Chocolate tart is the ultimate comfort food. Its right up there with popcorn, mac n cheese, banoffee pie, pizza-from-the-night-before, etc!
As for the name of this post: if you’re, a) female, and b) a book lover, surely you grew up reading Judy Blume books! Some people will be too embarrassed to admit that because those were the books that tackled all those subjects you couldn’t talk to anyone else about as a teenager. Back when I was a teen, the internet was just sort of making its way into the popular domain. It wasn’t accessible like it is today (my first uses were in the local library where you had to pay £3 an hour!) and so nowadays, presumably teens have Google to turn to as their answer to everything; we had Judy Blume (ok, maybe she didn’t have the answers to everything, but her books made it comforting to know whatever you were going through is “normal!”)
My favourite book was Tiger Eyes, in which the main character is a young girl dealing with the death of her father. I remember this book being the first that really made me understand/appreciate the power of literature, as I had also lost my father at a very young age. Judy hit those difficult-t0-explain feelings spot on and created such an accurate and relate-able character. That’s when my love for beautiful fiction truly blossomed and I realised, books are awesome! In fact, I’m still shocked when people say “they don’t read books” because a good story, to me, can never have the same impact on you as the best movie will!
What does this long rant have to do with chocolate tarts, you say? Well to me, this tart is like a Judy Blume book: comforting, rich (yet easy to take in large quantities) and simple! Basic flavours and ingredients combined in a no-fuss manner.
My recipe is inspired by Nigella Lawson‘s Chocolate Pudding, but I have changed quantities and method to make this more my own.
1 x shortcrust pastry (*see note below)
60g caster sugar
35g good quality cocoa powder
1.5 tbsp cornflour
250ml full-fat milk
125ml double cream
2 egg yolks
60g dark chocolate, finely chopped
*You can make life a lot easier and buy a ready-made shortcrust pastry base from your local supermarket. Alternatively, you can also use ready-rolled pastry, like this. I wanted to try out the McDougalls Shortcrust Pastry Mix so I used that. Alternatively, check out some of the links at the end of this post to some great recipes to make the pastry from scratch, but it does make the whole process slightly more long-winded.
I made the pastry following the instructions on the back of the packet, and lined a pie dish with foil (as this didn’t have a loose bottom). Make sure to let the foil hang out enough so that you can easily lift the pie out with it when serving, if you go for this method for your base too.
Put the base in the fridge while you make the filling. Also preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius (338 degrees Fahrenheit).
First, combine the sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour in a heatproof bowl, and using a hand whisk, stir it all together so that its combined. Then, add the egg yolks, one at a time and whisk them in well. At this point, the mixture will feel quite clumpy and difficult to “unite.” Don’t worry, that’ll be sorted in the next step.
In another bowl, add the milk and cream and heat in your microwave for a minute (it should be a little warmer than luke warm, so give it another 30 seconds if need be). Add a few tablespoons to the cocoa mixture to loosen it up and make it more creamy. Then slowly add the rest of the milk mixture, whisking it all in well.
At this point, if your mixture is very runny, you could put it on top of a pot of simmering water, and gently stir till it thickens a bit. Otherwise, if its not too runny but more like a thin custard consistency, skip that and proceed to the next and final step.
Pour the mixture over the pastry and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. You want it to firm up (but not be too hard) and the base to cook (but not over-brown). So you may need to give it 5-10 minutes more; have a look after 20 minutes and decide. It will become firmer when it cools too, so if its a little wobbly, don’t worry, that’s perfect!
As I was taking this to a friend’s house, I decorated it using a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut a piece of mango. You could do the same, of just pop a couple of strawberries on there. You could even serve it in slices with some cream on the side, or just as it is!
Some excellent shortcrust pastry recipes: