Rich Chocolate Tart – Book Review and Giveaway #53

Tart | 28th October 2014 | By

Rich Chocolate Tarts

For those of you who’ve been watching Lorraine Pascale’s latest cookery series on BBC2, How to be a Better Cook, this new cookbook will come as no surprise. Whether you’ve seen the series or not, Lorraine’s easy style makes this an accessible book for both beginners and those wanting to expand their range of techniques; the more advanced cook may also find it useful for inspiration. She carries us through the recipes with characteristic grace and modesty. The cover states, “100 quick and easy recipes”, a statement that grabbed my attention. Time is at a premium for most of us these days, so any help we can get to enable us to produce tasty and nutritious food that also looks good and is simple to prepare has got to be a good thing.

Published by HarperCollins, with a cover price of £25, this hardback edition of How to be a Better Cook is very similar in style to her last one A Lighter Way to Bake. The recipes are for simple every day food and are not too excessive when it comes to the use of fats and other such “naughty” ingredients. Chocolate tart I hear you cry? Well yes, there is a chapter on desserts, cakes and treats, what cookbook is really complete without one? But even the tart is made with more milk than cream. Similarly her recipes for panna cotta, ice-cream and Bircher muesli use yogurt to replace some or all of the cream associated with these dishes.

This is not a book aimed at vegans and vegetarians and I could wish there was a little more in it for me. However, despite the three chapters devoted to meat and fish, a few recipes caught my eye. Many of the meat dishes can easily be adapted to include vegetarian alternatives and there are chapters for canapés & cocktails, starters, snacks & soups, salads, vegetables & sides which also contain many vegetable dishes. It’s been a long time since I tried making harissa but Lorraine’s recipe has me inspired once again. She is a self-confessed harissa junky and uses it in all sorts of ways. I keep meaning to unearth my slow cooker from the back of the cupboard, but it’s a bit of a faff, so tends to stay put. However, this is about to change as I’m now really keen to make slow cooker lentil, sweet potato and cumin soup with ginger and coriander – I can just imagine how good that tastes.

As a fan of incorporating vegetables into sweet bakes, thus trying to make them a little more nutritious, I was pleased to see a recipe for pumpkin, brown sugar and pecan cake with cream cheese icing and very nice it looked too. Lorraine also incorporates wholemeal flour in some stem ginger and apricot biscotti, an addition which I obviously heartily approve of.

With Halloween and Bonfire Night just a few days away, it’s useful to find that Lorraine has these covered. Ghostly black-eyed meringues, lighter chocolate muffin spiders, s’mores pops and toffee apple slice pops are great fun to make, with or without the children.

The pages are shiny which makes them a little difficult to read in certain light. I also found the  photographs to be rather hard and a bit stark. There are plenty of them in the book and many of them are of Lorraine. As a former model, this is perhaps not surprising, but much as I like Lorraine, I prefer my recipe books to show pictures of the food rather than the author. However, I liked the stylish use of colour running through the book, a picture of something on a green plate for example would be matched by green text on the opposite page. A recipe for chargrilled green bean, sugar snap and courgette salad with poppy seed dressing printed in pink, had pink forks shown in the accompanying photo. You can see what I mean from the recipe excerpt below.

Lorraine gives tips and tricks throughout the book, but also includes a few pages at the end detailing her store cupboard essentials, kitchen equipment essentials, how to look after knives and how best to store food.

Rich Chocolate Tart

As soon as I saw the recipe for Ridiculously Rich Chocolate Tart, I knew that was the one I was going to make for this review. As per usual, I changed things around a little. I had some goat’s butter from St Helen’s Farm that I was keen to try out in the pastry and some goat’s milk in need of using up. I also wanted to give the tart a bit of a salted caramel edge. To do this, I used a pinch of salt and 100g of Cacao Barry caramel milk chocolate and 165g of 72% dark chocolate, which included one of the Seed and Bean bars I reviewed a while back. I also made the pastry with half wholemeal flour and half white.

Apart from faffing around with pastry, which is never my most fun activity in the kitchen, this tart was a breeze to make. If you are in a rush, Lorraine allows for a nice easy get out clause for this stage – buy the pastry. But that’s not my way. The only problem I experienced, other than trying not to eat it before it set, was getting the tart into the oven without spilling the filling. Needless to say, I didn’t achieve this. Lorraine suggests pouring the filling into the tart case once it’s actually on the oven shelf. My oven and kitchen preclude this, so I didn’t quite get the nice clean edges I’d have liked. I also found, I had more pastry and filling than I needed, so I made three 10cm tartlets as well.

