This dish was suggested by an old family friend, Rachel, who has as big a love for food as me. Rachel asked me to make dark chocolate ganache tart with black cherries. I made this challenge with morello cherries – I’m not sure whether they are technically “black cherries” but the overall product is close enough to Rachel’s request. I was quite happy that someone suggested something like this. I’ve not spent much time making pastry but I did buy a tart tin last year which, thus far, has only been used to make the sponge base for a giant Jaffa cake. Finally, I had a good excuse to have a go with pastry and to use my tin, which by the way my boyfriend thought was a wasted purchase! The tin has now been used twice in about 10 months so it is definitely a worthwhile purchase…right? 😉
Anyway, on with the recipe. I spent quite a lot of time searching for a recipe for this challenge and still didn’t manage to find one which ticked all the boxes. So I kind of improvised and use this recipe for the main tart but was a little creative with the cherry part.
To main recipe requires the following ingredients:-
- For the pastry
- 250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch salt
- 125g/4½oz cold butter
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 125g/4½oz caster sugar
- For the filling
- 400ml/14fl oz double cream
- few drops vanilla extract
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 400g/14oz dark chocolate, approx 70 per cent cocoa solids
- 50g/2oz butter
- For the sauce
- 250ml/9fl oz single cream
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 100g/3½oz white chocolate, chopped
- raspberries and fresh mint sprigs, to serve
And then you’ll also need the following:-
- 350g frozen cherries
- 3tbsp sugar
- 1.5 tbsp cherry juice
I started by preparing my cherries because I wanted these to have plenty of time to cool down. I took out 12 of the best looking cherries and put these to one side. I popped the rest of the cherries, the sugar and juice into my saucepan and bought it to the boil. I let it simmer away for about 10 minutes and then removed it from the heat. I left the cherry mix in the saucepan to cool completely.
I then got started on the pastry case. I put the flour, salt and the chilled butter into my food processor and pulsed it until I had a breadcrumb looking result. If you don’t have a food processor you can rub the butter and flour together by hand.
Practical tip: if doing this first stage by hand, make sure your hands are cold. Warm hands will begin to melt the butter and the mix will become too wet. If, like me, your hands are prone to being warm, run them under a cold tap for a while and dry them thoroughly before you get started. Repeat this cooling process periodically to make sure your hands don’t warm up too much.
With my breadcrumb mix ready, I added the caster sugar and egg yolks to my processor. I then tried to pulse this until a dough formed but there was too much mix for my processor. I decided to tip it out into a bowl and bought it together by hand, being careful not to overwork the dough. I covered it with cling film and popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
When the pastry dough was nearly ready, I prepared my tart tin. The recipe doesn’t tell you what you need to do here and I wasn’t too certain if I actually needed to do anything. A quick google confirmed I should grease the tin. I just used a bit of butter and my fingers to make sure the base and sides were greased properly.
Once the 30 minutes were up, I floured my worktop ready to roll out the pastry. I used quite a lot of flour because the last time I made pastry, it got stuck! I also floured my rolling pin and got started.
Practical tip: when rolling out pastry (or fondant, or pretty much anything you want to roll), always roll from the middle up and middle down. If you roll from top to bottom you’ll end up with a really fat bottom, whereas rolling from the middle helps to keep an even thickness all the way through.
Once my pastry was the right size, I rolled one side onto my rolling pin, picked up the pastry and laid it into my greased tin. Turns out, I was a bit overzealous about how big I needed to roll out and I had quite a lot of offcuts! Something to practice for next time 🙂 Anyway, I trimmed away the excess, put the baking paper and rice in place and popped it into the oven for 15 minutes.
When the timer went off, I removed the rice and baking paper and returned it to the oven for 5 minutes. My edges had browned more than the middle and I think this is because I cut the baking paper too small. By the time I had added the chocolate filling this didn’t matter but next time, I will try avoid this by leaving the baking paper a bit bigger so the edges aren’t as exposed.
After the final bit of cooking time was over, I took the pastry out of the oven and left it in the tin for 5 minutes to cool. I removed the pastry from the tin and put it onto a rack to cool completely.
I then got started on the chocolate mix. I added the double cream, sugar and vanilla extract to a pan and bought this to the boil. Whilst it was heating, I put the dark chocolate and butter into a large bowl. When the cream was nice and hot (be carefully not to burn it!), I poured it over the chocolate and butter. It only took a few seconds to start melting and after a little use of my hand-held whisk I had a lovely smooth rich looking ganache.
At this point, we come back to the improvisation and the, by now, forgotten cherries. I drained the cherries from the liquid and placed them into the base of my tart. I then poured my chocolate ganache over the top and levelled it off with a spatula. I also did a little fancy pattern work with a fork, just because I could 🙂 Finally, I placed my 12 reserved cherries around the outside (this is a neat little way to control portion sizes, 1 cherry per slice).
I let the ganache cool for around 15 minutes and then put the tart into the fridge for 2 hours.
With the chocolate set, I got started on the final element – the white chocolate cream sauce. I put half the single cream into a pan with the vanilla pod to warm through. Once warm (but not hot) I removed it from the heat, took out the vanilla pod and added the white chocolate. When the chocolate had melted completed, I added the remaining cream.
I drizzled a bit of the white chocolate cream over my tart and served up.
Two words to describe this dish – chocolatey goodness!! It was very rich which meant you didn’t need a big portion but it was oh so good (meaning I wanted a big portion!).
Personally I thought the white chocolate cream, whilst yummy, was a little unnecessary. Perhaps this is because I wasn’t serving the tart as a dessert but more of a sweet snack. It also ended up running into the chocolate and not looking as pretty I had hoped. Next time, I think I will just melt some white chocolate to drizzle over the top and, if served as a dessert, I’ll have it with some normal cream.
Just one final thought on this challenge. More cherries! I love cherries and I think this could have done with a few more so when I make it again, I’ll probably double the amount.
Coming up next week, Challenge No. 12 – fish and chips.