E is for espresso chocolate tart
When I started this month-long cooking challenge, I knew I wouldn't like everything I cooked up - but I was still massively surprised that the first thing that I didn't enjoy was an Espresso Chocolate Tart.
I mean, it had pretty much three of my favourite things on earth - chocolate, coffee, pastry - yet the sum of those oh-so-delicious parts was a bit of a let down. The pastry was soggy, the whole thing fell apart when I laid a hand on it - argh! It was a complete dessertstrophe!
I'd put this recipe aside to make for a special occasion, and with an upcoming birthday in mind, I set to work. It's a fairly simple recipe - the pastry takes five minutes to whip up, and then it's pressed, rather than rolled, into the tart tin. It's then baked for 20 minutes.
The filling was also a doddle - pour some coffee onto some chocolate and cornflour, stir til mixed, then pour into the cooled tart case and leave in the fridge to cool.
It sounded simple. Alas, the reality was a bit more complex - think super fiendish sudoku rather than Daily Mirror quick crossword!
The pastry case was solid on the bottom, but soggy around the sides, and the chocolate filling wasn't properly emulsified - there was a grainy texture to it where the chocolate and coffee hadn't blended right. The proportions seemed off (although that could be my choice of coffee) - the filing should have been a full-blooded combo of both flavours, but was a little thin in both departments.
The pastry though tasted beautiful, lifted by the little walnuts studded throughout.
There was a lot to love about the recipe (you can find the original on VegWeb), and who knows why it didn't turn out why it should - maybe it was the recipe, maybe the ham-fisted lady cooking it (can vegans be ham-fisted?) - but with three of the best things in the world in it, I'd be daft not to give it another go.
(I wrote this a few days ago, so here's an update - after the tart had been in the fridge, it started to dry out a bit. The result? The chocolate and coffee filling firmed up, losing its grainy edge, and the pastry stopped being so soggy too. Maybe next time I make this, I'll remember to lose a bit of the liquid and have an absolutely delicious tart on my hands!)