The Tarts were sublime. They had a crisp, buttery, flaky pastry which melted in the mouth – not a soggy bottom in sight. The filling was rich and creamy and had the hint of salted caramel I was looking for. It also had a subtle goaty tang which did a good job of reinforcing the robust flavour of the chocolate and added another welcome dimension.

I’m sending the tarts over to Lucy at SuperGolden Bakes for her weekly event #CookBlogShare.

In case you would like to try Lorraine’s recipe out rather than my slightly adapted version, I am taking the unusual step of including an exact copy here for you with kind permission of HarperCollins.

This chocolate tart is so dark and rich, it is just not for kids! There is a little bit of gaffing here what with making the  pastry and all that, but to cut a perfectly acceptable corner, just buy ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry instead to half the making time.

Photography © Maja Smend
125g butter, softened and diced,
plus extra for greasing
100g caster sugar
Pinch of salt (but only if your butter
is unsalted)
250g plain flour, plus extra for
1 egg, at room temperature
100ml single or double cream
250ml whole milk
175g dark chocolate (minimum
70% cocoa solids)
75g milk chocolate
3 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
20cm straight-edged tart tin

Grease a 20cm straight-edged tart tin well with a little butter and set aside on a baking sheet. I prefer to make this pastry using a food processor. Put the butter, sugar and salt in the processor and blitz for about 10 seconds. Then add the flour and pulse a few times until everything is nicely mixed up. Tip in the egg and pulse a few times again, scraping the sides of the food processor if need be. Lay a large piece of cling film on the work surface, tip the pastry mix on to it, squidge the pastry together in a ball and then wrap it up in the cling film. Place it in the fridge and leave it to rest for a good hour or hour and a half. To make this the traditional way by hand, tip the flour onto a clean work surface, then make a well in the centre of the flour about 30cm wide. Put the butter and the sugar and salt in the centre of the well (they should not touch the flour at this time). Use your hand to mix the butter, sugar and salt together; it is kind of messy, but great to make it the way it should be made! Then bring in the flour. I use a pastry scraper to flick the flour over the butter and the sugar, and then I kind of chop it together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make another well in the centre of the pastry mix and crack the egg into it. Then, using your fingertips, mix it all together; again messy, but I find it kind of fun. Once the mixture is all mixed up and together, wrap the pastry ball in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour or hour and a half to rest. The pastry needs to rest to relax the protein strands, which could cause it to be too stretchy when you roll it. This will also help make the pastry more tender. Once the pastry is rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about a 25cm circle, roughly 5mm in thickness. I then put a rolling pin across the centre of the dough and flip half of the pastry over the rolling pin. Pick it up on the rolling pin and lay the pastry over the tart tin before removing the rolling pin. Gently press the pastry down into the tin, making sure that the pastry goes right into the ‘corners’, and then pop it in the fridge for an hour to rest again (rolling it out works the proteins in the pastry again, so it needs to have another rest in the fridge).
Once the pastry has been in the fridge for 40 minutes, turn the oven on to preheat to 200°C, (fan 180°C), 400°F, Gas Mark 6 with the middle shelf at the ready. After the pastry case has had an hour in the fridge and the oven is ready, line it with a  circle of baking parchment slightly larger than the size of the tart case and tip in ceramic baking beans (or you can use dried beans for this, which are cheaper and work really well). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp, golden and almost cooked through. Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, put the cream and milk in a medium pan and bring it almost to the boil, then immediately remove it from the heat. Snap in the dark and milk chocolates and leave it aside to melt. Once the chocolate has softened and melted, mix it all together and add the eggs and the orange zest. Mix together again and then
set this aside. Remove the pastry case from the oven and leave the oven open to cool down a bit, turning the temperature down to 180°C, (fan 160°C), 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Carefully lift the bean-filled baking parchment from the pastry case.
Once the oven has reached temperature (which will be indicated by the thermostat light coming back on), close the door. Pour the chocolate mix into the pastry case. I like to pour the last bit of filling into the case once it is safely resting on the oven shelf, that way it avoids any spillover. Then very carefully place the pastry case back into the oven for 20–25 minutes.
Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a bit. Then carefully push the tart out of the tin, remove the base, place on a plate or cake stand and serve.

Recipe taken from How to be a Better Cook by Lorraine Pascale (HarperCollins, £25).

