non-stick perforated baking mat. These perforated mats are amazing that they allow air to escape underneath the pastry and provide optimal destruction of heat. They give a much more consistent baking result and that’s why people are using it for baking a lot of items such as tarts, short bread cookies, macarons etc.
    3. Bake the custard filling at low temperature 
      I know we all love ganache, I mean who doesn’t? But sometimes pure ganache filling can be too heavy as a filling. For my chocolate tart, I used a chocolate custard filling recipe that is slightly different from ganache due to the addition of eggs and milk. The eggs and milk sort of “lighten up” the ganache and make it custard-like. However if you want a smooth finish of the custard filling, you have to bake it at low temperature (120C). I baked my filling at 120C for 10mins and there were no cracks on the surface at all as the filling was cooked slowly and evenly.

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Ingredients:

Chocolate Sweet Pastry

  • 240g all purpose flour
  • 95g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g whole eggs (around 1 egg)

Chilli Chocolate Custard Filling 

  • 180g pure cream
  • 180g Lindt’s chili chocolate (break into small pieces)
  • 15g butter
  • 40g eggs
  • 40g cold milk

Cocoa glaze

  • 70g water
  • 65g sugar
  • 20g neutral glaze
  • 8g glucose
  • 30g cream
  • 15g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 gelatine sheet (titanium)
  • 40ml water



Instructions:

Make the Chocolate Sweet Pastry , put all purpose flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cold butter cubes into a food processor (handle with care and never put your hand near the blade when the machine is on), process on medium speed until fine crumbs. Add in the egg and process on medium speed until a smooth dough is formed. Put the dough on your working surface dusted with flour, flatten it with your hand and shape into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins.

After the resting time, flour your working surface and roll out your dough into 3mm. During the rolling process, you have to move the pastry around constantly and dust flour underneath the dough to ensure that the dough is not sticking to the bench. Poke holes into the pastries evenly with a fork and use a circular cutter to cut out circles that are around 3 cm bigger than the base of your tart rings. Fit the pastry into your tart ring and ensure to check if nice edges are formed at the base. Use a knife to cut off the excess pastry hanging out of the tart rings. Put the tart rings onto a perforated baking mat and rest in the refrigerator for 30 mins. Preheat your oven to 180C.

After the second resting time, bake the tart shells for 10mins. Take out from the oven, let cool slightly, and remove the tart rings carefully.  Brings the oven temperature down to 120C.

Make the Chilli Chocolate Custard Fillingput chocolate pieces into a mixing bowl and set aside. Meanwhile. bring cream to a boil in a sauce pan, immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for one min, then stir with a whisk until completely melted. Stir in the butter butter and and stir until melted. Add in cold milk , then egg into the ganache. Mix with a whisk until just incorporated. Fill the tart shells with the custard filling until it’s just 4mm away from the tart shell top edge. Bake at 120C for 10mins. Let cool in room temperature for 10 mins then put in refrigerator while you prepare the cocoa glaze.

Make the Cocoa glazebloom gelatine sheet with 40ml water, set aside. Bring all the other ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, off heat, stir in the bloomed gelatine and whisk until completely dissolved (try to avoid making any bubbles). Cool in room temperature for 15 mins. Take out the cooled tarts from the refrigerator, pour the glaze carefully on the set custard filling until it’s just full. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 hour to set completely. Decorate with chocolate shards and gold leaves if desired. These tarts are best to consume within three days.



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Zen – Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle

This matcha almond tart with swiss meringue and sesame brittle wonderfully plays with the popular Japanese dessert flavours – Matcha and Sesame. The earthy taste of the matcha almond filling pairs perfectly with the caramel, nutty taste of the sesame brittle that’s on top of the dreamy toasted Swiss meringue.  

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This tart came as a total surprise for me, because I originally made the matcha almond filling for Mont Blanc, a classic French dessert that’s made with chestnut puree and meringue. Unfortunately, there were lots of issues in the making and the mont blanc didn’t turn out as well as I expected so I decided to use the filling for something else. I promise you all that I will perfect my mont blanc recipe and share with you when the time comes around!

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And I do want to talk a bit more about the sweet pastry here. I recently bought some new tart rings that I had been craving for so long due to its more sophisticated finish. There’re quite a few methods out there to line pastry into these circular rings. After testing out on all the methods, I do find that the method of cutting out a larger circle of pastry and directly fit that in to the ring is the easiest and the most guaranteed. If you wanna watch how to do it in a video, I’d recommend Cupcake Jemma’s tutorial video  Alternatively, you can also cut out circles of pastry that are almost the same size as the base of your tart ring, as well as strips of pastry to fit as the sides. And you are gonna push the edge of the base to stick with the strips. Personally, I do find this a bit more tricky as sometimes as the pastry is too dry, the strips won’t stick too well with the base and they’ll separate when baked.

