Fed up of the French "chocolate buche" (a variation on the yule log)
I attempted to tantalize the taste buds of my belle famille with this sea-salted chocolate and pecan tart, the recipe for which I pulled out of the January 2010 Home and Gardens magazine.
Any worries I had about the sucre salé tart not appealing to the French in laws was unfounded...seconds were called for leaving only one lonely slice which disappeared from the kitchen during the night.
The tart is very moreish so can be served on its own. The combination of chocolate, salt and pecans works very well and as there is only sugar in the base, this is tart not too sweet. For me this is like Reece's peanut butter cups for grown ups!
The original recipe called for 64% Madagascan dark chocolate but I used 70% Valrhona chocolate which worked well. Also it is important to use a good quality sugar free cocoa for the base if you can. This tart is best prepared well in advance of when needed as is time consuming - but good news is that it is worth it and tastes good for a few days after.
you will need:
pastry ingredients - 175G butter (at room temperature), 75 golden caster sugar, 2 egg yolks, 250g of plain flour, 20g cocoa, 35ml water
filling ingredients - 200g of good quality 70% dark chocolate, 200ml of whipping cream, 200g light muscavado sugar, 10g maldon sea salt
topping ingredients - 100g pecan nut halves, 100g caster sugar, 1 tsp sea salt
first make pastry base: using a wooden spoon cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add egg yolks and water and mix well until all liquid has been incorporated. Gradually add the flour and cocoa to form a dough. Wrap in cling film, flatten with your hand and put in fridge for one hour. Sprinkle flour on a work surface (make sure you have enough room) and roll out the pastry to line a greased 24x2.5 cm tart ring. Then chill pastry (in tart tin) in fridge for a futher 15 minutes before blind baking(see note below) it in a 180° pre heated oven for 20 minutes and then bake for a further 5 minutes uncovered until the base is dry. Leave to cool.
for the filling: couldn't be easier - melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, when melted add the cream to he bowl and stir until you have a glossy and thick ganache. Then pour into the now cooled tartbase and stick in fridge for 2 hours.
for the topping: heat a heavy bottomed saucepan until warm and add the sugar continuously stirring until it forms a liquid caramel, then add the salt and mix well. Finally add the pecans and mix well before pouring the mixture on to greaseproof paper. (it is important to do this step quickly to make sure that the pecans do not get burned!). Spread out mixture using spatula and leave to cool. Once cooled break into pieces and scatter over top of tart.