Chocolate & Walnut Tart with Toffee Sauce

Chocolate and Walnut Tart

When I wrote this recipe for my newspaper column the correct photo did not appear, due to an intern who had been out celebrating his birthday late the night before. So reposting it here is a chance for me to share with you the recipe as it was meant to appear.

If you’re a follower of this blog you will know I love contrasts, whether that is sweet and sour or a contrast of textures like soft and crunchy.

With this tart, I’ve added cocoa powder to the pastry for maximum chocolate flavour.The dark richness of the chocolate is contrasted well with the walnuts and the moreish mellow toffee sauce.

Ingredients: (serves eight)
120g (4 ½ oz) softened butter
1 medium egg
9Og (3 ½ oz) caster sugar
200g (8oz) plain flour
5og (2oz) cocoa powder

2 tsp seedless raspberry jam
150g (6oz) walnuts roughly chopped
200g (8oz) good plain chocolate
60g (2 ½ oz) softened butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
4 eggs

1. To make the pastry, rub the flour, cocoa powder and butter together until it is a fine crumb consistency.
2. Break the egg into a separate bowl, add the sugar and beat the for several minutes.
3. Gradually add the egg mix to the pastry, working it gently just until it comes together, then cling wrap it and place in your fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
4. In the meantime lightly butter a 10-inch quiche dish (use a ceramic one if possible).
5. Gently roll out the chocolate pastry to a thickness of 4mm on a lightly floured surface, then line the quiche dish with the pastry. Trim off any excess pastry and keep*.
6. Chill the pastry shell down in the fridge for 30 minutes, then gently brush the base with the seedless raspberry jam. Now gently lay the walnuts on top of the jam and refrigerate again.
7. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350F gas mark 4
8. Separate the eggs you have saved for the filling, yolks in one bowl and whites in another.
9. Add the 100g (4oz) caster sugar to the yolks and whisk with an electric whisk until the yolks have turned pale and fluffy.
10. Whisk the egg whites until very stiff.
11. Melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water, then remove from the heat as soon as it’s fully melted.
12. Allow the melted chocolate to cool for just 1-2 minutes then slowly fold the yolk mixture in. Then fold the egg whites in and then pour the filling evenly over the walnuts and smooth with a palette knife if necessary.
13. Use your saved pastry scraps to make a lattice pastry top.
14. Bake in the middle shelf for 35-40 minutes moving the tart to a lower shelf if needed.
15. Taste the tart with a toothpick and when it comes out clean remove the tart from the oven.

Toffee Sauce
Making toffee sauce is easier than most people think just keep an eye on it and be sure to use a heavy based stainless steel saucepan. Have a pastry brush on hand in a cup cold water.

200g (8oz) granulated sugar
½ vanilla pod
142ml (1/4 pint of double cream/heavy cream
150ml (1/4 pint + 1 Tbsp) of water
50g (2oz) butter, cold chilled pieces

1. Combine the sugar the water into a heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer on a         medium heat.  If you see any sugar crystals forming on the insides of the pan then use the wet pastry brush and         “paint” the inside of the pan to dissolve the crystals back into the liquid.
2. Simmer on a medium heat until the syrup becomes a light golden brown then take the saucepan off the heat and         add the cream slowly being careful because the syrup reacts violently when the cold cream is added.
3. Now stir in the butter and scrap and add the vanilla seeds to enrich the flavour.

To Serve
Serve the tart warm with the toffee sauce a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chef’s Tip
To maximise the contrasts in this dish, scoop the vanilla ice cream into ice cold ramekins ahead of time and put back in the freezer.  Then serve your slice of tart on a warm plate with the toffee sauce and place the ramekin on the side of the plate at the last moment.

©Kevin Aston 2006-2015


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