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Milk Chocolate Tart with Ombre Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Chocolate tart is a much loved dessert in our home. It is a taste sensation, with a smooth velvety ganache, melting in your mouth against a backdrop of crunchy tart biscuit. It can be sweet and bright (milk chocolate) or dark and salted (Salted dark chocolate). Use your favourite chocolate and this will be a great dessert for any occasion.

We’ve often decorated our tarts with chocolate pearls, tempered chocolate and Fresh As freeze dried fruits (raspberry and mandarin are our favourites). In this recipe, we’ve piped our favourite swiss meringue buttercream stars on as decoration. We used our latest favourite chocolate from Foundry Chocolate, a micro batch, bean-to-bar producer based in Mahurangi, New Zealand. Beans are sourced from around the world – Peru, Tanzania, Colombia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia and Ecuador. Each batch produced is unique and has distinctive flavours. After multiple tastings (we’ve dutifully tried their whole range a few times at markets and shows), we can attest to that. We chose the Vanuatu for this particular occasion. From the Masidau Farm, Epi, Vanuatu, the flavour profile includes notes of toffee, caramel and mocha. I knew exactly what dessert I would add these to the moment I tried the chocolate.

To facilitate our Saturday morning styling sessions, I prepared the elements slightly differently to a normal bake-and-eat: I prepared the tarts the night before, to allow time for the ganache to set. Instead of piping the buttercream directly onto the tart (i.e. waiting 4 hours) I piped the swiss meringue buttercream stars onto baking paper and let them harden up in the fridge. This is done at the same time as the poured ganache is setting.

So when morning rolls around, the naked tarts will be ready to be decorated with the now-hardened buttercream stars. It’s quite easy really – using two offset spatulas, just gently lift each off from the baking paper and place onto the surface of the chocolate ganache. Another positive of this is that you can easily adjust the placement of the stars – as they have hardened, they will retain their shape as you lift and place them.

Chocolate Pâte Sablée tart shell

Ingredients

  • 420g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 80g (3/4 cup) almond meal
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
  • 3g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 120g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter (I use Westgold), softened
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk (size 7)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and yolk one after the other. Mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low, beat in the flour mixture until the dough just comes together and you can’t see any streaks of flour. Do not overmix. (The dough should hold when pressed together between your fingertips. If not, lightly mix in up to 1 tablespoon milk.)
  5. Place half the dough on a piece of baking paper. Gather the dough together and press it into a round disk. Place a second sheet of baking paper on top and roll the dough out to 3mm thick. Take note of the size of the ring you are using.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the dough.
  7. Chill in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
  8. If using tart cases (rings with with a base), lift the dough over the case and press gently to fit it.
  9. If using rings, place rings on dough and using a sharp knife, cut a circle of dough by following the inside rim.
  10. If using perforated rings, cut dough by pressing down on dough.
  11. Cut long strips of dough to line the walls of the tart and press along the seams to close. Make sure you check there are no gaps – ganache will leak out! Prick the bottom of the dough.
  12. Place prepared tart rings on silicone mats to bake. I don’t need to blind bake tarts when using these, but if you aren’t using silicone mats, it is recommended that you blind bake the tarts for 8 minutes before removing the baking beans and baking a further 5 minutes.
  13. If using silicone mats, fan bake at 165 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes.
  14. Cool completely before assembling tart.

Milk Chocolate Ganache filling

Ingredients

  • 415g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 285ml cream (35% fat minimum)
  • 60g butter, unsalted

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream up until small bubbles starts to form on the side of the pan. Just before it starts to steam, take it off the heat.
  3. Pour this over the chopped chocolate, and let it sit for 2 mins before stiring with a spatula. It will thicken and become glossy.
  4. You can even use a stick blender to achieve an extra smooth finish to the ganache, should you prefer.
  5. Pour the ganache into the cooled tart base. Tap the tart lightly on your work surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Let it firm up in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Ombre Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 75g egg whites (from about 2 eggs)
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 140g butter, softened (not melted)
  • 70g dark chocolate, melted (Foundry Chocolate – Vanuatu)

Instructions

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. (I have a small metal steamer rack that I use to rest the bowl on as my saucepan is a bit too wide for the bowl to sit on). Whisking constantly, warm the egg mixture until it reaches 60-65 degrees C on a candy thermometer.
  3. Once hot and sugar has dissolved, place the mixer bowl back on the stand. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature (about 8 minutes). At this point, it should be very glossy.
  4. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add in the softened butter about a tablespoon at a time. Stop the mixer and change the whisk to the paddle attachment.
  5. Have 2 piping bags ready, fitted with different sizes of star tips. Add half of the melted chocolate into the buttercream, paddle to incorporate into a caramel shade of brown. Scoop half of the buttercream into a piping bag. Add the remaining melted chocolate into the buttercream and paddle to combine into a rich dark chocolate shade. Scoop this into the second piping bag.

