Posts Tagged ‘sweet pastry’

Recipe – Chocolate And Nutella Tart

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

England’s football team were abject last Sunday, but the Chocolate And Nutella Tart recipe from the French patisserie chef, Pierre Hermé, was the perfect compensation – sweet, rich and complex in taste that left you just wanting more.  In one of my personal quests, to get better at making pastry, I treated myself to Pierre Hermé’s “Chocolate Desserts”.  I appreciate I am so behind the times as this was published in 2001, but us country folk take a little longer to catch up with you fast and quick city folk; anyway, I got there in the end. 

Nutella Tart By Pierre Herme

Nutella Tart By Pierre Herme

We had some friends around for sunday lunch yesterday, and, with England playing Germany and it being forecast to be the hottest day of the year, I decided to make roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and green beans then top it off with a chocolate tart, raspberries and cream.  The roast was spot on, while the Chocolate And Nutella Tart was a revelation – the sweet pastry is a soft, delicate, marzipan affair while the filling is a glorious melding of the sweet, nutty familiarity of Nutella and the rich, dense velvety texture of pure chocolate.  We served the tart with rasperries and cream, which were a perfect combination, as you got the slight tartness of the rasperries to offset the pure sweet richness of the chocolate ganache.

For me, it was the sweet pastry that was the real excitement, even if the chocolate was pure joy.  It’s lucky I made enough for three sweet tarts, so I can next try his other chocolate masterpieces.

For those without Pierre Hermé’s book, here’s the recipe which has been slightly tweaked, for better or worse:

The crust

1 fully baked 22cm / 8¾ inch tart shell made from Sweet Pastry Dough, cooled to room temperature (see separate blog)

The filling

200g / 7 oz Nutella or other chocolate & hazelnut spread
140g / 4¾ oz  dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
200g / 7 oz unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly whisked (at room temperature)
3 large egg yolks, lightly whisked (at room temperature)
2 TBSP caster sugar (or other type such as granulated)
50g / 1½ oz toasted hazelnuts, skinned and chopped 

1.  Preheat the oven to 190oC / 375oF.

2.  Spread the Nutella evenly over the base of the baked tart crust and set aside while you make the ganache.

Nutella Spread Into Baked Crust

Nutella Spread Into Baked Crust

3.  Melt the chocolate and the butter in sperate bowls either over simmering water or in the microwave.  Leave to cool until they feel just still warm – he suggests 40oC / 104oF, but the touch test worked fine for me.

4.  Using a hand whisk, stir the egg gently into the cooled melted chocolate, taking care not to add air as this is not meant to be airy and fluffy.  Next, stir in the egg yolks slowly but surely, then the sugar.  Finally, stir in the melted butter – this takes a little bit of patience at first, as the butter really didn’t feel as though it would be miscible, but it got there, eventually.  Pour the chocolate ganache over the Nutella in the tart shell.  Sprinkle over the roasted hazelnuts.

5.  Bake for 11 minutes, then remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool.  Allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes or until it reaches room temperature. 

6.  Eat on its own or with cream or with raspberries and cream, but whatever, enjoy a moment of pure, divine decadence.

Baked Hazelnut And Chocolate Tart

Baked Hazelnut And Chocolate Tart

Herme's Chocolate & Nutella Tart

Herme's Chocolate & Nutella Tart

Recipe For Sweet Pastry Per Pierre Hermé

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Having been given a great sweet tart pastry recipe by Anthony Stern from Independent Foods, I have recently come across an even better Sweet Tart Dough in Pierre Hermé’s book “Chocolate Desserts”.  I must admit to being given the heads up about the wonders of Hermé’s Sweet Pastry from Chubby Hubby’s blog in February 2010.  Here’s the recipe from the book, amended into British english:


285g / 10 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
150g / 5¼ oz icing sugar, sieved (in US, confectioners’ sugar)
100g / 3 ¼ oz finely ground almonds (it is worth giving ground almonds from the supermarket an extra whizz in the food processor to grind them down a little bit further)
½ tsp sea salt (don’t ruin the pastry with a cheap industrial free flow salt)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract (use Steenbergs if you can – highly biased viewpoint, so sorry)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (at room temperature)
490g / 17¼ oz plain flour (in US all-purpose flour), sieved

1.  Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer or food processor with paddle fixture and beat/pulse until creamy, scraping down the edges as needed.

