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Italian Easter tart

"This is a traditional tart eaten in Naples at Easter," says Ingram. "The legend goes that a mermaid called Parthenope in the Gulf of Napoli would sing to celebrate the arrival of spring each year. One year, to say thank you, the Neapolitans offered her gifts of ricotta, flour, eggs, wheat, perfumed orange flowers and spices. She took them to her kingdom under the sea, where the gods made them into a cake. I love to add nibs of chocolate to Parthenope cake because I think it marries nicely with the candied orange and sultanas, but, really, do you need an excuse to add chocolate to anything?" Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the pastry and soak the sultanas.

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Chocolate and caramel tart


You'll need

165 gm dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids) coarsely chopped 60 ml (¼ cup) pouring cream 40 gm unsalted butter, softened To serve: whipped cream (optional)   Shortcrust pastry 240 gm (1¾ cups) plain flour 60 gm caster sugar 180 gm unsalted butter, chilled, coarsely chopped   Caramel 225 gm (1 cup) white sugar 80 ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream 70 gm butter, coarsely chopped   Chocolate mousse 200 gm dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped 4 eggs, separated 185 ml (¾ cup) thickened cream 2 tbsp caster sugar

Method

  • 01
  • For shortcrust pastry, process flour and sugar in a food processor to combine, add butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 2 tbsp chilled water and process until mixture just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Roll out pastry to 5mm thick on a lightly floured surface, line a 26cm-diameter tart tin and refrigerate for 1 hour. Blind bake for 20 minutes (see note), then remove paper and weights and bake until golden (8-10 minutes). Cool in tin on a wire rack.
  • 03
  • For caramel, combine sugar and 250ml water in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals form, until mixture is deep golden (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, add cream and butter and stir to combine (be careful as mixture will spit). Pour into pastry base and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for chocolate mousse, melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, remove from heat, cool to room temperature, add yolks, stir to combine and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk cream until soft peaks form and set aside. Whisk eggwhites in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar and continue whisking until combined. Fold a third of the eggwhite mixture into chocolate mixture, then fold in a third of the cream. Repeat with remaining eggwhite and cream until combined, spoon over cooled caramel, smooth top flush with tart edges and refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours).
  • 05
  • Combine chocolate and cream in a small saucepan, stir over low heat until chocolate melts, remove from heat, add butter and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature, then spread in an even layer over chocolate mousse. Refrigerate until set (30-40 minutes). Serve tart with whipped cream to the side.
Note For blind baking, line a pastry-lined tart tin with baking paper, then fill with weights (ceramic, rice and dried beans work best).

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

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