Thursday, 19 June 2014

Chocolate and Raspberry Tart - Michel Roux Desserts Challenge Recipe 4

chocolate raspberry tart

Following hot on the heels of recipe number three from the Michel Roux Desserts book comes recipe number four – a gorgeous looking chocolate and raspberry tart.  With my paté sablée already chilled in the fridge for a good hour I was finally ready to move on to the tart proper.

First of all I had to roll out my pastry to approximately 3mm thick and use it to line my tart tin.  Enter problem number one.  If you’ve read my last post about making the paté sablée you’ll know that I had to add extra flour to get it to a rollable consistency.  Once I started working with it however I wondered if I needed to add yet more – that pastry was just soooooo delicate.  I could roll it but as soon as I tried to move it, it just fell apart.  The chances of getting it into the tin without it not only ripping but darn near crumbling were exactly nil so I needed a new plan.

pate sablee ready to roll

Rather than adding more flour and going through the chilling process again I decided to get a little creative.  I wasn’t at all sure that adding extra flour would be the right thing to do anyway so instead I removed the base from my tart tin, laid it on the worktop and rolled the pastry directly on to it.  Once the pastry was just over the edges I lifted the whole thing and dropped in back into the outer of the tin.  Voila!

pate sablee pressed into tin

Well sort of anyway.  I still had to faff around with the sides of the tin, pushing the pastry up the sides and trying to make it vaguely even.  There will surely be no prizes for this technique but in my defence I did stop short of using a pepper pot as a mini rolling pin to work inside the tin.  I absolutely guarantee the lid would have fallen off and the whole thing would have ended up in the bin if I had.

Once the paté sablée had been pressed into submission I had to bake it blind, finally my baking beans got an outing.  I swear I bought these two years ago after having them on my wish list for about five years before that and they’ve never made it out of the tub before.  Ridiculous.  I need to make more tarts.

pastry case baking blind

The rest of the tart came together easily with the raspberries being pressed on to the base of the pastry case before covering in the chocolate mixture and then chilled for at least two hours.  I opted for 70% dark Lindt chocolate for this – a sort of compromise between the Valrhona that Michel Roux recommends (ouchy expensive) and the Sainsbury’s own dark chocolate I often use when I’m baking less intentionally impressive things if you see what I mean.  (In fairness it’s much nicer tasting than you might expect, but the cocoa content is low.)

completed chocolate raspberry tart

So was all that pastry faffing worth it?  Oh yes, it most definitely was; this tart is absolutely divine.  Not the most complicated thing to make pastry aside but my goodness the results make it seem as if you slaved for days.  This is probably partly down to using good ingredients and it wasn’t cheap to do – I think I spent about £10 altogether using the Lindt and proper butter.  There’s also one ingredient you might not have to hand quite so readily as you need liquid glucose.  I happened to already have some and it’s not that hard to find.

completed chocolate raspberry tart

I was actually hugely proud of the taste and texture of my pastry in the end.  Somehow I managed to end up with a very crisp and even pastry case that tasted really good.  Absolutely no hint of sogginess whatsoever and an impressive sound and crumbliness when I cut through it.  Maybe my odd technique isn’t quite to be sniffed at after all.

completed chocolate raspberry tart

completed chocolate raspberry tart

The tart is quite rich with that dark chocolate and the sharpness of the raspberries is a wonderful, juicy refresher cutting through the richness.  If you wanted to balance it even further you could serve with cream or ice cream but either way I found a small slice perfectly satisfying.  I would definitely make this tart again for an occasion.  It’s impressive to look at, impressive to taste and you can easily make it in advance of a dinner party.  Another hit for me from this very impressive book.

flapjacks coating oats flapjacks pressed in tin

Friday, 13 June 2014

Pate Sablee - Michel Roux Desserts Challenge Recipe 3

flour mountain pate sablee

I am often inspired to bake more when I have more people to feed and as my parents came to stay for a couple of days I thought it was about time I dusted off my Michel Roux Desserts book and cracked on with my personal challenge of making every recipe in the book.  I’d already earmarked a chocolate and raspberry tart as a ‘must try this soon’ item so obviously it was essential that I went through the whole book, assessing every recipe before finally deciding on the one I’d already stuck a bookmark in.  Yeah I like to waste time that way.

Obviously with this being Michel Roux the instructions do not include laying your hands on a shop bought pastry case.  No no, you must make your own.  This is a first for me but come to think of it I’ve never bought a shop one either, I’ve simply never made a tart like this!  Honestly the more I bake these days the more I wonder if I’ve ever actually made anything other than sponge cakes.

flour icing sugar butter pate sablee

Making paté sablée is one of those glorious recipes that makes a crazy mess of your kitchen.  Not only do you need to make your pastry on a nice clear work surface, said pastry recipe includes icing sugar, that well known coverer of all things within a half mile radius.  And egg yolk, minus the white.  Mmmm gooey separation with fingers, sticky.  I made a right royal mess doing this pastry and once everything was incorporated I was pretty sure my results were not as they should be.

sticky pate sablee

Instead of a pliable ball of dough at a rollable consistency I had a sticky mess which just would not let go of my fingers.  (No pictures of this I’m afraid, I was too busy being covered in goo.)  I’m positive these recipes are rigorously tested before printing so either I did something wrong or pastry making is just one of those dark arts where you need to use a bit of judgement.  It’s not the most complicated of recipes and I followed it closely so my money’s on the dark arts option.

I figured that even after a spell in the fridge this pastry wasn’t going to be suitable for rolling so I added a little more flour and worked it into the dough.  It got a bit better but I still needed to add a bit more again.  I was worried about overdoing it so I only added enough to get the dough to a just combined consistency, also bearing in mind that when it did come time to roll it out I’d be flouring my work surface too.

pastry dough pate sablee

Once the flour shenanigans were out of the way I wrapped my paté sablée in cling film and whacked it in the fridge to chill out.  Even though I wanted to use it for my tart straight away pastry isn’t fond of being too warm and the instructions definitely implied that overworking it would be bad bad bad.  A spell in the fridge was definitely in order to let it recover from my hot little hands.

And that’s it.  Paté sablée done and one chocolate and raspberry tart coming up in my next post.