2.  Add the sieved icing sugar and process until well mixed in.  Next, you need to add the ground almond powder, sea salt and pure intense vanilla extract, and process until smooth.  Scrape the bowl’s sides if you need to.  Now add the eggs and process to blend.

3.  Add the plain flour in three parts and pulse/mix until the dough mixture starts to get together.  Whatever you do, you mustn’t overblend this and you should stop as it starts to form together into a ball.

4.  Remove the sweet pastry dough and divide into thirds, shape each third into a ball and put each into a plastic bag, then flatten it.  If using soon, let it settle in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer.  Freeze the rest and use within a month.  When starting from the frozen pastry medallions, it takes about 45 minutes before the dough is ready for rolling out.

5.  To make the pastry crust, take a 24cm tart ring (9 – 10 inch) and lightly oil or butter it.

Sweet Pastry Disc Ready To Roll

Sweet Pastry Disc Ready To Roll

6.  Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the pastry medallion, working it in each direction to ease the shape out into a very rough & ready circular shape.  Take up the rolled sweet pastry dough and layer it over the tart dish.  Prick all over the surface – I actually only do a triangle in the centre to prevent it bobbling up, but you should do more, or so the experts say.  Patch any tears or thin areas with extra pastry that can simply be worked into the dough in the dish.  Chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

7.  Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF.

8.  Now line the crust.  The proper way to do this as all the greats tell you from Delia Smith through to Pierre Hermé is to fit a circle of baking paper into the crust and fill it with dried beans or rice.  I am lazy and I cheat – I scrunch up some aluminium foil, roll it into a roundish length and shape it around the edge of the pastry crust to keep the edges shaped and upright.

Sweet Pastry Dough Lining Tart Dish

Sweet Pastry Dough Lining Tart Dish

9.  Bake the crust for 18 – 20 minutes until it is lightly coloured.  If you need to fully bake the crust, remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 3 – 5 minutes until golden, but if you’ve cheated with aluminium in a round then the centre should have baked as well already, and you don’t need this extra baking time.

10.  Cool on a cooling rack for use later, and at least within 8 hours of baking.

Baked Pie Crust With Nutella Filling

Baked Pie Crust With Nutella Filling

Recipe – Sweet Tart Dough or Sweet Pastry

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I am not very good at making pastry.  Some people say that you need cold hands to make pastry and dough, but I have warm hands as I seem always to be burning away all that food – perhaps I just never sit still or my metabolism runs too fast. 

So I asked our good friend, Anthony Sterne to come up with his easy pastry recipes and then for us to have a go at them ourselves.  Anthony used to be a development chef at Pret A Manger in London before setting out on his own, originally making pies and pastry with exotic fillings and has now branched out into quiches and (very successfully) into delicious cakes.  His business is called Independent Foods – originally I’s Pies – and his great creations are available in Booths, Morrisons and Waitrose, but in our opinion should be more widely available.  You can check his web site out at

In Anthony’s words “this recipe creates a crisp, biscuity pastry that is perfect as a base for tarts or mince pies.  As long as the oven is well preheated it generally works really well without blind baking.  The most important consideration is to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature (especially the butter and eggs) before starting.”

400g / 14oz plain flour
160g / 5.5oz good butter (softened)
140g / 5oz caster Sugar
2 large eggs (we only ever use free-range)
1 tsp Steenbergs Organic Vanilla Extract 

Use an electric mixer with the beater attachment or a bowl and a wooden spoon to cream the butter and caster sugar together.  The mixture should be light in colour and slightly fluffy in texture.

Beat the eggs and add gradually with the teaspoon of Steenbergs Organic Fairtrade vanilla extract, mixing all the time.  If the mixture starts to split, you can add a tablespoon of flour, however it shouldn’t split as long as everything isn’t too cold.

Once all the egg has been incorporated, you can add the flour and continue to mix until a smooth dough is formed.  The pastry should be soft but not sticky, if it sticks to your finger when poked just add a bit more flour.

You can leave the pastry in a cool place (not the fridge) for half an hour to relax although it is fine to use it straight away.  Roll out on a well floured surface.  It doesn’t keep well in the fridge as it becomes hard and unworkable although any excess is fine to make into shells and freeze for later use.