Recipe: Dark chocolate tart with blackberries & hazelnut praline
The magic combination of dark, slightly bitter, intense chocolate and plump, ripe blackberries sprinkled with the crunch of hazelnut praline is impossible to resist! This tart needs to set for at least six hours so start this recipe well in advance of serving.
Serves 12-14 / Preparation 35 minutes / Cooking 24 minutes
For the hazelnut praline
1½ cups hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and put the hazelnuts on a baking tray. Put a square of baking paper on a heat-safe baking dish ready for the praline. Bake the hazelnuts for 10 minutes until fragrant and coloured. Remove from the oven and rub the hazelnuts between a folded tea towel to remove the bitter skins as much as possible.
Heat the sugar and 3 tablespoons water together in a medium-sized, heavy based saucepan. Whisk to combine then cook, without stirring, over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and caramelised, turning a light golden colour. Keep an eye on the caramel so that you don't miss the magical point between golden and rich and black and bitter.
As soon as you have a pale golden liquid, tip in the hazelnuts and coat in caramel. Quickly pour onto the baking paper and leave to set. Caution: do not put your fingers any where near the caramel, it is viciously hot!
Once the praline is cold, whiz in a blender or smash into chunks with the end of a rolling pin, depending on whether you like your praline chunky or fine – I do half and half.
For the pastry
baking oil spray
1¾ cups flour
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (I use Equagold)
pinch of salt
¼ cup icing sugar
150g cold butter, chopped into cubes
Spray the base of a 29cm removable base tart tin very lightly with baking oil and use a pastry brush to distribute it evenly on the base and sides.
Put the flour, cocoa, salt, sugar and butter in a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Slowly add 2-3 tablespoons iced water and pulse until the mixture forms big clumps. Tip onto the bench and squish together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Leave the pastry to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes then roll out between two overlapped sheets of baking paper until 1cm larger than the tin. Line the base and sides of the tart tin with pastry, patching any tears as you go. Put the pastry-lined tin in the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 180˚C.
Cut out a circle of baking paper slightly bigger than the tart tin and put it in the pastry case. Fill it with baking beans or rice and cook for 12 minutes, remove the baking paper and baking beans and cook for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool at room temperature then remove the case from the tin.
For the filling
500g 70 per cent dark chocolate, chopped
100ml Chambord (French blackberry liqueur)
Heat the cream in a microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the chocolate, remove from the heat and leave to sit for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. It may need a tiny bit of extra gentle heating to melt fully.
Add the Chambord, whisk to combine then cool for 15 minutes before pouring carefully into the cooked pastry shell.
Allow the tart to set at room temperature for at least 6 hours before serving. If it's hot or you want the tart to set as quickly as possible, you can put it in the fridge, but remove it from the fridge at least an hour before serving to bring back to room temperature.
1½ cups fresh blackberries
200ml cream, softly whipped
When ready to serve, top the tart with the blackberries and crumbled praline and serve with whipped cream.