HarperCollins have also kindly agreed to give one of my readers a copy of How to be a Better Cook. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.

Prizes are offered and provided by HarperCollins and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
Closing date is Tuesday 25 November 2014

Do take a look at my giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

How to be a Better Cook


  1. Leave a Reply

    28th October 2014

    I love LP’s series!
    Thanks for the chocolate tart recipe!!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Miranda Myrabev
    28th October 2014

    The “Tart” looks good and love the adaptation I can not remember the last time I actually stuff to a recipe word for word. I was not familiar with Lorraine as I hardly even watch bbc2 but now I know will google her lol

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      29th October 2014

      Thanks Miranda. The only time I manage to stick to a recipe is if I’m recipe testing and then I have to be really strict with myself 😉

  3. Leave a Reply

    29th October 2014

    chocolate souffle
    (Spencer Broadley)

  4. Leave a Reply

    Kate Glutenfreealchemist
    29th October 2014

    I love a good chocolate tart and this one looks yum. But as I have already mastered that, I would like to source a good, creamy dark chocolate panna cotta recipe….. Yum yum!

  5. Leave a Reply

    29th October 2014

    I love Lorraine Pascale’s books and TV shows. She has an easy air about her on TV and her recipes are very tempting. GG

  6. Leave a Reply

    Baking Addict
    29th October 2014

    This looks like a seriously good chocolate tart. I love dark chocolate so this is right up my alley. I would like a good chocolate fondant recipe as I’ve been trying to find the perfect one.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      30th October 2014

      Thanks Ros. I had a brilliant chocolate fondant recipe that worked every time, but I’ve foolishly managed to mislay it!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Angela Moore
    30th October 2014

    A good chocolate mouse recipe.

    Your choc tarts look super, I once made one on a baking course it was white chic filling with a chocolate pastry.

    Angela – Garden Tea Cakes and Me

  8. Leave a Reply

    Fiver Feeds
    31st October 2014

    I was thinking what chocolate dessert to make during weekend and this tart seems like a perfect choice!

  9. Leave a Reply

    Sandhya Hariharan
    4th November 2014

    I love Lorraine Pascal. Some of her recipes have made me a better cook. I would love to get my hands on Chocolate Brownies.

  10. Leave a Reply

    katie skeoch
    9th November 2014

    The chocolate tart recipe looks scrumptious!! I am on the lookout for some chocolate Christmas pudding recipes to try xx

  11. Leave a Reply

    Fran Roberts
    11th November 2014

    Sounds absolutely delicious! I will have to see if I can make a gluten free version!

  12. Leave a Reply

    Elizabeth Cooper
    20th November 2014

    The chocolate tart looks divine! I’m going to use the recipe on the weekend for me and my husbands night off from the little one. Might just have to sit in front of the tv and eat it all! ;P

  13. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    Somebody at work said they’d had chocolate sorbet so I’d like to find a recipe for that.

  14. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    chocolate tart look delish
    dorothy cavender

  15. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    I am not a huge baker only just getting into it more! I would like to be able to make the richest brownies ever!

  16. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    The chocolate tart looks amazing!

  17. Leave a Reply

    Sarah Archibald
    20th November 2014

    This chocolate tart looks delicious. Wow. I’d love to master any chocolate recipe other than variations of slow cooker fudge, they are my limit, tasty though, so I can’t complain too much!

  18. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    As I love chocolate, any chocolate recipe or all chocolate recipes. The recipe given above for chocolate tart looks nice.

    Rachel Craig

  19. Leave a Reply

    Hannah Lord
    20th November 2014

    The tart looks fab, I also like the idea of the childrens halloween recipes they sould delicious for adults too!

  20. Leave a Reply

    20th November 2014

    I’d love to try the Chocolate Tart recipe. Something I’ve always wanted to try to make.

  21. Leave a Reply

    21st November 2014

    A really light chocolate moose

  22. Leave a Reply

    21st November 2014

    Really light chocolate moose

  23. Leave a Reply

    Gemma Nisbet
    21st November 2014

    A chocolate souffle please.

  24. Leave a Reply

    21st November 2014

    A chocolate souffle! Thanks for the giveaway – great prize!

  25. Leave a Reply

    Natalie Roberts
    21st November 2014

    Chocolate brownie recipe would be great.

  26. Leave a Reply

    David Zipfell
    22nd November 2014

    Rich chocolate mousse pots, never been able to find the chocolate pots!!