Assembly

When the ganache has set, pipe the two different shades of buttercream on, alternating in sizes and height.

Streamlining tip:
Sometimes I don’t have the full day to make this, and to save time on Saturday morning when we usually style and shoot photos, I pipe the stars ahead of time, onto baking paper and let them harden in the fridge (or freeze!). This way we have them ready for placement first thing in the morning.

Milk chocolate tart with Swiss meringue buttercream

Chocolate Pâte Sablée letter tart cake


As a full-time working parent, it’s hard to find time dedicated to fulfilling all my baking desires. Often, I am drawn to desserts that incorporate individual elements, which can be separately made and assembled at a later, more convenient time. This tart fits the bill. It’s really super fun and easy to make too. All you need is a great Chocolate Pâte Sablée recipe, a meringue or buttercream and a whole host of little sweets nibbles you want to decorate (and eat) with.

This became my birthday tart cake for 2018. Loved it!

This dough is buttery, rich and most decadent. It’s different to your normal sugar dough: while the sugar dough (Pâte sucrée) is cookie-like, this has a higher proportion of butter and less egg, making it richer and more “sandy”. Almond meal is often added. Higher egg yolks ratio in the overall egg quantity also maintains that richness. You can opt to use icing sugar instead of caster sugar as well.

Ingredients

  • 420g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 80g (3/4 cup) almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
  • 3g (1/2) teaspoon salt
  • 120g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter (I use Westgold), softened
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk (size 7)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and yolk one after the other. Mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low, beat in the flour mixture until the dough just comes together and you can’t see any streaks of flour. Do not overmix. (The dough should hold when pressed together between your fingertips. If not, lightly mix in up to 1 tablespoon milk.)
  5. Place half the dough on a piece of baking paper. Gather the dough together and press it into a round disk. Place a second sheet of baking paper on top and roll the dough out to 3mm thick. Take note of the size of the shape you wish to cut out (I just scaled up a letter M with pencil and ruler) and make sure the dough is big enough.
  6. Repeat with the remainder of the dough.
  7. Chill in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
  8. Using your paper template, cut out a shape from each of the dough sheets with a sharp knife.
  9. Carefully transfer baking paper with your shape to a cookie sheet and bake at 165 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before assembling tart.

While the biscuit is baking, make the filling. Remember to leave the butter out on your work surface before you start, so that it will have softened by the time you need it.

I used my Chocolate Swiss Meringue recipe and a star tip to pipe big stripey blobs of meringue on the bottom layer. I love the lines created by this tip!

Crushed chocolate was sprinkled on before the second layer biscuit was placed carefully on top.

I also chose this meringue recipe for its body – it can withstand the weight of the biscuit and all the yummy things I piled on top!

Less is more when it comes to the goodies – for example you only need 2-3 macarons for the whole cake. Think about what you would like to eat; the colours and texture.

Here I have macarons (no brainer as you can see how much I love macarons and they are from my freezer stash), Valrhona chocolate from Easter, mini chocolate eggs, tempered chocolate discs (made by yours truly), wafer flowers, heart and mini marshmallows, Fresh As freeze dried raspberries and Gavottes feuilletine flakes.

Thank you Westgold for the butter 😊 #giftedbutnotsponsored

Tiered Baileys Chocolate Coffee Cake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting


I adore this recipe as it makes the whole house smell of Baileys 🙄. The cake itself isn’t too rich and sweet, with the subtle coffee aroma punctuating the smooth irish creme liqueur. The swiss meringue has a buttery, full bodied sweetness which goes very well with the cake.

In making a tall three-tiered cake, I opted to make 6″ sized layers (my prefered size for non-wedding cakes). I transported it on an 8″ cake disc placed in two cake boxes – upturning one of them as the lid of the other. (Miss 9’s casual comment was the solution to my problem!)

Please do serve them in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds. Cut rectangular 1.5cm thick slices and drop it onto a cutting board. Further cut into fingers of 1.5cm width. Baileys cake with a hint of coffee, tastes exceptional with tea.

Ingredients for 3 x 6″ layers, for a three-tiered Cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrhona or Equagold)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (rice bran)
  • 1 cup Baileys Coffee Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Baileys, extra for imbibing
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)

Ingredients for the ganache filling:

  • 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used Solomon’s gold Smooth Dark kibble)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Prepare three 6″ cake pans by oiling and lining with baking paper.
    2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    4. Prepare the Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing while the cake is cooking.
    5. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 10 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
    6. While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it barely comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling.
    7. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake decorating turntable.
    8. Imbibe the top of the bottom cake layer with Baileys and then spread on ganache icing.
    9. Layer on the second cake and repeat with Baileys and ganache.
    10. Place the top layer on and ice the cake with swiss meringue buttercream. You can achieve the ‘naked cake effect’ by putting just enough icing to cover, without covering every little bit of cake.
    11. Holding a metal ruler or rectangular scraper at 45 degrees to the cake, turn the turntable so that your icing spreads cleanly around the cake.
    12. Pipe blobs of icing using a large round (wilton 1M) or jagged tip on top.
    13. Decorate with freeze dried berries, chocolate pieces etc.
    14. Refrigerate so that the icing hardens – the cake tastes absolutely better the next day.

6 recipes/ideas to start your amazing journey with Paneton French Bakery’s new chocolate pastry


If you have ever tried making short crust pastry, you would know that while it isn’t very difficult (at least when compared to making puff pastry), it does take a bit of time to make and rest before you can roll it out for baking. Add to that my preference for a chocolate shell to go with a dark chocolate ganache – I end up making far fewer tarts than other desserts.

Cue Paneton French Bakery. Their short crust pastry has always been, in my view, an exemplar of pastries.  When they released the ready-rolled chocolate pastry, I felt as if a weight has lifted off my shoulders – I can finally make tarts quickly!!! I then went about challenging myself to see how many things I can make using this gem! Here are my 6 recipes/ideas, for now 😉

1. Chocolate tarts – Solomon’s Gold 70% smooth dark chocolate ganache with Lewis Road Creamery double cream

The pastry is not very sweet and it serves as a very good base for any dessert tart. Here are my favourites:

– Solomon’s Gold 70% smooth dark chocolate ganache with Lewis Road Creamery double cream

– Solomon’s Gold dark orange chocolate ganache with Lewis Road Creamery double cream and Fresh As Freeze dried mandarin segments

– Forty Thieves‘ salted macadamia butter with chocolate ganache

– Forty Thieves‘ cacao hazelnut butter with chocolate ganache

Makes 10 individual tarts

Ingredients:

  • 500g roll of Paneton French Bakery Chocolate Pastry,
  • 300g Solomon’s Gold smooth dark chocolate or dark orange chocolate, chopped into small pieces in a heat proof bowl
  • Forty Thieves nut butters
  • 375ml Lewis Road Creamery double cream
  • Decorations – Valrhona crisp pearls, batons, Fresh As Freeze dried fruits, Solomon’s Gold cacao nibs

Instructions

    1. Thaw pastry overnight in the fridge.
    2. Carefully unroll the pastry to prevent any breaks (but it is ok if it breaks! Just push it back together)
    3. Using a sharp knife, cut out squares or circles of pastry to fit your tart mould.
    4. Push the pastry into the moulds carefully, be sure to mend any breaks. Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
    5. Blind bake in 180C oven for 9 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
    6. Make ganache by heating cream in a pot till just starting to boil, then pour over the the chocolate pieces.
    7. Let is sit for a minutes for the chocolate to soften, and then mix it till the mixture becomes glossy and thick.
    8. If using nut butter, add a dollop onto the baked shells before the next step.
    9. Pour ganache into individual tart shells, and decorate!

2. Ice cream bowl – individual dessert bar

Here the pastry is shaped into a bowl (I used the Wilton’s cookie bowl mould ) and used to serve up Kohu Road Cookies and Cream ice cream. Perfect with a tray full of garnishes for you to decorate to your heart’s content. Halzelnut praline, freeze dries raspberries and Manuka honey, Valrhona chocolate crisp pearls and batons…hmmmm

3. Ice cream sandwich with Kohu Road Cookie and Cream

Scoop the ice cream into a flat container and refreeze to solidify the ice cream again. Cut out rectangle slices of ice cream and sandwich them between rectangular shaped pastry cookies.

