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Cherry and chocolate tart

Deliciously rich and dark but not too sweet, this is a properly luxurious pudding ideal for a special occasion. If you back yourself in the pastry stakes, do make the chocolate pastry; alternatively, a simple sweet shortcrust works well. Taken from the Channel 4 series, River Cottage to the Core.

Method

A day ahead, put the cherries in a pan with the alcohol, sugar and lemon zest, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Tip into a bowl and leave to infuse overnight. Once infused over night drain the cherries, reserving the liquor.

To make the pastry, put the flour and cocoa in a food processor and blitz briefly (or sift into a bowl). Add the butter and blitz (or rub in with your fingertips) until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Add the egg yolk and just enough milk to bring the mix together in large clumps. Firm into a ball in the bowl then flatten into a disc about 3cm thick.

Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Using a little flour, roll out the pastry quite thinly and use to line a 24cm tart tin, letting the excess hang over the sides. Prick the base with a fork.

Line with baking parchment and baking beans, stand on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 10 minutes more.

Trim the excess pastry from the edges then leave to cool a little whilst starting the filling. Heat the cream in a saucepan to a bare simmer, then take off the heat, add the chocolate and leave to melt, stirring gently a few times.

Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod and add the seeds and pod to the mixture. Whisk the vanilla in to distribute the seeds.

Whisk a little of the hot chocolate cream into the eggs, then whisk back into the chocolate cream. Add 1 tablespoon of the cherry poaching liquor for an extra kick (save the rest to make cocktails).

Spread the jam on the base of the pastry case, scatter over the drained, infused cherries and pour over the chocolate custard (removing the vanilla pod).

Bake for about 20 minutes – the centre should still wobble slightly when you take it out of the oven. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.

Serve cut into small slices, with crème fraîche or double cream, if you like.

Serving suggestions

Variation

If fresh cherries aren't in season, you can make an equally delicious version with dried cherries. Use 200g and cook as above.

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Ingredients

For the cherries:

  • 350g sweet cherries, stoned
  • 150ml kirsch or brandy
  • 30g caster sugar
  • A strip of lemon zest

For the chocolate pastry:

  • 170g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 100g butter, chilled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons caster or icing sugar
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • About 2-–3 tablespoons cold milk (or water)

For the chocolate filling:

  • 250ml double cream
  • 200g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3–-4 tablespoons morello cherry jam

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Fruit Every Day!

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