Shay Cooper’s stunning chocolate fondant tartlet recipe has a hidden surprise at its core – a delicious hazelnut praline paste that melts as it cooks
For the chocolate sweet pastry:
• 200g of butter, soft
• 130g of icing sugar
• 70g of egg
• 40g of ground almonds
• 20g of cocoa powder
• 330g of T45 flour
• 2g of fine salt
For the cacao nib and hazelnut praline:
• 560g of hazelnuts
• 190g of cacao nibs
• 500g of caster sugar
• 150g of water
• 5g of fine salt
For the chocolate fondant:
• 100g of chocolate
• 100g of butter
• 2 eggs
• 80g of caster sugar
• 20g of T55 flour
• 3g of baking powder
• 10g of cocoa powder
For the nut crumble topping:
• 25g of cacao nibs, toasted
• 25g of nibbed almonds, toasted
• 25g of pistachio nuts, chopped (Shay uses Iranian pistachios)
• 25g of pearl sugar
• 4 tbsp of crème fraîche, Chantilly cream or mascarpone
1 To begin, make the sweet chocolate pastry. Cream together the butter and icing sugar, then add the eggs. Once incorporated, add the ground almonds and cocoa powder.
2 Pass the flour through a sieve and add it to the mixture, along with the salt. Mix to combine, without over-working the dough. Shape into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 6 hours.
3 After this time, remove the cling film and roll out to a 2mm thickness. Cut into 8cm discs and gently press the pastry rounds into the tart cases. Return to the fridge for 1 hour before using.
4 Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5.
5 Cook the pastry cases for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
6 To make the praline, roast the hazelnuts and cacao nibs in the oven until nicely toasted. Heat the sugar and water in a heavy-based pan until you have a golden caramel, then add the hazelnuts, cacao nibs and salt.
7 Transfer the mixture to a silicone baking mat and allow to cool completely.
8 Once cold, break into pieces and add to a high-power blender. Blitz until the mixture has the consistency of peanut butter. Transfer to a piping bag and chill in the fridge until ready to assemble the tarts.
9 To make the chocolate fondant tart filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the surface of the water. Stir until it melts and reaches a temperature of 45°C. Stir in the butter and keep at 40°C.
10 Add the eggs and sugar to a bowl and whisk until foamy. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl.
11 Stir the chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs until smooth, then incorporate the flour and cocoa mixture.
12 To assemble the tarts, half-fill the cases with the fondant mixture, then pipe rounds of the praline into the centre of each tart. Cover the praline with the remaining fondant mixture so that it comes just a little way from the top of the tart cases. Chill in the fridge until ready to bake.
13 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
14 To make the crumble topping, simply mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl
15 Bake the fondant tarts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer to serving plates and sprinkle some of the crumble on top. Add a quenelle of crème fraîche and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Shay Cooper, originally published for GreatBritishChefs.com