I must say I am feeling a mite un-Australian right now.
The other day was Australia Day and instead of baking Lamingtons, Pavlova and Anzac Biscuits (though I am going to be baking the biscuits again soon) to be served at my simple little family BBQ, I whipped up Nigella Lawson’s Salted Chocolate Tart.
I know, I know. Very unpatriotic of me. But well, this year has me in a little bit of a flap. We have mostly (for the past 7 years) spent Aus Day around a friends pool having a big BBQ and drinking whilst listening to the Triple J Top 100. We eat Lamb, wear Australian flag temporary tattoos and hang out in our board shorts and bikini’s. We then finish the arvo with a game of cricket and a bomby competition. You know. Very AUSTRALIAN!!
*Insert bad Aussie accent here*.
But due to unforeseen circumstances we didn’t this year, so we ended up quickly throwing together a little BBQ at our house with the family. Nothing flash. But it kind of threw me, this change from the norm, I didn’t feel organised at all.
This is how I found myself madly flipping through my (rather large) collection of recipe books (a lot of them Nigella) looking for something yummy to serve. Now I have to admit, I have a little bit of a love affair with Nigella Lawson. I stumbled across her as a 12 year old and have been smitten ever since.
A. She is gorgeous.
B. Her cooking philosophy is the same as my own. (Cook simply, cook well and enjoy the process)
I must say I am just going to ignore the accusations of coke addiction and all that. I just refuse to let that distort my image of this cooking Goddess.
Now for Christmas just gone my awesome sister brought me Nigella’s new cookbook, Simply Nigella and I have finally found an excuse to cook something from it…… you know, because I totally needed an excuse! And as always I started at the back.. in the sweet section!
I’m sure you all know that is something Nigella does particularly well. Her desserts are just, scrummy. Though quite a few of her dinner recipes from her Kitchen recipe book are now regulars on my dinner menu as well. In fact I think I’ve cooked more out of that cookbook than any other single cookbook I own. So if you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting it.
Now enough flabbergasting and let’s get into the gorgeous Salted Chocolate Tart.
Salted Chocolate Tart
Unlike in Nigella’s book I’m going to combine all of the ingredients into one list for ease of shopping. I’ll specify in the method what amounts you need where.
2 x 154g packets of Oreos (Now I made this gluten free for my mum and I so I used 3 packets of Gluten free Chocolate Cream biscuits and then weighed out the correct amount)
50g Dark 70% Chocolate (as always I used Lindt)
150g Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 tsp Smoked Sea Salt Flakes (now I could not find these so I used regular sea salt)
25g Cornflour (ensure Gluten free if need be)
500ml Thickened Cream
50g Cocoa, sieved
2 tsp Instant Coffee Powder
75g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Biscuit Base.
Now the recipe calls for a 23cm deep sided loose-bottomed flan tin and unfortunately mine is 26cm across and unfortunately I didn’t realize that until about half way through making this. It’s not something I always check, but it really can make all the difference. If you do have a slightly larger tin you’ll need to either increase the quantities of both the base and filling to compensate or you’ll need to only put the biscuit base half way up the side of the tin so as to get a thick enough layer…… neither of which I thought to do until after I finished!
In a food processor, blitz your chocolate biscuits and 50g of the dark chocolate together until they form a fine crumb. Add in your slightly softened butter and salt and blitz again until the butter has worked into the crumb and it has started to clump together. Be sure to check it has incorporated well before turning out as the butter can just get coated in the biscuits and look like it has!
Tip the mixture into the flan tin and start pressing well into the sides of the tin and across the bottom. No need to stand on ceremony here…. it really does work better with your hands! Try and create an even layer of biscuit around each curve and across the bottom, ensuring you have a nice flat top as well. Cover with a loose layer of glad wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
Onto the rich dark filling.
Chop the dark chocolate into slithers and set aside. Don’t worry if it’s not pretty or too even, we’re just going to melt it anyway.
In a separate small bowl place the cornflour and milk together and whisk well until no lumps remain. Again set this aside.
Now pour the cream into a large saucepan and follow with the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder, sugar, vanilla extract, olive oil and salt. Place the saucepan onto a low heat and whisky very gently. You really don’t want to whisk too much here as you’ll just cause air bubbles and we’re only whisking so as to remove any lumps that might form.
Take the saucepan off the heat and ever so slowly pour in the milk and cornflour mixture, stirring lightly as you go. Once they have mixed well together switch over to a wooden spoon and pop it back onto the heat. Stir gently and keep a close eye on it. Nigella recommends that it will take about 10 minutes before the mixture starts to thicken, but I found mine to thicken in half that, so really do keep an eye on it. Be sure to scrape into the corners as you may get a build up of chocolate there and it will burn if you’re not careful.
Your chocolate mixture will reach the perfect thickness when you take the wooden spoon out, coated in chocolate and run your finger over the back. The chocolate should show the line you made and not run back together. Once you’ve reached this consistency take it off the heat and pour into a wide pouring jug or bowl, then take a large piece of grease proof paper and scrunch it up and run it under the tap until it’s just damp. Wring it out and place the paper slightly scrunched up over the top of the chocolate filling and place into the fridge for 15 minutes. This process will help stop a skin from forming and chilling it will help cool it so as not to melt your base, but still keep it in a nice pour-able state.
Once it’s cooled go ahead and pour the mix into your chilled base and smooth over the top. Cover with cling wrap and pop back into the fridge over night.
When it comes time to serve ensure you leave yourself enough time to remove it from your flan tin. I suggest pulling it out a few minutes before you need it, this will allow you enough time for it to warm slightly (to room temperature) so you can remove it from the flan tin.
Now don’t be scared about taking it out. This is where using a flan tin with a removable base is crucial. Take a small round bowl or something similar in a shape that is small enough to sit comfortably on the removable piece of the tin without touching the outer edge. Pop your tart on top of the bowl and allow it to sit there for a few minutes. As the tart warms slightly it will allow you to start very gently pulling down the outer edges and slowly slide the outer ring off. Leave the base on and serve on a large platter.
The tart is beautiful but quite rich so I suggest serving it with a little dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream to cut through and perhaps keep the slices small.
If you’ve got leftovers they can be popped back into the tin and covered in cling wrap for a further few days…. mine didn’t last that long! If you are serving the leftovers (and not just eating them straight out of the tin like I did) there’s no need to let it rest first, just go ahead and serve.
I think I will definitely be making this gorgeous chocolatey dessert again…. maybe next time I’ll remember that my tin is too big!
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Setting Time: 2 Hours for Base + Overnight
Serves: 8-10 easily
I can’t take any of the credit for this beautiful recipe, it was created and published by the wonderful Nigella Lawson, this is just my personal review. You can find the recipe in her new cookbook Simply Nigella.