serves 10-12

rectangular drop bottom tart form – 13 cm x 36 cm
ceramic blind baking balls
Freezer-go-Between or similar

Chocolate Pastry
makes two tart shells [1]

45g dark brown sugar
45g pure icing sugar or powdered caster sugar
45g Valrhona cocoa powder [or Callebaut]
210g flour

25g honey
125g COLD unsalted butter cut into cubes + approximately 25g very soft unsalted butter to grease the form
1 COLD egg yolk …minimum 60g egg

Weigh the two sugars, cocoa powder and flour into a food processor and process until evenly distributed. Weigh in the honey and then with the motor running add the butter a few cubes at a time. When it is almost together, add the egg yolk and work just until it comes together in a ball. Without using additional flour, knead into a ball then flatten it out into a rectangle. Divide into two, wrap in plastic and put in a cool place for at least an hour.

Carefully butter the form. Divide one half into two and roll each piece out thinly between two sheets of Freezer-go-Between and line the form. Rest the pastry for at least 30 minutes [in the hot weather put it in the fridge].

pre heat oven to 200°C
Put the ceramic blind baking balls into a bowl and put them in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Line the pastry with foil, shiny side down and press it gently against the pastry and fold it over the edges.

When the timer goes take the blind baking balls from the oven. Leave the door open and turn the heat down to 160°C. Tip the hot ceramic balls into the foil lined tart form, put it in the oven and set a timer for 9 minutes. When the timer goes, turn the tart and set the timer for another 9 minutes. When that timer goes take it out of the oven and very carefully remove the foil.

Return the tart to the oven for another five minutes. Allow to cool completely standing on a rack.

[1] If you have two forms, while you’re at it line the second and freeze it.


small essential trick

blind baking

Pre heating the ceramic balls means that the base of your flan/tart shell will cook evenly. Without them the edges will be over cooked before the base is crisped.


200g caster sugar
200g local almonds

Put a sheet of baking paper on your marble slab.

Weigh the sugar into a sauté pan and then weigh in the almonds. Place it on low heat and stir and stir until the sugar is melted and the almonds coated with toffee. This takes a while but don’t be tempted to make the praline rapidly; one because it burns very easily on high heat and two, because you are also roasting the almonds.

When the sugar is melted, and you have a good caramel colour and the caramel threads, scrape it out onto the baking paper and allow it to cool completely.

When it is completely cold bash it up with a mallet and line the bottom of the tart shell with the praline and put the rest in an airtight container with a couple of silica sachets or vac it.


400g pure pouring cream
500g Callebaut k811 calettes

Weigh the cream into a microwave safe bowl and bring it to the boil in the microwave [about 4 minutes on high]. Tip the chocolate in, swish it around so that the chocolate is completely submerged. Set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes whisk until the chocolate is completely incorporated and it is very glossy. Scrape it into the tart shell and smooth it out so that it is level with the top of the pastry edges.

You will have a little left ganash over. Refrigerate in an airtight container. We use it rolled into balls and thickly coated with cocoa for a petit fours. Left over pastry can also be cooked as tiny petit four biscuits and sandwiched with the ganash.

Keep the tart in a cool place until ready to serve.

to serve
Dust the top generously with the crushed praline and serve with sour cream. Do not cut slices of more than 1.5-2 cm it is very rich.


what to drink with

try something old fashioned