4. Biscuits with Fresh As freeze-dried powders

J made some rocket ship and butterfly biscuits here with cookie cutters. We then dipped them into melted chocolate, followed by a sprinkle of Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder. The acid tang was sooo good with the bitter pastry biscuit.

5. Tim tam cheesecake

Instead of lining the whole mould with the pastry, place a disc of it on the bottom of the mould. Bake and after cooling, pour in your favourite no-bake cheesecake filling (see my Tim Tam cheesecake) and let it set in the fridge.

6. Chocolate soil

This is as simple as baking the chocolate pastry and then crumbling them in a food processor or by giving them a good bash in a zip bag with a rolling pin. Sprinkle over or on the sides of desserts and voilà you have a Masterchef style dessert 🙂

Hope this gets you going with your adventure using Paneton’s Chocolate Pastry!

Chocolate hazelnut crunch bar with feuilletine


Oh dear something as addictive as macarons and needed to be available in the fridge at all times! I’m just glad these are super easy to make and can be whipped up within the hour. Didn’t even need to use the mixer.

What makes these chocolate bars so irresistible? Two things: the hazelnut taste and the biscuit crunch. Devine combination, if you ask me.

If you are unsure what ‘feuilletine’ is, here’s a photo of them. A pile of crunchy ‘leaves’. These are quite hard to source – I’ve found recipes for making them so would be giving that a try next. In its place you can use Gavottes crepes or by crumbling waffle ice cream cones. It will be similar in taste and texture.

Regarding the hazelnut-chocolate combination, you can certainly change it to suit your latest cravings. I know I would be trying peanut butter, salted caramel, macadamia butter, almond cacao and also peppermint to name a few.

You can dress the bars up with whatever you like: a dusting of cocoa powder; hazelnut; hazelnut praline crunch; fresh-dried berries. Or left naked. Your options are endless which makes this an ideal ‘bring-a-dessert’ that *potentially* satisfies everyone.

Makes one square tray, cut bars sized to your liking. I got 39 (3 rows of 13 bars of  about 1.5 cm by 8cm)

For the crunchy Bottom layer:
250g milk chocolate (33% cacao), melted

100g roasted hazelnut paste (Nocciola from Equagold)

125g (about half cup) chocolate-hazelnut spread (instead of the hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread, you can use the same amount of Forty Thieves’ Cacao Hazelnut butter instead.)

2 cups feuilletine (crunchy leaves)


For the filling:
300g dark chocolate (70% cacao) broken into small pieces, (I used Equagold)
300ml cream
50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

  1.  For the bottom layer, line a square tray with 2 pieces of baking paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the tray. (This will help you lift the slab off from the tray effortlessly.)
  2. Melt chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water. Once smooth, add the roasted hazelnut paste and  chocolate-hazelnut spread; stir until smooth. 
  3. Fold in the feuilletine until the chocolate is combined with the flakes (It should look like a mess!) Scoop the chocolate mixture to the prepared tray. Press the mixture down into a smooth, even layer. Let it chill in the fridge while you make the filling. 
  4. To make the ganache, place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it is just simmering and pour over the chocolate. 
  5. Shake the bowl a little and let this sit for about 2 minutes, this is so that the chocolate melts smoothly, avoiding any lumps in your final product. 
  6. Add the cubed butter and whisk until ganache is smooth. As you whisk, the cream will magically homogenize with the melted chocolate to form a shiny smooth, pourable ganache.
  7. Pour the ganache over the feuilletine and smooth with a spatula. Leave in the fridge to set, about 1 – 2 hours. 
  8. Decorate with whole hazelnuts, hazelnut praline crunch or anything you wish! Slice into bars before serving. 

*if you prefer a sweeter bar, you can make your ganache with a combination of dark and milk chocolate. The total chocolate to cream ratio will need to be altered for the ganache to work, to about 1: 0.8. (for example, 100g  total chocolate to 80g cream.) This ratio will work if you keep the milk chocolate in a smaller proportion to the dark chocolate. I would suggest for 200g dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate to 300ml cream.

Styled by my little chef.