This Saturday morning, the sun shining bright despite patches of cloud hanging heavy in the sky, I rolled myself out of bed and headed down to the farmer’s market. Although I love a lazy Saturday morning as much as the next person, there’s something so invigorating about the bustle of an early morning market and so satisfying about bringing home the freshest food to be eaten on the day it was bought that I just couldn’t resist.
Dark Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
For the pastry (this will make slightly more than you need, but you can freeze any leftovers, or make into tartlets)
250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, cold but pliable & diced
2 large free range egg yolks
10ml ice cold water
1 medium free range egg, beaten
For the filling
400g dark chocolate
250ml whipping cream
150ml full fat milk
2 large free range eggs, beaten
100g cocoa nibs
For the pastry
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter through the flour mixture til it vanishes, working quickly and with light fingers. Stir in the egg yolks and water, then mix everything together to form a soft, smooth paste. Pat into a flat block, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes minimum, ideally overnight.
Brush a 23cm round deep flan tin with a little melted butter. Take the pastry out the fridge and let it soften ever so slightly. Flour the work surface and your rolling pin, then press the dough out slightly with the rolling pin, flipping it a few times and smoothing flour on each side. Then roll the dough out quickly, turning regularly and checking that it hasn’t stuck to the work surface. If it does dust with a little more flour. Aim to roll the pastry around 2-3mm thick.
Roll the pastry round your rolling pin then ease it over the prepared tin. Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and pop in the freezer for 30 minutes. Wrap any leftover pastry in cling film and freeze.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and baking beans, rice or coins. Bake for 20-25 minutes then remove the baking paper and weight and lower the oven to 170 degrees C. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and cook for another 5 minutes, brush with more egg and bake for a final five minutes until lightly golden. The egg wash will help prevent any leaks. Set aside to cool but leave the oven on.
For the filling (adapted from Angela Hartnett’s A Taste of Home)
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie over a medium heat.
In a separate pan, heat the cream and milk until boiling then pour over the chocolate and mix until completely smooth. Set aside to cool slightly – it should be warm to the touch, not hot.
Once your chocolate mixture is cooled slightly, add the eggs and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture into your prepared pastry case, sprinkle with cocoa nibs then bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then serve at room temperature with the ice cream, below.
For the salted caramel ice cream (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)
500 ml whole milk
250g golden caster sugar
60g good quality salted butter, diced
½ teaspoon fleur de sel
250ml double cream
5 large free range egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
Measure 250ml milk into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
Spread the sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over a moderate heat until caramelized. Once caramelized, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and salt until melted, then whisk in the cream. If it seizes and hardens, simply continue to warm over a gentle heat until smooth again. Stir in 250ml milk.
Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl then gradually whisk in the warm caramel mixture. Return to your saucepan and cook the custard until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat, pour into the remaining milk through the mesh strainer then whisk until cool. Chill overnight, then churn the ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Serve in scoops alongside the dark chocolate tart.