I’m in Spain! Here with my parents, at my in laws’ finca near Competa, 45 minutes inland from Malaga. I was due to fly home tomorrow with my folks but now Adam has joined us and me and the kids are sacking off our flights for another week! Hurrah! Especially good news as we’ve had a patchy week weather wise and the next week is set to be El Scorchio. After a week or so off blogging, yesterday I was dying to get in the kitchen and make something delicious. A dessert was calling. As much as I love Spanish cuisine, they aren’t known for their puddings (normally a choice between flan, arroz con leche or an ice cream from a freezer cabinet) and I was seriously craving something chocolatey and sweet.
Whenever we are here we are constantly poring over Adam’s mum’s cookbooks. She has all three Moro books, so we usually start with those. For those who are uninitiated in the way of Moro (you’re missing out!) they do Muslim Mediterranean food; Spanish with a strong influence from Morocco too. It’s similar to Ottolenghi, in that it celebrates the Middle Eastern elements of Mediterranean food. Even though this tart mightn’t strike you as particularly Spanish, or Muslim for that matter, the recipe it’s adapted from uses a Lebanese Apricot sweet paste to add a bitter element, hence its inclusion in the Moro book. I swapped this obscure paste for some good quality local peach jam, and then also added salt for my own twist. The salt really adds an extra layer of flavour to it. (I am addicted to salted chocolate – I made Eric Lanlard’s brownies and added a little salt to them recently and they were unbelievably good.) Adam ate three slices of this tart when we got in from a slightly boozy night out last night and he doesn’t normally ‘do’ desserts.
So I think it’s pretty tasty. This is definitely a weekend recipe as, even though it’s easy, there are a few stages involved so you’ll need several hours spare if you going to commit to doing it. It’s one of those recipes where it’s nice to put the radio on, and enjoy a pot of coffee and the papers in between the various stages, lovely if you get the chance of a quiet household. (I should be so lucky – I had a teething baby to pacify and a bored toddler to entertain in between stages!) The sweet pastry recipe is a lovely one that could be used for a variety of fillings, indeed in the book it is used as a base for a number of other tarts. This is a great dinner party dessert, as it can be made in advance and always impresses. Serve it with slightly tart creme fraiche.
To make a large tart that would serve 8 people:
Sweet pastry shell (to fill a 24cm tart tin with a loose bottom):
140g plain flour
30g icing sugar
75g chilled butter
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
2 tablespoons of good quality apricot or peach jam, or orange marmalade
135g salted butter
110g good quality dark chocolate
2 large eggs
60g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
- To make the pastry, first mix your flour and icing sugar, then rub in chilled butter to make a breadcrumb like mix. Now add the yolk, crumbling with your fingers still, then gradually bringing together to make a dough. If it’s too crumbly you could add a splash of water or milk, but I didn’t need to. Wrap in cling film, then chill for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Once chilled, grate with a course grater into a greased tin and shape the tart by pressing it. This sounds like it wil be tricky but stick with it… once all your dough is grated in, distribute it so you can press it into a case shape. Neaten it as much as possible, so that the sides are firm and fairly similar all the way around. It doesn’t have to be perfect, mine certainly wasn’t, but just make sure it is sufficiently pressed together so it forms a nice pastry shell. Prick the bottom and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until it’s a little browned but not too much. Let it cool in the tin. Turn the oven down to 180C.
- Melt your chocolate and butter in a bowl over a bain marie (pan of simmering water).
- Whisk your eggs and sugar together till pale and fluffy, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Fold the chocolate and butter mixture into the egg and sugar. Add a teaspoon of salt to the mix and combine well. It will thicken as you mix.
- Spread your jam or marmalade over the base of your chilled pastry shell.
- Pour in your filling, levelling off to make it neat. There is excellent spoon licking potential here.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. It should be a bit wobbly in the middle when you take it out. Mine cracked a little and puffed up too, but it soon settles and the cracking actually looks rather nice.
- Leave to cool in tin. Take out carefully and enjoy warm or cold.