There’s lots to love about this eggless recipe from Foodhall Cookery Studio (FCS), featuring a few of our very favourite things – dark chocolate, sea salt and caramel! It doesn’t require very many ingredients either – just flour, salt, butter, sugar, cream and dark chocolate.
FCS’ ingenious trick is to bring in an element of blind baking – partially (or sometimes completely), baking the pie crust before adding in the filling.
You might wonder why we don’t just throw the crust in the oven as it is. The answer is that as the crust bakes, pockets of steam cause the layers of pastry to puff up – very unhelpful when one’s ultimate goal is to fill the pie with something else! The sides of the crust will also to sag before they start to crisp, leaving us with a not-so-attractive slouching effect.
The solution is to line the unbaked pie crust with parchment or aluminium foil and weigh it down with something so that the bottom doesn’t puff and the sides don’t slouch. You can find special pie weights for this job, or you can also just use dry beans (any beans or legumes like chickpeas , red kidney beans!).
The simple hack is just one of the many hands-on techniques taught by the state-of-the-art cookery studio at Foodhall@LinkingRoad, with their globe-trotting selection of classes curated to ensure that bakers & budding chefs fine-tune their art beyond just following standard text-book recipes! Follow them on Instagram for more tips and tricks, as well as to discover their upcoming modules.
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 100 g Flour
- A pinch Salt
- 55 g Cold Butter (cut into small pieces)
- 1-2 tbsp Cold Water
- Using the rubbing method / slowest speed on a stand mixer, mix the flour, salt and butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the cold water little at a time, mixing briefly till a dough forms. Do not over-mix.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
- Once rolled, line your pie tin and refrigerate for 10 mins. Place baking beans inside the tart and bake in a 170 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry starts to brown on the edges. Remove the beans and bake till the pastry is golden brown.*
* Once the crust is set — and you’ll know this because the edges will turn golden — you remove the weights and let the crust cook a little longer on its own. For a partially baked crust, you want the bottom to look dry and flaky, but still pale. For a fully baked crust, look for the bottom to turn light golden. The whole process won’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes.
For the salted caramel:
- 150 g Caster Sugar
- 64 g Unsalted Butter
- 90 g Cream
- As per taste, Sea Salt
- Place half the amount of the sugar in an even layer in a saucepan. On medium heat, start cooking the sugar. If required, briefly mix / swirl the sugar to help it along. Once melted, add the remaining sugar little by little, to ensure that it all melts before the sugar starts to caramelize.
- Once the sugar starts caramelising, bring it to a dark amber colour, remove it from the heat, and stir in the butter. The sugar will bubble up, don’t be alarmed.
- Once incorporated, add in the warmed cream and stir to combine. Add sea salt to taste and stir.
- If you find any clumps of sugar, return to a low heat and stir till dissolved.
- Pass the caramel through a sieve if there are still lumps. Transfer into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Spread some of the salted caramel onto the base of the tarts.
For the ganache:
- 100 g Dark Chocolate
- 100 g Cream
- To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Heat the cream in a saucepan till it is steaming. Pour into the chocolate and emulsify.
- While still warm, pour into tarts almost all the way to the top.
- Refrigerate till the ganache sets. Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish as desired.
Foodhall Cookery Studio will be introducing virtual cook-alongs via Zoom during the lockdown. Discover their line-up of upcoming classes, from egg-free pasta to Asian favourites, here.
You can also explore more tips, tricks and recipes from your favourite chefs, restaurants & food writers, as part of my Kitchen Inspiration series, here. | And of course, if you haven’t already do sign up to my newsletter for a bi-monthly bulletin on the latest word in food, travel, culture, life and style… Click here to subscribe.