This Monday is the first anniversary of Scaredy Cat Kitchen’s inaugural blog post, my ‘anniblogary’, if you will. It’s been an exciting and slightly terrifying year for me. There have been highs (did someone say Oreo Topped Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake?) and there have been lows. (man, those tastespotting rejections hurt!)
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided to bring together 3 of my all time favourite things, bitter dark chocolate, frangipane and cherries.
Crisp chocolate pastry, filled with rich almond and melted chocolate frangipane with bursts of bitter sweet cherry and crunchy flaked almonds. I am so bloomin’ happy right now.
Blind baking your pastry is absolutely essential here, no corner cutting allowed. What if Paul Hollywood pops round and demands a slice? I bet you’d crumble under the weight of his stone cold stare when he discovered your soggy bottom. (ooo, I love a good double entendre, so marvellously British)
Although pitting cherries is an absolute bugger without a cherry stoner (it’s on my wish list!) it’s so totally worth the effort for this recipe. They add the perfect tang and feel like a genuine treat.
Okay so it’s not the simplest or quickest recipe in the world, but trust me, this tart is worth your time.
Happy Birthday Scaredy Cat Kitchen!
For the chocolate pastry:
220g plain flour, plus extra for dusting (I used half and half plain flour and spelt flour, due to shopping list issues!)
30g cocoa powder
50g icing sugar
125g cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
Splash of milk
For the frangipane:
100g dark chocolate
150g softened unsalted butter
130g caster sugar
165g ground almonds
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups stoned and halved cherries
A handful of flaked almonds
Start by making your pastry, for this I used a food processor but I’ll give you the instructions for making it by hand just in case you don’t have one.
Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and work the dough together with your hands until it forms a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, cover it in floured cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, grease a 25cm loose bottomed tart tin.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to about half a cm thick. Roll the pastry onto your rolling pin and carefully unroll it over your tin. Ease the pastry into the tin and push it gently into the corners. Cut off the excess and prick the base all over with a fork. Now pop the tin into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180 C / 160 C fan oven / 350 F.
Scrunch up a large piece of baking or greaseproof paper, unwrap it and use it to line your frozen pastry case. Fill it with rice or baking beans and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Take the case out, remove the rice and the paper and pop it back in for a further 10 minutes. Leave the case to cool slightly whilst you make the filling.
While the pastry is blind baking you can melt the dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Stir it frequently and make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Leave the chocolate to cool.
Next it’s time to make the frangipane. Cream together the butter and sugar then add the ground almonds, egg yolks, vanilla and chocolate and stir thoroughly.
Pour the frangipane into the pastry case, smooth it out and scatter over the cherries and flaked almonds, pushing the cherries down slightly.
Increase the heat of the oven to 210 C / 200 C fan oven / 400 F and pop the tart in to bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the frangipane has risen up slightly and is set in the middle.
Leave the tart to cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!