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As you’d all notice, I am recently super obsessed with meringue (the feeling of blow-torching meringue is just incomparably satisfying), so I decided to incorporate it into this tart to add another layer of texture. From top to bottom, you get the crispiness of the sesame brittle, the softness of the swiss meringue, the creaminess of the matcha almond filling, and the crunch of the sweet pastry. I chose to use Swiss meringue this time because I wanted it to be firmer and finer to top the tart with. And I adjusted the sweetness of the meringue recipe so it won’t be overwhelmingly sweet. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

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Ingredients (make 6 small tart):

Sweet Tart Crust

  • 125g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes 
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 55g whole egg, beaten

Matcha Almond Filling

  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbsp milk

Swiss Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Sesame Brittle:

  • 60g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 30g water
  • 1/4 salt  

Instructions:

Sweet Tart Crust

  1. Rub together cold butter, sugar and flour to a fine crumb.
  2. Add egg and mix to a dough.
  3. Wrap dough with plastic and rest in the refrigerator to firm up until needed.
  4. While your dough is resting, preheat your oven to 180C.
  5. Dust your work surface with flour to avoid sticking. Roll pastry to 3mm thick and line into 6 small tart rings.
  6. Poke holes on the pastry with a fork and put it back into the fridge to rest for 30 mins.
  7. Blind bake for around 10 mins until slightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack. *Don’t bake until golden brown at this stage as the tart will continue to bake when you bake the filling*

Matcha Almond Filling

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy. It will take around 5 minutes.
  2. Add egg and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add almond meal and matcha powder into the sugar-butter-egg mixture. Mix with a spatula until it forms a paste.
  4. Add milk and mix until incorporated.
  5. If your tart shells are ready by now, fill them with the matcha almond filling (only to 85% full as they expand when baked) and bake for 10 mins. Let cool completely.

Swiss meringue

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.

Sesame Brittle

  1. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water, and salt and cook over medium-high heat, continue stirring until the mixture reaches 260°F (127C). Add the sesame seeds and continue cooking while stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 350°F (177C). Stop cooking if you see the mixture turns into a golden brown color.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared parchment paper, spreading it with a palette knife into an even, thin layer. Set aside to cool until firm.
  4. Once the brittle is cooled, break it into pieces of your desired size.

Assemble:

  1. Spoon or pipe the swiss meringue on the tarts and create some “peaks’ with a spoon.
  2. Insert the sesame brittles into the meringue.
  3. Toast the meringue with a blowtorch.
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Drunk in Style – White Wine Poached Pear Almond Tart




It’s been a while, everyone. I am really glad that I’m finally sharing a recipe I learnt from school with you all. This week, our teacher demonstrated how to make this French-style white wine poached pear almond tart (Pear Bourdaloue); I absolutely loved it and I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

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Making tarts hasn’t been my strong suit, because up until now I haven’t fully grasped the techniques of handling and rolling pastry. Thanks to school, I had to squarely deal with all my weaknesses and practice. Cope with the huge difference between last year’s baking experience and that of this year isn’t easy either. In LCB, I am constantly introduced all sorts of pastry items that never existed in my world due to my limited exposure to the culinary world. Honestly, the feelings of inadequacy could be overpowering at times, but so is the sense of excitement burning in my heart that I know I just have to keep learning and getting better. For those who are curious about what I’ve made at school for the past few weeks, I’ve attached couple photos at the end of this post as promised. 

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About the tart itself, I know in many sense it matches with autumn theme more, but when you want to eat tarts who cares about the time? Sweet and soft pears shall be the star of this tart – they are beautifully spiced by cinnamon and cloves, with the addition of tangy, sweet flavour thanks to the white wine, as well as lemon and orange peel. Poaching pears requires correct time, temperature and patience. You want soft, sweet, flavoured pears that are not cooked to become mushy in the end. Having the pears together wIth the nutty almond cream at the bottom is simply delicious. I like having this tart when freshly baked (preferably with vanilla ice-cream on top, yummmm), but it’s purely my own preferences. I hope you will enjoy this recipe! 

