At last I have something to post about – I have been so busy to even think about baking or cooking anything new! So tonight I made a dessert as we had some friends come over. As it has started raining again, I didn’t want a totally summery dessert, so chose to make a chocolate brownie tart. I have made a very similar one before with pecans and shop-bought shortcrust pastry, but this time I wanted to try making the pastry myself. Our guests were vegetarian so I actually used vegan butter (just in case) but ordinary butter would be just the same as the fat for the shortcrust pastry.
Chocolate Brownie Tart with Hazelnut Pastry, makes one 23cm tart (serves 8-10)
Preparation time : 45 minutes
Baking time : 50 minutes
Hazelnut Shortcrust Pastry
– 50g blanched hazelnuts, finely ground
– 200g plain flour
– 1tbsp icing sugar
– 140g diced butter, at room temperature
– 1 egg yolk
– Flour, for dusting
– 100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids +
– 75g butter
– 2 large eggs + 1 yolk
– 50g golden caster sugar
– 1 tbsp cocoa
– a pinch of salt
– 5tsp instant coffee mixed with 3-5 tbsp hot water
– 50g hazelnuts, finely chopped
First to make the pastry, whiz the hazelnuts in a blender until finely ground.
Then add the flour, icing sugar, butter and pulse for a few minutes until similar in consistency to breadcrumbs. You may need to stop occasionally to ‘unstick’ the mixture from the sides so that it is all evenly mixed. Ensure that the butter is room temperature and diced before adding to the mixture.
Next add the egg yolk (separate by cracking gently and allowing the albumen/egg white to drop into a spare bowl whilst keeping the yolk controlled between the two egg shells – see here for a clear demonstration) to and 1-2 tbsp cold water to the breadcrumbed pastry and pulse a few more times until it comes together.
Tip the dough out onto a clean floured surface and shape into a flat disc. Cover this with clingfilm (or a small bag) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a blender/food processor or don’t want to, check out this recipe for shortcrust pastry by Delia Smith.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and roll out the pastry gently onto the floured surface to fit a 23cm tart tin. Mine was rather crumbly so I put it into the tart tin and used my fingers to push it out gently. Try to get an even thickness on the base and the sides. Trim off any excess off the edges and prick the base with a fork. Cover and line the pastry case with baking parchment and weigh down by ceramic baking beans (uncooked rice and lentils make good alternatives). Bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes have elapsed, remove the beans and baking parchment and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
Next move onto the chocolate brownie filling. Place the broken dark chocolate, butter and coffee mixture into a glass heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whilst waiting for it to melt and mix into a smooth mixture, roughly chop the hazelnuts for the brownie. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar together. Once the chocolate mixture has melted together and cooled for some time, add to the egg mixture with the cocoa,hazelnuts and a pinch of salt. Taste and if too bitter (especially if high cocoa solids %), add another tablespoon or two of golden caster sugar.
Pour the hazelnut brownie mixture into the cooled pastry case. Decorate with spare nuts if you wish.
Bake the whole brownie tart for 20-25 minutes until a clean knife can be removed from the centre. Cool away from the oven or it will dry out a little. Serve with crème fraiche to balance the rich sweetness.
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