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Sea-salted chocolate and pecan tart by Paul A Young

17 OCTOBER 2013
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Definitely one for a special dinner party. With its sophisticated, sweet chocolate pastry crust, unctuous ganache filling, and caramelised salted pecans, this tart will stop all conversation for all the right reasons.

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST

175g butter
75g golden caster sugar
2 egg yolks
250g plain flour
20g cocoa powder

FOR THE FILLING
200g Madagascan 64% dark chocolate, broken into pieces 200ml whipping or double cream (whipping cream gives a slightly lighter texture)
200g light muscovado sugar
10g Maldon sea salt

FOR THE TOPPING
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
100g pecan halves

Method

1) To make the crust, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks and 35ml water and mix well until all the liquid has been incorporated. Gradually add the flour and cocoa powder until a paste is formed. This can all be done in an electric mixer or food processor if you prefer.

2) Wrap the pastry in foil or clingfilm, flatten it with your hand and refrigerate for 1 hour. The pastry can be made 2 days ahead, or even longer since it freezes well, though in this case you may want to knead the pastry to soften it before rolling.

3) Sprinkle your surface with flour and roll out the pastry until it is about 5cm bigger than your tart ring or tin. I recommend using a ring that is 24cm in diameter and 2.5cm deep.

4) Carefully line the ring or tin, pushing the pastry well into the bottom edges and folding the excess over the top. Trim off the excess. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to relax the pastry and to help prevent it from shrinking during cooking.

5) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line the tart with a sheet of parchment paper – scrunch it up first to soften it – then tip in baking beans, rice or lentils and bake blind for 20 minutes. Lift out the beans and bake for a further 5 to 8 minutes, until the base is dry. Allow to cool.

6) To make the filling, put all the ingredients in a glass or metal mixing bowl – place it over a pan of very hot water and allow them to melt together until glossy and thick. Pour into your cold, baked crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.

7) For the topping, heat a saucepan until warm and add the sugar, gradually mixing until you have a golden liquid caramel. Add the salt and mix well. Pour in the pecans and, mixing thoroughly, quickly pour the mixture on to a parchment sheet and spread out with a spatula. Allow to cool thoroughly, then break or chop up into shards or chunky pieces to sprinkle over the ganache.

8) Cut the tart with a hot, wet knife for perfect, restaurant-quality slices. Serve alone with a glass of Banyuls or Maury wine.

Paul A Young will be appearing at Salon Du Chocolat London, 18-20th October. For tickets and more information, please go to http://salonduchocolat.co.uk/. Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A. Young (Kyle Books, £14.99)

Photography: Anders Schonnemann

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