Sunday, 3 April 2011

Chocolate Crusted Lemon Tart

I get cranky if I haven't baked for a long time.

When I'm cranky, I don't want to bake.

Well. Thank god I managed to break that vicious cycle.

I think the best part of the night I shared is with my friends was this conversation (who shall remain unnamed because he's a good cook really!):

Mr. Y: "This is really nice! What's in it?"
Me: "Oh er, it's a chocolate pastry base. Then on top is eggs, cream, sugar, lemon.."
Mr. Y: "Oh!! Lemon!! That's what it was! I was wondering that that acidic taste was"
Friend: "What did you think it would be? Vinegar?!"

p.s. Spring is here! And to share a quote form Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
"In springtime, the only pretty ring time, birds sing hey ding... a-ding, a-ding, sweet lovers love... the spring."

And here are some shots of Trinity in spring (before, in true British style, it started pouring it down with rain).

These flowers remind me of something my friend said : "What's the point in giving flowers? I'd rather have chocolate... at least I can eat that."

She's also an Economist :)

And yes, you guessed it, this recipe is from my Green & Black's cookbook. I'm very close to finishing, and if you don't count the weird chilli chocolate sausage/rabbit ones, I've only got 6 or so left!

So with no time to lose, off I went!

Pastry pastry oh how tasty...

The G&B's cookbook had a tip: 'If you love making pastry try to find yourself a rolling pin with ball bearings in it!'

You know what I prefer? A rolling pin with alcohol in it.

You may be looking at this and wondering why I have some cut up carrots and a banana on top of the pastry being 'blind baked'. This is because I didn't have any baking beans, and these were the only heavy-ish things in my fridge.

This is what happened after 15 minutes...

But you know what the strangest thing was? The banana was SO GOOD. And the juice ran out onto the carrots - voila! Caramelised carrots!

I'm totally the next Heston Blumenthal.

Pastry with chocolate sprinkles. I was very tempted to smush my face into this.

If someone had 5p'ed this, I totally would have.

Grating the lemon. I had to borrow a grater off a friend, but it was a cheese grater, so I couldn't grate the lemon finely' like the recipe said. When I baked it, the big bits of lemon floated to the top.

Was a bit chewy at the top, but that may be your kinda pudding. I dunno.

Last step and into the oven! (No carrots or bananas needed this time).

Lesson learned today: Careful not to confuse lemon with interesting as experimental cooking is, I may have to draw the line at 'vinegar meringue pie'.

Chocolate Crusted Lemon Tart
Recipe from the Green & Black’s cookbook

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Chilling time:            3 hours
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Use:   23cm (9in) tart tin with removable base
Serves: 6 (I stretched this to 12…)


175g (6oz) plain flour
25g (1oz) cocoa
Pinch of salt
25g (1oz) icing sugar
125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water


75g (3oz) dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa solids, grated
3 juicy unwaxed lemons
150g (5oz) caster sugar
4 large eggs
150ml (5oz) double cream
Icing sugar to sprinkle

To make the pastry, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and icing sugar. Rub in the cold butter using a food-processor or your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix the egg yolk with the water, and add to the mixture to make a dough. You may need a little more water. Gather the pastry into a ball, wrap it in grease-proof paper and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry from the centre and away from you, then back to the centre and down towards you, using your weight to push down on it to avoid stretching it. Line the tart tin.

Prick the pastry base with a fork in several places and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Line the pastry case with foil and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. (Be careful not to overbake as the chocolate pastry can quickly develop a bitter taste.) Remove the tin from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170°C/350°F/gas mark 3.

While the pastry is still hot, scatter the grated chocolate evenly over the base and then leave to cool.

To make the filling, finely grate the zest from the lemons into a mixing bowl. Squeeze and strain the lemon juice and add it to the zest with the sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved, then whisk in the eggs and the cream until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the filling into the cooled pastry case and carefully return it to the oven. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until just set. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.


  1. Anon Emma Econ... ;)3 April 2011 at 22:00

    Needs rice...

  2. yum. also, next time I will be there with a 5p and a camera to catch you smooshing your face into a half made cake :P

  3. What a gorgeous tart! Anything with lemon is terrific.

  4. Your posts crack me up - I love that you used carrots and bananas as pie weights! I've heard that pennies work too, which might be easier next time :)

  5. Sounds like a delicious recipe! I've considered making a chocolate pastry before, but never have. Yours photos make me tempted to try it soon! Really pretty shots!

