If you have ever wondered whether a rich, moist chocolate crust would sit well with a zesty, zingy lemony filling that melts in your mouth then wonder no more. It works. So well.
A little while back Mr C and I had the pleasure of having a number of friends – old and new – around for a dinner to celebrate a couple of things. I knew about the dinner for about 2 weeks and spent about – oh 2 weeks – trying to decide what to make that would suit everyone. I have realised that since I gave up eating meat, it is much harder to cook for a larger crowd. I would eat fish until it comes out of my ears but I know that not everyone is the same. Once I discovered that everyone attending ate fish (and had no allergies) the main course was decided. Simples!
However, come dessert I was stumped. I wanted to make something that could be made and baked in advance, could be served cold, and could literally be sliced and plated on the night. Believe me, there is nothing worse than hosting a party and then spending the night in the kitchen baking, cooking and looking after things. Believe me – I have been that soldier!
After perusing all the cookbooks on my shelf – there is a lot of them so it took a while- one recipe that jumped out at me was from the Green & Blacks Chocolate Recipes book. Chocolate Crusted Lemon Tart. Repeat after me – nom nom nom nom.
However, I have to warn you. When your guests have left, there are wine glasses on the sideboard that can only be hand washed – darn you pretty glasses, and the dishwasher needs to be loaded and turned on, you may find yourself standing at the fridge cutting yourself “just a slither” of tart and eating it there and then. Lets face it, a decent sugar rush is required to face house work. *
You can also use this excuse to do the laundry the following morning. **
*&** may have actually happened in real life, while wearing pyjamas and drinking coffee.
To make the tart you will need a 23cm/9in tart tin with a removable base that has been lined.
For the pastry you will need;
175g plain flour, 25g cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, 25g icing sugar, 125g unsalted sugar chilled and diced, 1 large egg yolk, 2 tbsp water
For the filling you will need;
75g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids minimum) grated, 3 un-waxed lemons, 150g caster sugar, 4 large eggs, 150ml double cream.
To make the pastry sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and icing sugar. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs – you can use a food processor or your fingers for this part.
Mix the egg yolk with water and add to the mixture to make a dough. You may need a little more water but add the egg and water little by little.Gather the pastry into a ball and wrap in cling film or greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for about an hour.
Once ready, roll out the pastry from the centre pushing it away from you. Use your weight to roll out the pastry trying not to tear it. Carefully line the tart tin and push it down into the tin.Try to ensure that the edges of the pastry come up as about an inch high – this will ensure that you have enough space for the filling. Any uneven edges can be trimmed before serving. Prick the pastry base with a fork in several places and chill in the fridge for 2 hours – or even overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200 C. Line the pastry case with foil and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.
Remove the tin from the oven and reduce the heat to 160C. While the pastry is still hot, scatter the grated chocolate over the base evenly and leave to cool.
When you get around to making your filling, finely grate the zest from the lemons into a mixing bowl. If you are using a microplane, remember to run the grater over the lemon, not the lemon up and down the grater. It is much more effective and there is less chance of grating your knuckles ( we have all been there!!!)
Now, squeeze and strain the lemon juice an add to the zest with the sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved then whisk in the eggs and the cream until the mixture is smooth.
Carefully, pour the filling into the cooled pastry case and carefully return it to the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before removing from the tin.
When slicing to serve, fill a tall glass with hot water and immerse your knife in it before cutting the tart. This will ensure a clean cut.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
You don’t have to dust the slice from the fridge with icing sugar – this will just waste time meaning you will get caught eating from the fridge *
* this may also have happened!
Enjoy this tart with good company, great conversation and a strong coffee.