Chocolate, Prune and Orange Tart

The rich, dark and silky smooth chocolate filling is complimented by the slightly sharp tang of the orange pastry. Lovely.

Serves: 10 – 12

Time: Pastry 15 min + chilling time; the rest, about 80 minutes.

Level: The pastry needs care, otherwise fairly easy.

Equipment: A 23cm/9” loose bottomed, fluted tart tin or similar.

Ingredients

Orange pastry

  • 120g (4oz) butter, softened
  • 60g (2½oz) caster sugar
  • Zest of an orange
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 225g (7oz) plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cold water, if necessary

Filling

  • 150g (5oz) ready to eat prunes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur or brandy (optional, but nice)
  • 50ml (2 fl oz) warm orange juice
  • 75g (3oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 125ml (4 fl oz) double cream
  • 200g (7oz) mascarpone
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Zest of an orange

Method

The pastry

1. Put the butter, sugar and zest in a bowl and beat until well combined.

2. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then sift in the flour and salt. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Only add water if absolutely necessary.

3. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave in fridge for about 2 hours.

The tart

4. Take the pastry out of the fridge half an hour before needed, to come to room temperature. Pour the warm orange juice over the prunes and leave until needed.

5. Grease a 23cm loose bottomed fluted tart tin and dust lightly with flour. Turn the oven on to heat up to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the tart tin. Leave any excess hanging over the edge for now. Keep some spare to mend any cracks. Prick the base with a fork. NB It’s a very delicate pastry dough and may break easily, but can be “patched” once in the tin.

7. Line with foil and add baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Allow it to cool for a while then use a sharp knife to trim away any excess pastry from the edge. Fill any cracks with the reserved pastry if necessary. Set aside. Turn the oven down to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.

8. To make the filling, put the chocolate and cream in a bain marie and melt, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Whisk together the mascarpone, eggs and alcohol (if using) then stir into the chocolate mixture. Drain the prunes well and stir into the mixture.

9. Pour the combined mixture into the tart case. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until almost set, with a bit of a wobble in the centre still. Let it cool completely in the tin. Put in the fridge for a while if time allows.

10. To serve, grate the orange zest over it. Serve with cream, crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt.

NB – not keen on prunes? Give dates or figs a try then.