Warm spiced molten chocolate tartlet

Happy Valentine’s Day you all!

On this occasion, I thought what better than a warm little tart oozing with spiced chocolate? This is exactly what love is like, for me: comforting, passionate, spicy, delicious and warming to the soul. Oh, this was also inspired by the love of my life, who recently mentioned having an amazing warm chocolate tart. Love is truly inspiring!

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The flavours were inspired by the Mayans, who certainly knew a thing or two about chocolate. They served their chocolate as a frothy, bitter drink flavoured with spices like chillies. They believed that chocolate had, amongst other, aphrodisiac properties. Wink, wink.

I have interpreted this in the form of a tart made of a cinnamon-chocolate shortcrust pastry with a molten chilli infused chocolate filling. It is not too sweet, since I am serving it with a sweet chilli syrup and drops of cool cream to cool the heat. Oh, and I decorated this with corny little hearts cut out of a dried red chilli, because why not!

If you want to make just the tart without the chilli syrup, add an extra tablespoon of sugar to the filling, since the original recipe has just a pleasant hint of sweetness. You can reduce or increase the amount of chilli powder in the dish. You could even use cayenne instead of chilli powder.

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Let’s get on with the recipe!

Recipe:

Chilli syrup:

Ingredients:

Sugar – 50gms

Water – 50ml

Honey – 1 teaspoon

Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon

Raspberry food colour – 1 drop (optional)

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Method:

1.Combine everything. Place over medium-high heat till it become a syrup of one thread consistency. This will take about 7-8 minutes.

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Cinnamon-chocolate shortcrust pastry:

Makes: 8 tartlets

I know carbonated water sounds like a weird addition, but for me it works. It results in the flakiest pastry ever! For best results, make sure that all ingredients are cold. You can make this dough a day ahead, like I did. Even the tart cases can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container. It would be easier this way, as the only thing you have to do before serving is to make the filling and bake for three minutes.

All-purpose Flour – 50gms

Cocoa powder – 1 tablespoon

Cinnamon powder – 1 teaspoon

Caster sugar – 1 tablespoon

Butter, cold and cubed – 30gms

Egg yolk – 1

Carbonated water, cold  – 5ml

Method:

1.Sieve flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder and sugar onto a flat surface.P1080545

2.Add the cubed butter. Using a dough cutter or knife, cut the butter into the flour. This means that you should cut the butter into smaller pieces into the flour.

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3.Using ONLY your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour. Make sure you do not rub it too much. The key is to do it lightly so that the butter combines with flour, but does not melt in your hands. Do not overwork this. Stop as soon as it resembles wet sand.

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aah wet sand… the beach has to be my favorite place!

4.Combine the yolk and carbonated water in a bowl. Add this to the flour. This may seem like very little liquid, but trust me it is enough. Just press everything together repeatedly till it has combined and is homogenous.

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5.Wrap in cling film, and let it rest in the fridge till ready to roll out.

To make the tartlet shells:

1.Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.

2.Sprinkle the rolling surface with flour, and roll out the dough to a thickness 3 millimetres. Cut into circles about 2cm greater than the diameter of your tart case. Press the dough circle into the tart case. Make sure it is pressed well into each corner. Trim off the excess by pressing it over the edge of the tart case with your fingers.

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3.Prick the base with a fork. This is called docking. This ensures that the pastry doesn’t puff up too much.

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4.Pop the prepared tart cases into the freezer for 10 mins before baking. This makes sure that it does not lose shape upon baking.

5.Bake for 10 minutes. Make the chocolate filling during this time. Take out of the tart cases and let cool.

Chilli-chocolate filling:

Makes: 8 tarts, Duration: 15 mins

Ingredients:

Bittersweet chocolate – 60gms

Butter – 20 gms

Egg – 1

Sugar – ½ tablespoon

Flour – 1 tablespoon

Chilli powder – ¾ teaspoon

Salt – a small pinch

Method:

1.Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.

2.Chop chocolate finely. Add butter. Melt both together, either in the microwave (do it in bursts of 30 seconds, mixing after every 30 seconds) or on a double boiler (in a bowl placed over boiling water). Make sure it is smooth.

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3.Whisk together the egg, sugar, chilli powder and salt till well combined.

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there are two eggs here because i made a massive quantity. for tomorrow. always prepare for tomorrow, i say 😉

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4.Beat in the flour till lump free.

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5.Add the chocolate-butter mixture in two parts. Add 1/3 first then whisk, to temper the eggs (i.e get the eggs used to the heat, so that they don’t curdle). Add the remaining 2/3 of chocolate and mix well.

6.Pour into the pre-baked tart shells. Fill to the top. Bake for 3-4 minutes. Bake just till the top has set and no longer. It will cook very fast!

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Serve warm with chilli syrup and a few drop of cold cream!

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Tip: Make an adorable garnish by deseeding a dried red chilli and cutting out little hearts with scissors. Since there are no seeds, it has virtually no heat!

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Happy Valentine’s day!

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