Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Salted Chocolate Crostata

A crostata is an Italian version of a tart, it consists of a sweet egg rich pastry and is conventionally filled with various fruits or jams. There is a very good reason why I like the crostata so much and this it because aesthetically it will be the most forgiving tart you will every make, this is your beginners tart, for those who are not so confident with pastry. You don't even need a tart tin, a rough round of the pastry can be laid onto a lined flat baking sheet and the edges are pretty much roughly folded around the filling, when baked the miracle of all miracles happen, it comes out looking so much better, really rustic and homemade, like martha stewart has been in your kitchen. I very much doubt a chocolate crostata is typically italian or even remotely, but I just thought it would be so nice to have a twist on a classic chocolate tart. It's a crowd pleaser, and never fails to impress.

You will need:
For the pastry:
300g flour
150g of cold cubed butter
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon creme fraiche

For the filling:
200g melted 70% cocoa solid dark chocolate
125g of melted chocolate
2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
50g flour
175g caster sugar
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a flat baking tray.
In a bain marie (a bowl over a pan of simmering water) melt the chocolate, butter, vanilla, salt and espresso powder. In another bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and flour together and mix in the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.Place in the fridge to cool and firm slightly.
For the pastry, I mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined, wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
On a well floured surface roll out the pastry to a rough disc about half a cm thick. Place the disc onto the lined baking sheet, spoon the chocolate filling onto the pastry disc and quickly fold the pastry edges so that it holds the filling in, I usually fold over about an inch of pastry to form a crust.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, when it is cooled sprinkle the top with sea salt to bring out the flavours of the chocolate.

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