This chocolate tart might be the holy grail of dinner party desserts

An easy-to-make sweet treat that looks and tastes great

Cooks Academy Ireland Vanessa Greenwood's recipe for chocolate ganache tart.

 

This chocolate tart might be the holy grail of dinner party desserts. It looks impressive, it tastes great, it can be prepared in advance and it is pretty much foolproof. What’s not to love?

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November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

I love to serve this with berries and sprigs of mint, but cherries or orange segments would be good alternatives. If you have a little more time, add a fruit coulis and a quenelle of ice-cream for an indulgent end to a dinner party. Or, add a dash of liqueur such as kirsch or amaretto to the ganache.

Although the pastry case needs to be baked blind, this isn’t hard to do and the filling is certainly foolproof. The chocolate filling is fairly thick when it is poured into the cooled tart case, so any little gaps in the pastry won’t matter too much. The filling then just needs to be left alone to set for a couple of hours, there is no further baking to be done.

Do take the tart out of the fridge half an hour before serving it, so the filling softens slightly and looks more inviting. I’ve specified dark chocolate for this recipe, with about 55 per cent cocoa solids. If the filling is made using chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids, consider adding a little more sugar so the tart isn’t too bitter.

Depending on the depth of the tart tin, you may have more filling than you need. If you chill what is leftover, spoonfuls can be rolled into balls and dipped in cocoa powder (or leftover melted chocolate) to make chocolate truffles. A few truffles tied up in a pretty bag makes a lovely gift.

Chocolate ganache tart

Serves 8

Ingredients

For sweet pastry:

200g plain flour

100g cold butter, diced small

50g icing sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp cold water, if needed

For chocolate ganache filling:

400ml cream

80g butter, room temperature

40g caster sugar

320g dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), chopped

To garnish

250g fresh berries (blackberries, strawberries)

30g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

To serve: ice cream, fresh berries, fruit coulis, mint

Method

1 Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan), or equivalent. Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin.

2 To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in icing sugar. With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolk then bring together to a firm dough (add a little water if it appears very dry to help the mixture come together). Shape into a flat disc. Wrap this in clingfilm and chill it for 20 minutes.

3 Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface and use to line the greased tart tin. To bake the pastry blind, top the pastry with parchment paper and fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice or lentils). Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is light golden in colour. Remove the beans and paper and set aside.

4 For the chocolate ganache, place the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan, stirring them over a medium heat, to melt the ingredients. Remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as the mixture reaches a simmering point.

5 Place the chopped chocolate in a clean mixing bowl and pour the scalded cream mixture over the chocolate. Leave to settle for one minute, then stir continuously to combine the hot cream and chocolate until you have a smooth silky mixture. Set aside until the chocolate has cooled down.

6 Once it is cool, pour the chocolate ganache into the baked pastry shell.  Transfer to the refrigerator for two to three hours or until set.

7 An hour before serving, decorate the tart with fresh berries, toasted flaked almonds and mint. Serve with fruit coulis and or vanilla ice-cream.

Variation 
Smaller 10cm tartlet tins can also be used to create four individual tartlets.

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