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chocolate tart days

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Chocolate tart

I came across this recipe last night as I was meal planning for the week. It was a recipe for a chocolate tart and orange ice cream.

We bought an ice cream machine shortly after Ollie was born. I guess we felt that the kitchen countertop wasn’t cluttered enough with bottles, hot water flask and a steriliser. Hah. This was on top of the red KitchenAid mixer we bought together with it as my birthday present from Donald. The day both toys arrived at my doorstep, I set both toys to work with a malt chocolate ice cream with Oreo cookies.

We had different kinds of ice cream for the next couple of months, thanks to a friend who got me the recipe book, A Perfect Scoop. I started envisioning loads of homemade ice cream for my kids, any flavour, no preservatives, creamy ones, sorbets. Oh the endless opportunities. Except that the hype died down ALOT when Ollie was a lot more mobile. The ice cream machine sat in the kitchen shelf for a good year or so before I took it out today. The recipe seemed simple enough so I figured it was time to use the ice cream machine again.

I enjoy watching Ollie eat my baked goods. Watching him spoon maple granola into his mouth; shove penne pasta into his mouth, smearing tomato sauce all over; nibbling cookies together on the sofa; digging into a blueberry muffin and picking out the blueberries to eat.

The in-laws (ILs) took Ollie out for the morning and would only come back after lunch so I figured I should have just enough time to put the ice cream to churn before Ollie came back. By the time I was done with the tart (i.e., out of the oven and cooling on the rack), almost 4 hours had gone by. I really enjoy cooking and baking. I would love to try more elaborate recipes if I had more time on my hand. For now, I have to be happy with simple things that doesn’t require “melting chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering hot water” or “sift the flours before folding/mixing them together”. I take heaps of short cuts and the recipe should not take me more than 20 minutes in real time. You know how recipes state “30 mins preparation + 20 mins cooking”. Sure, that’s if you are a pro at baking. That is professional time. Justine-time is whatever the stated time taken multiplied by at least 3 times. Yup.

I haven’t had the chance to eat the tart with the orange ice cream yet. I’ll be taking these babies to my grandma’s house tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes! Can’t wait!

Note:
1. If you don’t fancy paying for deep tart tins that you won’t use that often, you can get silicon mini cake trays from Daiso for S$2! I got 6 of them to bake a rainbow cake previously and they worked like a charm for these tarts. Very easy to pop the tart shells out.
Warm choc-orange tarts with orange ice cream
BBC GoodFood, Asian Edition, April 2012

Makes 8; Prep 1 hr 15 mins plus cooling, chilling and freezing; Cook 1 hr

250g dark chocolate
2 eggs, plus 1 white (from pastry)
140g caster sugar
85g melted butter
85g plain flour
little cocoa, to serve

For the pastry
350g plain flour
200g butter, cubed
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tbsp water

For the ice cream
500ml whole milk
300ml double cream
5 yolks
140g caster sugar
zest of 2 oranges, plus juice of 1

1. To make the ice cream, heat the milk and cream in a pan to just below boiling. Stir together yolks and sugar, then whisk in the hot milk mixture. Return to pan, heating gently and stirring until thickened. Stir in the zest and juice, and cool. Churn, then freeze. Can be made up to a month ahead.

2. To make the pastry, whizz flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse in sugar. Pulse in zest with enough yolk mixture to bring pastry together. Roll out to line 8 individual deep tart tins. Chill for 30 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 190C. Fill tarts with baking parchment and baking beans, and bake blind for 15 mins. Remove beans and paper and bake for 10 mins more. Remove from oven and cool. Remove from tins and sit on a baking sheet. Adjust oven to 160C.

4. For the filling, melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat the 2 whole eggs, extra white and sugar until thick and pale – about 5 mins. Fold in the chocolate, melted butter and flour. Divide between the tarts. Let the mixture settle for a few mins, then bake for 25 mins. Cool for 10 mins. Dust the tarts with cocoa, top each with a scoop of ice cream.

cooking with tea

Recently, I’ve had the luxury of experimenting with chocolate. My last attempt at chocolate was a good 10 years ago when I was an absolute failure at cooking. haha. Till today, my dear friends still tease me about it. Salty rocky road. *shakes head* all because I thought there wasn’t much of a difference between salted and unsalted butter.

Anyways, a couple of weeks ago, I tried a recipe from a book which I borrowed from the library, tea cookbook, by Tonia George. It is a simple book, but the recipes were interesting. Every single recipe had a type of tea as an ingredient. Being a chocoholic, I had to start with the earl grey truffles. I mean, earl grey and chocolate? You don’t have to ask me twice.

All I needed was 4 ingredients. Cream. Chocolate. Earl Grey tea leaves. Salted Butter.

I halved the ingredients for my first batch. There was just enough of that bergamot aftertaste. Taste wise, match made in heaven. Texture, feedback was that it was similar to Nutella. Meh, which also meant it wasn’t smooth enough. Other grief I had was it softened very easily. The recipe had stated that I needed to put it in a pan, and cut it into squares. Well, I didn’t have a small enough pan, so I ended up using my silicon muffin trays, which sorta worked and didn’t work. It popped out easily, but softened just as easily too.

Otherwise, first attempt, successful. =D

On Friday, I decided to dig the pantry and see what other tea I had to infuse the cream for the chocolate. There was only matcha. So I made a full batch of matcha truffles and another full batch of early grey tea truffles. I ended up with 144 pieces of chocolate in these tiny candy cases. It was simpler to transport around, and well, manage. But it also meant it made things more interesting when it soften, and we couldn’t get the candy cases off to eat the chocolate.

I brought some to a cousin’s house-warming party yesterday, and the kids were squeezing it out of the cases. haha. well, it worked, somewhat. The texture this time round was a lot smoother (probably because I didn’t stir as much). Despite using 1.5 tbsp of matcha, there was just a hint of matcha, compared to the earl grey tea. Could have been because both the chocolate and tea were strong. Might try matcha with milk chocolate another time.

tea truffles

300ml thickened/double cream
250g dark chocolate
5 tbsp earl grey tea leaves / 1.5 tbsp matcha powder
30g salted butter
cocoa powder to dust
a 20-cm square cake tin, lined with baking parchment.

Put the cream and tea leaves in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and leave to steep for 15 minutes. (For the matcha powder, I used the chasen to whisk the powder evenly into the cream without having to steep). Strain into a small bowl, making sure you press all the flovour from the leaves and top up to 250ml cream if the tea leaves have absorbed lots of the liquid.

Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until thoroughly melted, then remove from heat. Pour the infused cream into the chocolate mixture and stir until velvety smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin – it should be 2-3cm deep. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Tip out onto a chopping board and cut into 3-cm squares. Sift over the cocoa powder. Store in the fridge and eat within 3 days.

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