I crave chocolate all year long, so even though it’s springtime and I start dreaming about light fruit desserts, I still make sure I have some dark chocolate in case I feel an urgent need bake something with it. I also adore tart desserts, so when I saw Stevie Parle’s damson and chocolate tart on the Telegraph website, I thought it was a perfect combination of both. Moreover, this tart reminded me of one of Prunes in Chocolate, my favourite quick chocolate snack.
I decided to make this tart several days ago when I realised that even though I offer jars regularly to my friends and family, I have almost no free space for this year’s preserves. My favourite jam is thick damson plum jam (damsons are oval violet plums with a tangy skin and yellow flesh) called “butter” and slowly cooked without sugar addition. (I have posted the Damson Plum Butter recipe here). Thanks to its tanginess and deep, slightly smoky flavour, damson plum jam is excellent with both savoury and sweet dishes and, as I have recently realised, also with dark chocolate.
Instead of following S. Parle’s complicated recipe, I have made my foolproof shortcrust pastry and filled the tart with a modified version of Joël Robuchon’s chocolate tart filling (found in Le Meilleur et le plus simple de Robuchon). For me this easy, rich, tangy and intensely chocolatey tart was an amazing discovery, but I would advise it only for those who are big fans of bitter chocolate and who prefer moderately sweet desserts.
TIPS: This tart is an excellent way to use up an opened jam jar (or last year’s preserves). Any thick jam will be good in this recipe, but in my opinion sour cherry, strawberry, raspberry or apricot jam would be the best.
I strongly advise home-made shortcrust. Its thin, buttery, crunchy layer cannot be substituted with any ready-to-use crust. However if you use a bought one (about 230-240 g), make sure it’s rolled out very thinly and that it’s made only with butter.
beans for blind baking (I have been using the same real dried cheap beans for several years now)
Preparation: 2 hours
Ingredients (makes a 28 cm diameter tart):
Shortcrust (or 230-240 g of ready-to-use thin, 100% butter shortcrust pastry sheet):
90 g softened butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons caster sugar
300 ml tart thick jam
200 g dark good quality chocolate (more than 72% cocoa)
250 ml liquid cream
1 big egg
Prepare the shortcrust.
Mix the butter, the salt and the caster sugar in a food processor. When these ingredients are mixed thoroughly, add the flour and mix again.
Stop when you see a big ball is being formed.
(You may also knead the pastry without the food processor, but then you have to do this very quickly, maximum 5 minutes, pushing with the heel of your hand and minimising the use of your fingers, otherwise the tart will be too crumbly.)
Wrap the dough in a cling film and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it there up to 48 hours).
Take it out of the fridge and let it soften a bit before using it.
Roll it thinly with a rolling pin (I would advise 3 mm) and line a greased tart dish or spread it with your fingers without rolling if you find the rolling process difficult.
Put back into the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Take out the tart dish from the fridge.
Cover the flat surface with a baking sheet and put some dried beans on it. This way the pastry will not rise.
Precook the tart shell until it’s no longer raw, but still white (it will take 10-15 minutes).
In the meantime prepare the chocolate filling.
Break the chocolate into small pieces.
Bring the cream to boil and pour over the chocolate, stirring quickly until the chocolate melts and forms a homogenous ganache.
When it cools down and is no longer hot, add the egg.
Take the blind-baked shortcrust out of the oven, put the beans back into their jar and let the tart shell cool a bit.
Cover the tart shell with a generous layer of thick jam and then pour the chocolate filling on top.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the chocolate filling is set.