  27. Leave a Reply

    22nd November 2014

    Chocolate brownies are my fave _ @timscomps

  28. Leave a Reply

    caroline Jones
    22nd November 2014

    Oooh the chocolate tart

  29. Leave a Reply

    Pam Francis Gregory
    23rd November 2014

    I love chocolate cornflake cakes

  30. Leave a Reply

    Amanda Longman
    24th November 2014

    Chocloate Tart looks delicious- can’t wait to try the recipe myself!

  31. Leave a Reply

    Sheila Reeves
    24th November 2014

    I’d like to get my hands on the slow cooker lentil, sweet potato and cumin soup with ginger and coriander that you mention in your post – that sounds delicious – and could follow that up with a slice of the chocolate tart 🙂

  32. Leave a Reply

    Kim M
    24th November 2014

    The perfect chocolate brownie

  33. Leave a Reply

    Caroline Hooper
    24th November 2014

    The chocolate tart looks amazing!

  34. Leave a Reply

    Kath Jones
    24th November 2014

    Wow can’t wait to try most of these 😀

  35. Leave a Reply

    24th November 2014

    the chocolate tart fab giveaway
    lisa ann tebbutt

  36. Leave a Reply

    Michelle Rayner
    24th November 2014

    The perfect brownies

  37. Leave a Reply

    Kim Styles
    24th November 2014

    I love Chocolate fondant- very hard to make but scrumptious

  38. Leave a Reply

    Laura Vitty
    24th November 2014

    I’m really into making different kinds of chocolate mousse at the minute, just got a new magi mix so I’m putting it through it’s paces 🙂

  39. Leave a Reply

    Daisy Craydon
    24th November 2014

    Chocolate Yule log.

  40. Leave a Reply

    Laura Whittle
    24th November 2014

    Slow cooker lentil, sweet potato and cumin soup with ginger and coriander – I love hearty spiced soups when the weather starts getting cold x

  41. Leave a Reply

    Ami tobbell
    24th November 2014

    Chocolate tart looks amazing 😍

  42. Leave a Reply

    Pauline Burroughs
    24th November 2014

    The chocolate tart looks scrummy x

  43. Leave a Reply

    Kirsty Mackay
    25th November 2014

    The stem ginger and apricot biscotti sounds delicious.

  44. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    Yule log. My hubby always want’s me to make one each year but they kind of scare me a little so I always seem to not have the time 🙁
    debbie jackson

  45. Leave a Reply

    joan hewes
    25th November 2014

    Chocolate brownies,mmmmm!Lorraine’s recipes are so very easy to follow,her books are the perfect gift.

  46. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    The Ridiculously Rich Chocolate Tart looks delicious and id want to make it

  47. Leave a Reply

    Jules Naybur
    25th November 2014

    Wow, fab looking tart, I’m naff at soufflés so would love to give the chocolate soufflé a go

  48. Leave a Reply

    Anna K
    25th November 2014

    A yummy chocolate mousse recipe

  49. Leave a Reply

    Zoe R
    25th November 2014

    got to be the fudgiest chocolate brownie recipe I just cant seem to get them right.

  50. Leave a Reply

    Faith J
    25th November 2014

    Chocolate anything is good! lol.
    But the chocolate tart looks so good.

  51. Leave a Reply

    margaret barlow
    25th November 2014

    the tart looks yummy,

  52. Leave a Reply

    Twiddle Dee
    25th November 2014

    chocolate souffle, as the last one I made was like a rubbery tongue lol 🙂 Natalie Gillham

  53. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    A perfect chocolate brownie recipe squidgy but not too much

  54. Leave a Reply

    Denielle Nicol
    25th November 2014

    Chocolate soufflé

  55. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    definitely the chocolate tart

  56. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    I was watching Lorraine earlier on good food channel, I do like her, she is so relaxed and I think that makes a good bake.
    Hmm. If I could have any chocolate recipe, it would be a decadent vegan gluten free chocolate fudge cake. From her book I’m a sucker for the tart you’ve made so I would do that.
    Finding it hard to go completely vegan which is why I follow so many blogs and chefs. But I do love my baking and chocolate. It’s HARD! Ha ha x

  57. Leave a Reply

    25th November 2014

    A really nice chocolate mousse – mine are always too heavy.

  58. Leave a Reply

    Lucie Plant
    25th November 2014

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, planning to try it tomorrow on my day off 🙂

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>