Sunday, 16 October 2011

Chocolate, Cherry and Chilli Tart

This well-flavoured dessert, which also fits into my spice theme for this month, is my entry to the October 'We Should Cocoa' challenge. This month the challenge was set by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog, and if you're considering joining in with this monthly cooking with chocolate challenge, the rules can also be found on Chocolate Log Blog. Choclette challenged us to find a way of using chilli in our chocolate cooking this month, and I have to say I've been waiting for this particular ingredient to come up! I have several brownie recipes using chilli, and one gorgeous cake recipe (which Dom of Belleau Kitchen has baked for this challenge!), but I really wanted to use this challenge to find a new recipe.

After I had an unsuccessful attempt at some cookies - both the way the recipe worked and the spice levels were wrong - I went back to the drawing board and thought about what I really would like. I remembered how much I liked the Lindt chocolate bar which contains a chili flavoured cherry filling (the single 'l' is their preferred spelling!), and I also remembered that I sometimes make a  bakewell-style chocolate tart for dessert. I didn't want to use almonds this time, but I liked the idea of a chocolate tart with a layer of cherry jam at the bottom. I decided to add the chili flavouring to the chocolate layer and that I wanted the chocolate filling to be on the cakey-side, rather than a rich custard or ganache. I also wanted to keep CT's dietary restrictions in mind, so wanted a dessert he could eat without too much guilt, which meant that ideally I wanted a baked mousse cake which wasn't too rich, to balance the inevitable high fat levels of the pastry. One day I will try olive oil pastry, but I didn't have the will to experiment with that here!

I eventually found a recipe in one of the Green and Black's recipe books for a Berry Torte, the chocolate part of which looked just right - not too sweet and not a lot of butter (relative to other recipes I found!). After that it was simple to think through the finished tart - a sweet shortcrust deep pie case, a layer of Morello cherry jam and a mousse cake layer, with added chilli flavour, on top.

The execution wasn't perfect, as the chocolate pulled away from the pastry as it cooled, but it was a very good dessert. The sweet cherry filling was very intense but was balanced by the chocolate layer which wan't too sweet and which gave a warm chilli after-taste. I think I would add more cayenne pepper next time to give a slightly stronger flavour, and for a special occasion would use a richer mousse cake recipe, but on this occasion, it filled the criteria I had for this recipe.

For the recipe, you'll need a deep, sweet shortcrust pastry case, about 8 or 9 inches in diameter (20-22cm), baked blind. While the pastry is cooking, slightly warm 250g Morello cherry jam and stir in 2 tablespoons Kirsch or other cherry flavoured liqueur. Spread this over the base of the pastry case when you take it out of the oven. Then make the chocolate mousse cake mixture:

Chocolate mousse cake
25g plain flour
5 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
75g plain chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
25g butter
5 teaspoons double cream
4 egg whites
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons caster sugar

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water, then remove from the heat and add the butter and cream and stir until the butter has melted.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and cayenne powder.

Whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage, then add the sugar and beat until thick and glossy.

Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl and add the flour mixture. Fold in as much as possible (I found the mixture too dry to fold it all in), then add the chocolate mixture and mix well.

Add about a quarter of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and mix in thoroughly, then gently fold in the rest of the whites.

Gently pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry case, trying to fill the edges first and working into the middle - this should prevent the jam being pushed to the edges. Spread evenly then bake at 140C for about 25 minutes or until a test probe comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or as you desire

While writing this blog entry, I got very worried about the spelling of chilli. While researching the matter, I came across this article, which in turn links to another interesting point of view on the subject. I think for the time being I'm going to stick to the most accepted British spelling - the double 'll' version!


Foodycat said...

I also use ll for chilli! This looks unbelievably good. I really like the way you talk through the thought process on making it!

Choclette said...

Oh Suelle, you've put a lot of thought into this one, but no surprises there. It looks and sounds wonderful. I hadn't heard of the chilli & cherry combination before, so am finding this particularly interesting. It's not at all obvious from the picture that the pastry is pulling away, it looks perfect as does the chilli. Thank you for participating. I've been so busy recently, I haven't had time to think about what I'll be doing - ahhh!

MissCakeBaker said...

This is such a great post. The tart looks beautiful. I love your inventiveness.

C said...

Wow, what a fabulous entry for We should cocoa!

It's really interesting to read how you think through each component to give a balanced result with all of the elements you want in the correct proportions. I don't think I ever consider that nearly as much as you do. I like the tip about pouring the chocolate mixture on from around the edge rather than starting from the middle - nice one!

Chele said...

That has got to be tart perfection! Perfectly cooked, perfectly set and perfectly presented too. Just got to wait for my oven to be fixed and I can add my creation to this month's challenge too (although it won;t be as grand as yours)!

Suelle said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

C - the 'filling from the edges inwards' tip came from Gary Rhodes, when putting mashed potato onto a Shepherd's Pie - same principle, different materials! LOL!

Chele - hope your oven gets fixed in time!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

I too double and triple checked the spelling of 'chilli'- it didn't look quite right each time I typed it! This looks delicious Suelle- a lovely, lovely entry

Phil in the Kitchen said...

It looks just great. Great idea to put cherries into the equation.

The Caked Crusader said...

Looks yummy - this could be the one to convert me to chocolate and chilli together!

Kath said...

Oh my! Cherries, chocolate and chillies - sounds perfect to me and it looks perfect too. I did wonder whether to combine cherries and chilli, but won't I promise.

Baking Addict said...

That looks delicious! The flavour combinations sound interesting too, I would never have thought to put them together.

Brownieville Girl said...

I think it looks really delicious - the pastry looks perfectly crisp - great idea.