Thursday, March 27, 2014

Decadent Chocolate Tart with Crystallised Violets

Crystallising violets is something I used to do with my granny when I was a little girl, seeing this cake brought back a flood of memories. It inspired me to race right outside to my garden to look for violets (which I always have growing). This recipe is reprinted with permission from our friends at Chelsea.

Chocolate pastry:
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1/3 cup (40g) almond meal
1/3 cup (60g) Chelsea icing sugar
¼ cup (30g) cocoa powder
150g butter, chilled & chopped
2 egg yolks

300g dark chocolate, chopped
¾ cup thickened cream
4 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup (180g) Chelsea caster sugar
1 Tbsp Chelsea golden syrup

Crystallised Violets:
24 Violet flowers, stems attached, untreated with chemicals
½ cup (110g) Chelsea caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
¼ cup water
Chocolate pastry:
Place the flour, almond meal, icing sugar cocoa and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until it resembles dry breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and process a further 30 secs. Turn onto a work surface, and knead lightly. Shape into a 20cm round disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 mins to rest.
Preheat oven to 200°C conventional (180º C fan forced).
Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry out on baking paper to form a 30cm disc. Gently lay pastry into a 24cm fluted tart pan with removable base; trim the edges. Place in the freezer for 15 mins to rest. Line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake in oven for 10 mins. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 8-10 mins or until pastry is cooked through. Remove from oven. Reduce temperature to 150°C conventional (130º C fan forced).

Place chocolate and cream in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with metal spoon until melted. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl whisk eggs caster sugar and golden syrup until thick and pale. Using a spatula, fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the filling into pastry shell. Bake for 40 mins. Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Decorate with seasonal berries or Crystallised Violets.

Crystallised Violets:
Using a gentle water spray, wash violets. Leave the stems on the violets to allow for easy handling. Allow to dry on kitchen paper towel or wire rack.
Heat the caster sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.
Using a fine brush coat each violet with with cooled sugar syrup.
Dust wet violets with a sprinkling of extra caster sugar ensuring each flower is well coated in sugar.
Lay the sugar-coated flowers on baking paper. It helps if the paper is sitting over a wire cake rack. Allow the flowers to dry for at least 24 hours.

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