A few months ago I had the good fortune of being invited, along with a few fellow food bloggers, to an evening of chocolate tasting with the inimitable Paul A. Young at his quaint shop in Camden Passage, Islington.
A revelation! That's what the whole, marvellous evening was - a revelation. I've eaten my fair share of chocolate in my time, but I'm no chocoholic - far from it. I certainly don't go weak at the knees at the sight of a chocolate fondant like one friend I can think of, nor am I an habitual eater of the chocolate bars us Brits have a love affair with (if we are to agree with Jay Rayner's recent musings on the humble chocolate bar).
But for the first time I learnt what it is that I do like and why, what flavours work for me and what I'll be steering clear of in future. The winner by a country mile for me being dark chocolate made from Madagascan beans (in particular the Valrhona Manjari 64%) - fruity, mouthwatering (literally!), citrus flavours. Delicious!
Ever since then, having learnt the difference the type of chocolate you use can make to a recipe, I've been meaning to create a recipe to do Madagascan dark chocolate justice. A few weeks ago I finally got around to trying the confit orange recipe from Paul A. Young's recent book - Adventures with Chocolate - which inspired me to make this Chocolate & Orange Tart. The addition of a little orange zest to the sweet pastry works brilliantly with the rich Madagascan chocolate filling.
You can read all about the different chocolate we tasted that evening in great detail on my friend and fellow food blogger's blog Kavey Eats. We ate a LOT of chocolate...
8oz plain flour
4oz cold unsalted butter (cubed)
1oz icing sugar (sifted)
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 orange (finely grated)
6oz single origin Madagascan dark chocolate
4 oz unsalted butter
2oz golden caster sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
Confit orange peel (I used the recipe in Paul A. Young's book Adventures with Chocolate which worked really well)
To make the pastry, mix the flour and butter in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to mix for a short time until the pastry forms a soft ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for at least half an hour, then roll out to about 4mm thick to line a greased 9 inch fluted tart tin and chill again (you can pop it in the freezer if you're short on time).
Put the tart tin on a baking tray and blind bake the pastry case for around 20 minutes at approximately 180C (depending on your oven). You can do this by laying a piece of baking parchment inside the pastry case and filling it with baking beans (or just some uncooked pulses or rice if you don't have the fancy baking beans). Remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Whilst the pastry case is baking, prepare the chocolate filling. Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, whole egg and egg yolks until pale and fluffy (the easiest way to do this is with an electric beater if you have one as it takes longer than you think). Once the chocolate and butter has melted, take off the heat and leave to cool slightly before mixing gently into the egg mixture until combined.
Once the pastry case is cooked, turn the oven down to 170C. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry case and bake for 5 – 6 minutes. Put the tart on a wire rack to cool. When the tin is cool enough to handle, remove the tart from the tin and leave on the wire wrack to cool.
Decorate with confit orange peel and serve with caramelised oranges or lightly whipped cream.