  6. Errr, interesting baking beans - did the carrots taste good? Haven't yet got the latest G&B cookbook. Will have to remedy this situation at some point.

  7. How wonderful that spring has arrived! Yeay :) Ha carrots and banana as 'blind baking beans'! I'm loving the chocolate crust ;)

  8. heavenly tat and love your post... so much happening....
    Love the rolling pin(Hic), chocolate sprinkles, lemon, the spring pics and the TART.....
    Super :)

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  9. Hehe me too! Whenever I've been away I right myself by getting in the kitchen and doing some baking. This looks divine and I love the first photo in the garden :D

  10. Ha! I love your improvised baking beans, very inventive. And your rolling pin is great too! I don't know if I totally agree with your friend's sentiment's about flowers (I do like to receive them) but if given a choice I would take chocolate too.

  11. Love your rolling pin! This looks great.

  12. Amazing photos and your tart looks so good! Do you mind sharing a piece?

  13. Thanks for the comments, the carrots tasted AMAZING!! (The banana juice ran into it and caramelised it and it was strangely nice :D)

    This recipe is from the old G&B's cookbook, still trying to bake my way through this until I start on the new one!

    And thanks for the tip about using pennies, next time I will try that instead :)

  14. It looks yummy :) love the chocolate base!

  15. looks gorgeous..! such a nice color..very tempting..!
    Tasty Appetite

  16. Wow, this tart looks the chocolate crust and the lemon on it looks just perfect. By the way, the pictures of the flowers are awesome. Have a great day :-)

  17. Haha I have a friend who recently bought baking beads. I told her there were plenty of other things she could use.
    Bananas were not on my list... until now! She needs to see this.

  18. I can't tell you exactly what appealed to me more...the flower garden...the roasted banana (I've gotta try) or the blend of lemon with chocolate (very interesting combo).

    It looks delicious ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  19. @YH I strongly recommend banana-baking-beans! It's gonna be all over Masterchef soon, just you watch!

    @FOODESSA Yes try the roasted banana, it's amazing :) My friends used to barbecue it with a mars bar inside and eat it with ice good... :)

  20. Lovely - the chocolate case came out really well. Love all the improvisation with the baking beans and grater!

  21. Another great post. You're too funny. Also glad you broke that vicious circle and discovered the carmelised banana carrots and THAT rolling pin! Beautiful floral shots and your chocolatey tart with chocolate sounds a gorgeous combo. Now if you did choc carmelised banana perhaps your friend may have got that one ;-)

  22. Such a beautiful tart! I love baking tarts, they're one of my favourite things int he world to bake because they always look so elegant and gorgeous. I broke by fine grater a few months ago and have neglected to replace it but to make up for it I use a sharp peeler and knife. Peel the yellow part of the skin and then finely chop it. You could do it with the large grated stuff too. Works like a charm and imparts a better citurs flavour without being toothsome!

  23. I love the combo of chocolate crust and lemony filling! It sounds like a yum!

  24. Your tart is quite lovely and sounds delicious. I've enjoyed my visit to your blog today and will be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  25. HaHa! I love your rolling pin! This chocolate and lemon combination sounds lovely, like a lemon cream chocolate covered truffle. I think your solution to having no baking beans was very inventive- I bet it was tasty too! :)

  26. Yumm! looks delicious! Great pictures!

  27. I love your blog! new follower, && I've been looking for one with posts like yours :) mind checking out my new blog?

    Holden @ SUGARbijoux

  28. @Joy, The Herbed KitchenThat's such a simple yet great idea, thanks for the tip!

  29. the dress is from modcloth! :) :)

  30. Oh my. This looks so irresistible. I got a good laugh out the potato and carrot pie weights and the wanting to smush your face in the crust! :)

  31. oO i've never tried chocolate and lemon together. bet it's fabulous!

  32. this looks so fancy=pants! i wish i could make one. riiiiight now.
    ps--have you entered my giveaway?

  33. I bet this tastes incredible! I have never tried the lemon chocolate combo before. :)

  34. Lovely tart. I like the way you caramelised the carrots. Thanks for visiting my blog and following me. I am your new follower.

    I've answered your question on sushi:

  35. This looks so yummy - love the chocolate pastry! The lemon looks perfect for the sunny spring day :)

  36. Honestly I would have never of though of this combination before. However it does look delish!



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