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White Wine Poached Pear (Can be made the night before)

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh pears
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml white wine
  • 250g sugar
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or  1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 1 clove (or ⅛ tsp ground cloves)

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients (except the pears) in a pan.
  2. Peel and core pears, gently poach (NOT boil) pears in syrup.
  3. Cook the pears for about 1 hour until they are soft. Use a stick to test every once in a while to see if the pears are done.
  4. When done, take out the pears from the pan to stop the cooking process. Reserve the liquid. When both the pears and liquid have cooled, let the pears continue soaking in the liquid. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Sweet Pastry Dough (this recipe makes two tart shells):

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 142g sugar
  • 90g eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g bakers flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 45g almond meal

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer until well combined.
  2. Adds eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Mix.
  3. Mix in sifted flour and almond meal to form a dough.
  4. Wrap it with plastic and keep in refrigerator to set and rest for at least 30 mins. (the gluten in the dough needs to rest or the pastry will shrink when baked)
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  6. Lightly flour your working surface. Roll out the pastry to 2.5-3mm thickness. Line a 8 inch tart pan with sweet pastry. Poke littles holes with a folk on the pastry’s base to avoid air bubbles from forming when the pastry is baked. Refrigerate to rest the pastry for 20 mins.
  7. Bake the pastry for 12-15 mins until golden brown.
  8. Let cool and set aside.

Almond cream

Ingredients:

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 20g baker flour
  • 120g almond meal
  • 20ml rum (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand of a mixer until well combined.
  2. Add vanilla, and eggs (one at a time). Mix well.
  3. Add flour, almond meal, and rum (if used). Mix well to form a paste.
  4. Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Fill the tart with the almond cream generously.
  3. Put the poached pears on top according to the design you want.
  4. Bake for approximately 25-35 mins until golden brown.
  5. Sprinkled toasted almond on top if desired.

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Yum




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Sunflower Love – Japanese Mini Cheese Tart with Milo Crust




Good news – there are finally some good tarts made in Charlotte’s kitchen!! I haven’t updated the blog for nearly two weeks, because 1) life outside was so eventful that my kitchen lost its allure to me temporarily (trust me it’s really big thing for someone like me who always prefers to stay home) and 2) I had been trying to figure out the best method of making these little japanese cheese tarts so that I can share this recipe with you guys.

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If you are a fan of Japanese desserts, cheese tart shouldn’t sound unfamiliar to you. People are crazy about it, but who can blame them? Taste wise, the tart marries sweet and salty brilliantly. Texture wise, the contrast between the buttery crispy crust and the lava-like cheesy filling probably creates the most unforgettable tart eating experience. I once tried it in Japan, and I simply couldn’t get over it ever since.

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My take on this tart overall is pretty straightforward, except that I added some milo powder into the crust for a little malty, chocolate twist. If you follow the instructions carefully, making the tart filling shouldn’t be hard either – it basically resembles making custard with the use of a double boiler, so that things can be cooked evenly and gently without cooking the egg. The cornflour and egg will thicken the mixture considerably so that you can easily brush egg yolk on it before baking.

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One thing I must remind you here is, that no matter how eager you want to see the result, please be patient to let tart crusts cool and dry up before filling them up. I was impatient before and the tart ended up tragically soggy (yeah you don’t want that). Thanks for reading and I hope you will make them soon!

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Make 10-12 mini tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup (188g) all purpose flour (+ 2 tbsp for kneading)
  • 25g milo powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) cold butter, cut into small cubes  
  • 1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • salt

For the filling:

  • 110g cream cheese
  • 110g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp (28g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk or heavy cream
  • 50g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg
  • 12g cornstarch (corn flour) (sifted)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Extra egg yolk for brushing

Instructions:

For the filling:

  1. Using a double boiler, heat and melt cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, butter until smooth.
  2. Add sifted cornflour and icing sugar, and mix well.
  3. Add egg, and mix well.
  4. Stir in milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, and mix well.
  5. Let the custard cool for at least 15 mins before putting them into a piping bag tipped with a round nozzle. Chill it in the refrigerator for later use.

For the crust:

  1. Blend together flour, milo powder, sugar, salt, butter with a pastry cutter or a food processor, until the mixture becomes coarse meal with spea-size butter lumps.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and stir until incorporated.  
  3. Put the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Add the extra 2 tbsp flour onto the dough surface. Knead the dough for a few times until the dough is brought together and no longer sticky. Press it into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins until firm.
  4. Roll out dough into 3-4mm thick with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface and fit into tart pans. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Now, Preheat your oven to 375F/190C.
  6. Bake tart shell for 15-18 mins . Let them cool in the pan until they’re cool enough to handle. Take the shells out of the pan and let them cool completely on a wrack.
  7. Now turn up the heat of your oven to 446F/230C.

Assemble:

  1. Pipe custard into the cooled tart shells, brush egg yolk on the surface.
  2. Bake for 6 mins on the top shelf (to facilitate browning). If you prefer a runnier texture, try 4 or 5 mins. Enjoy!

Yum

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