How is it that birthdays just swoosh by when prepping for it feels like years. Getting the right presents, decorating the house, making the cake, etc. etc. It has been a tradition now for dad to spruce up the house every time there is a birthday with his creativity and this year it was all about the “Beiber fever” which Ate has been going gaga of late, while mum exaggerates the excitement in the kitchen with flour, butter and sugar. Cupcakes for school (yes even at high school, it becomes a proper birthday when you bring treats to your friends) and the traditional chocolate cake which is a breakfast treat.
Ate has been anticipating her 14th birthday for a gazillion years I think. Since that day when she chose the option to get a Macbook over a party. I believe it makes more sense to have a tangible helpful learning tool over a party-at -home that will entail preparation, cooking, decorating, cleaning and the unforeseen stress of having so many hyperactive teens around. So the day came as fast as you can say birthday and the excitement fizzled in a day or two. We had a good yum cha family dinner at the Emperor’s Table at the North Ryde. Ate is still having much excitement with her new toy, plus she got to hang out with her friends after the day so everything good.
Something new on Ate’s birthday besides “the Mac” is this double chocolate tart – which mum adapted from the Gourmet Traveller website. It is originally a Triple chocolate praline tart, but mum chose the alternate praline-less route.
To make this tart, you’ll need a 21cm fluted tart pan and:
160 ml pouring cream (mum used the regular cream from the supermarket)
40 ml milk (full cream as this is what we have on ready)
200gm dark chocolate, 61% cocoa solids, fine chopped
200gm plain flour
60gm pure icing sugar, sifted
30gm Dutch-process cocoa (mum used the Nestle cooking cocoa we had in stock)
100gm cold butter, coarsely chopped
2 egg yolks
Milk Chocolate Praline, filling
150gm hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
175gm raw caster sugar
300ml pouring cream
400gm milk chocolate, finely chopped
1. For the chocolate pastry, process flour, icing sugar and cocoa in a food processor until combined. Add butter, until mixture resembles fine crumbs, then add egg yolks, process to combine. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and bring pastry together with the heel of your hand. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out pastry on a light floured surface to 3mm thick and line a 28cm diameter loose-bottomed tart tin, trimming edges. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then blind bake for 8-10 minutes, remove paper and weights and bake until dry and crisp (8-10 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, for praline filling, spread hazelnuts on an oiled baking tray, set aside. Combine sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan, stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, cook until dark caramel in colour (4-5 minutes), pour over nuts. Stand until cool and set (8-10 minutes). Process in a food processor until finely ground, set aside.
(The recipe in the site had some other instructions after this step regarding the cream, which mum assumed must be a typographical error, because Step 4 is about the cream, again so mum omitted that line here)
4. Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat. Add dark chocolate, remove from heat, stir until smooth. Spread over tart, refrigerate until just set (45 minutes to 1 hour). Cut into wedges with a hot knife and serve immediately scattered with reserve praline.
The photo in the Gourmet Traveller page looked really, really dark and decadent. So elegant. Ours looks a bit lighter brown and has bits of craters on the top, and the crust is not as perfect. and did not have the praline filling. Just the same, it is a dark chocolate tart and this is what we love! Mum’s actually wondering why it’s called filling when there was no instruction to include in the tart as a ‘filling’, and was instead used as ‘topping’ or even garnish. Maybe this recipe should be aptly called Triple chocolate tart with praline topping. Next time, we’ll try David’s version of this chocolate tart, which mum’s already too excited even before trying. Too biased and too excited! And why?! David will be in Sydney for the World Chef Showcase in October as part of the Crave Sydney Festival! Much too exciting!