Eldest toddler son and I made two cakes on Sunday. Two is a very important word in our house. Charlie is learning to count and at present the number two features heavily in dialogue.
“Charlie, would you like a banana?”
“Yes thank you. Want two please.”
“Charlie, would you like to choose a Thomas book?”
“Want two! Want two! Please?”
“Charlie would you like a kiss from Isabelle?”
“Yes please. Want two.”
And so on… he’s nothing but polite in his demands.
Both cakes we made heavily featured marzipan. Charlie likes marzipan. He rolled up little marzipan balls to put into the Use Up All The Christmas Baking Leftovers Cake. He then named each ball. First Mummy, then Brittany, then Brittany’s Mummy. Daddy was number seven. Girls featured heavily on the list. Especially attractive ones. He’s what the playschool leader calls ‘a bit of a ladies man.’
Anyway, here’s a recipe that is absolutely not for sharing with Charlie. It’s rich, chocolately and salty. A bit like Reeses’ various offerings. It took me a while to get this right so I’m not about to share it with a small person who might want two slices.
- 125g plain flour
- 15g cocoa
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g soft butter
- 30g melted and cooled dark chocolate
- 1 egg yolk
- 100g salted peanuts
- 120ml double cream
- 4 tbsp milk
- 150g dark chocolate, melted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 50g caster sugar
Set aside a good afternoon to make this with love. It’s worth it.
Make the pastry first – put the flour, cocoa and salt into a food processor and pulse until combined. In a large bowl beat the sugar, butter and egg yolk with a handheld mixer until pale and creamy. Then add the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture to the creamy mixture and using your hands mix into a dough. It will look a bit like Bourbon biscuits in colour. Put into a freezer bag, tie and pop into the fridge. Not for too long though. 10 mins will do. If this dough gets very cold it’s a bugger to roll. Actually, it’s a bugger to roll full stop but it’s worth it so you’ll have to grin and bare it.
Heat the oven to Gas 5/190C and after a nice cup of tea take the pastry out of the fridge. You need to roll it on a lightly floured work surface until it’s about 5mm thick. Using a 21cm flan tin (the ones with the loose bottoms) as a guide, you need to roll into a rough circle. Now, don’t be afraid of this dough. It does smell fear. If it cracks, just smile and carry on. You can sort out cracks once you’ve laid it in the flan tin.
Once it’s rolled and ready to transfer fold gently into half, then into a quarter, then lay in the flan tin. Unfold and then, like a surgeon, set about repairing the cracks. Pinch and smooth until the pastry has no holes. Push the pastry into the grooves of the flan tin and make sure you LEAVE THE OVERHANG! This is for two reasons – one, once you’ve cut off the overhang you can eat the little bits. They don’t count you see. Second reason is the tart will look prettier if you cut the bits off after baking blind. You don’t get that pesky shrinkage problem this way. Anyway, prick the base, line with foil, throw baking beads or dried peas into the foil and pop in the fridge for 20 mins.
Once it’s rested in the fridge you need to bake in the preheated oven for about 15 mins. Then leave on a wire rack to cool. When it’s cool, set about it with a sharp knife and carefully hack (hmmm… ‘carefully hack’ – is there such a thing??) the overhang off. Do this over the worktop so you can eat the bits. You don’t want to be seen scooping chocolate pastry off the floor into your mouth.
Meanwhile make the peanut butter. Here’s the easiest instruction in the world. Put the peanuts into the food processor. Put the lid on and switch on the pulse mechanism. Leave until you have peanut butter. This should take about 3/4 mins. Depends how chunky you like your peanut butter. At this point it’d be a good idea to turn the oven to Gas 2/150C.
Next make the custard filling. Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a large pan. Then add the dark chocolate and stir until all chocolately and smooth. Leave to cool for about 5 mins. Then beat the egg and sugar together and mix into the chocolately mixture.
Now to assemble. (You are doing well if you get this far. You deserve a stiff drink. And a piece of tart.) Take the tart and spread the peanut butter across the bottom. You will only have enough for a very thin covering. Then pour the custard filling over the top and place in the oven. Bake for 40 mins. The filling might still look a bit soft even after it’s cooked – kind of wobbley. That’s fine as this sets whilst it cools.
To serve, take out of the mould, cut very carefully (as this is a work of art) and adorn with peanut brittle if you can be bothered to make it after all that hard work.
This pastry was adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts and the custard also adapted from his Chocolate Mocha Tart.
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