Chocolate Chestnut Tart

IMG_0508.JPGWant something delicious, simple and foolproof for the festive table? Make a chestnut chocolate tart. In the past, just the word “tart” used to be the reason to avoid a recipe and stick to the good old cheesecake. But since I started applying cookie crusts to my tarts, a whole new world of deserts unfolded before me. No blind baking, no resting time, no dough rolling, no chilling time. Just you and your blender.

This is a great dessert for entertaining since you can prepare it entirely in advance and keep it safely in the fridge for 3 days. It’s chocolatey and nutty at the same time, rich but not overly sweet and you can make it as boozy as you like. Serve it with vanilla whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and you got yourself a winner.

 Ingredients for the crust:

  • 200 grams digestive biscuits
  • 85 grams hazelnuts, roasted*
  • 30 grams soft brown sugar
  • 10 grams (1 Tbs) cocoa powder
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 200 grams cooked and peeled chestnuts
  • 250 grams whole milk
  • 75 grams soft brown sugar
  • 280 grams dark chocolate
  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 200 ml cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 30 grams cognac
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*To roast hazelnuts, place them on a baking tray, in a 175 C oven for 6-7 minutes until fragrant and skins start to peel off. Let them cool slightly and rub them in a kitchen towel to get rid of the skin. Some skin will remain and that’s ok. In fact, if you want to skip the roasting procedure, you can. But roasting brings out the flavour of any nut.

Method:

Preheat oven to 175 C fan. Line the base on a 26 cm (10 inch) spring-form pan with greaseproof paper.

Make the base: In a bowl of a food processor add all ingredients for the base except the melted butter. Pulse until hazelnuts are chopped (you want to feel the nuts in the base so don’t chop them too finely). Transfer mixture into a bowl and mix with the melted butter until all ingredients are moistened. Tip mixture into prepared pan. Press with your hands to cover the base and about 2 cm up the sides of the pan. Bake base for 10 minutes.

Make filling: Put chestnuts, milk and sugar in a medium pan over medium-high heat. As soon as mixture boils, reduce heat to medium and let mixture simmer, 10-15 minutes or so, until milk is reduced and consistency is creamy. Remove from heat and while it’s still warm, transfer in a blender or food processor. Add the chocolate and butter. Blend until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.

Add cream, eggs, cognac and vanilla to the processor bowl. Blend again until mixed and smooth.

Pour filling gently over base. Transfer tart in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes. Tart may still be slightly wobbly in the centre and that’s ok. It will firm up as it cools.

Cool tart completely in pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a warm knife or small spatula around the sides of the pan to release it. Remove sides. Slide a spatula under the tart and transfer on a serving platter. Keep tart refrigerated. Bring tart to room temperature before serving.

Serve plain, with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

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