6 November 2012

Pieday part 3

The main thing for the pie day was to be a surprise for Lundulph - a chocolate tart. This one is directly out of the Hairy Bikers pie book, no changes made to it at all. It wasn't clear what sort of dark chocolate should be used, I opted for a 45% cocoa version.

Well I didn't have a rectangular loose-based 10.5 x 34 cm tart tin, so I used my ceramic 17 cm round quiche dish instead.


This resulted in a substantial amount of left-over sweet shortcrust pastry. So I dug out my mince pie tin (yes, I have one, despite never having made these, it was on a 3 for 2 offer...), rolled out the remaining dough and cut out 6 circles of 7.78 cm diameter. That's what it said on the cookie cutter and the circles fitter very nicely into the shallow indentations of the baking sheet.


Perhaps I could have rolled both the main tart and the small ones a bit thinner in hindsight.

This was also an opportunity to try and blind bake with beans, I've never done that before and always lived with the sides of my pies shrinking down.

Of course I don't have fancy ceramic beans, nor did I have regular beans, but I did have lentils, so I protected the shortcrust tart with a piece of baking paper and poured in the lentils. After all, legumes are legumes.


This was very interesting, the instructions were to bake the tart for 30 minutes, then take out of the oven, remove the beans and place back in the oven to finish baking for another 5 - 10 minutes more. And indeed, after 30 minutes only the sides seemed to have baked through, the bottom was shiny and bubbly. But I removed the lentils carefully and put the tart back in the oven. However, what I didn't take into consideration was that while the bottom was baking, the sides would burn. I did put some aluminium foil over them, but too late and the sides were a bit on the burnt side. Must remember next time. I let it cool in the pie dish before carefully prising it out.


Now for the filling. First goes in a white chocolate ganache: 200 g white chocolate with 100 ml double cream. It was a bit bubbly when I poured it into the tart, so I used a toothpick to pop the biggest ones. Then it went into the fridge for an hour to set.

After just over an hour, a skin had formed on the surface, but it seemed fairly soft still.
Then a dark chocolate ganache and here was my surprise: 200 g dark chocolate with 150 ml double cream. Odd, but I guess the Hairy Bikers know what they are doing. To be on the safe side, I carefully spooned it over the white ganache so that it wouldn't sink through. Then into the fridge for another hour.

The final decoration was to just melt white chocolate and drizzle over. I did try to temper it, but no luck, so I just went ahead and drizzled anyway.


At this point it was evening and I presented it to Lundulph... and there was much rejoicing... The book did say that this is a very rich dessert and that thin slices should be served, so that's what I did - thin wedges, though it looks very stingy on the plate:


As I cut into the tart, the dark chocolate ganache had set harder than the white chocolate ganache, but still the whole thing was rather wobbly and the layered effect was a bit lost. But it was yummy and Lundulph had a second piece which I'm sure he regretted afterwards.

I was worried that the ganaches were of different consistencies and read up on chocolate in my science of cooking book. It has interesting things to say. In general ganache will be equal parts in weight of chocolate and double cream. The double cream must be scalded first. But it is possible to vary the consistency by varying the amounts of chocolate to cream. So a thicker ganache can be achieved by blending two parts (weight) of chocolate to one part (weight) double cream. However, this doesn't hold as long, but goes grainy.

The book also goes on to explain the chemistry behind and what reacts with what to produce the smooth velvety ganache and although the book doesn't mention it explicitly, the type of chocolate would have quite an effect on the ganache. White chocolate is mostly fat, so would require less cream for a firmer ganache, whereas dark chocolate would require more. I must remember this and experiment. This recipe will need adjustments for sure.

After leaving the tart in the fridge for another 24 h, I noticed something more interesting. Both ganaches had set quite firmly now, the dark chocolate one was a bit too stiff for this sort of dessert, while the white chocolate one was perfect. So next time, the white chocolate ganache is OK as is, but the dark chocolate one needs more cream. And I also need to reduce the amount of dark chocolate overall, the layer of dark chocolate ganache is a bit too thick and the white chocolate is not noticeable at all.

I also think the dark chocolate ganache as it is would be very nice as filling for macaroons.

Oh yes, the little tartlet casings, I almost forgot. I baked them after the main tart. I didn't fill them with beans, seemed like overkill and of course they sank in a bit and I definitely should have rolled them thinner. But once baked, I put them in a small box in the freezer. All I need to do is take them out, put a spoon of jam and bake for a few minutes and a quick dessert is ready. At least that's the theory.

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