Dont attempt this recipe unless you have time to spare
In her own words the recipe begins.....
"I never lie about how effortless something is to make, but no one will believe me on this one".
Ok, once made the tart has to rest and set in the fridge overnight, but the cooking time given spans quite a large window (10 to 30 minutes ) The actual preparation time took me over one hour.This is far from the "Express"Nigella of a few years back.I do understand that that series was all about fast cooking for busy mums ( like yourself ), but seduction even with food, cannot – repeat cannot – be done quickly, and this seductive salty chocolate tart is sensual in the extreme.
Two of the steps alone take 25 minutes between them, leaving me only 5 minutes to complete the rest of the steps.Dear me Nigella, back in the day you were the finger licking goddess of gastroporn, but nowadays you are only happy enough to run your finger across the back of the chocolate coated spoon and the lick it off sensually.When it comes to mixing the ingredients for the base you encase your hands in disposable vinyl gloves.As I slowly progressed through the 9 stages of the recipe I was thinking how you would have done it.
Get taxi to supermarket to buy Oreos,keep meter ticking and coming out of supermarket look side ways at camera with smouldering look before returning home– bat eyelashes – shake hair – apply disposable gloves, look at camera again – closer, sieve cocoa powder with cornflour, add carefully scraped vanilla that you bought on a recent trip to Madagascar – suggestive look at camera – pick up very small whisk as you are not aiming to get air in the mixture,just trying to banish any lumpiness. Grab packet of baking parchment from the cupboard and run it under the cold tap – wring it out – final mix – wipe finger in it – lick finger – sexy pout at camera. And there you have it, all ready to be poured into a wide Nigella branded measuring jug or batter jug and rest in the fridge for a while with the damp crumpled piece of baking parchment sitting on top of it. I always wondered how one wrung out a piece of wet baking parchment-fascinating.
Finally you can slice modestly into 14 small slices ( not an even working my dear but then again your papa was chancellor of the exchequer so his precise calculations must have rubbed off on you.At last you can give it its first outing at optimal stage - Marvellous. Even though I didn´t have time to spare it was more than worth the work involved.
For the base
2 x 154g/5½oz packets chocolate cookies, such as Oreos or Bourbons(28 small biscuits in all)
50g/1¾oz dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp smoked sea salt flakes (see tip section)
For the filling
100g/3½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
4 tbsp full-fat milk
200ml/6.5 fl oz whipping cream
50g/1¾oz cocoa powder, sieved
2 tsp strong coffee grounds
75g/2½oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked sea salt flakes
For the base, snap the biscuits into pieces and drop them into the bowl of a food processor. Do likewise with the chocolate, then blitz them together until you have crumbs. Add the butter and salt, and blitz again until the mixture starts to clump together. If you’re doing this by hand, bash the biscuits in a freezer bag until they form crumbs, finely chop the chocolate and melt the butter, then mix everything, along with the salt, in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or your hands encased in disposable vinyl gloves.
Press into your tart tin and pat down on the bottom and up the sides of the tin with your hands or the back of a spoon, so that the base and sides are evenly lined and smooth. Put into the fridge to harden for at least 1 hour, or 2 hours if your fridge is stacked. I wouldn’t keep it for longer than a day like this as the crust tends to get too crumbly.
For the filling, finely chop the chocolate. Put the cornflour into a cup and whisk in the milk until smooth. (I find it easier to use cups for the liquids – in which case the milk measure is equivalent to an American quarter cup, and you’ll need 2 cups of cream.)
Pour the cream and mascarpone into a heavy-based saucepan in which all the ingredients can fit and be stirred without splashing out of the pan, then add the finely chopped rubble of chocolate, the sieved cocoa (or just sieve it straight in), espresso or instant coffee powder, sugar, vanilla paste or extract, olive oil and smoked salt. Place over a medium to low heat and whisk gently – I use a very small whisk for this, as I’m not aiming to get air in the mixture, I’m just trying to banish any lumpiness – as the cream heats and the chocolate starts melting.
Off the heat, whisk in the cornflour and milk mixture until it, too, is smoothly incorporated, and put the pan back on a low heat. With a wooden spoon, keep stirring until the mixture thickens, which it will do around the 10-minute mark, but be prepared for it to take a few minutes more or less. Take the pan off the heat every so often, still stirring, so that everything melds together, without the cream coming to a boil. When ready, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, and if you run your finger through it (across the back of the spoon) the line should stay.
Pour into a wide measuring jug or batter jug (it should come to about the 600ml/1 pint mark). Now run a piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper under the cold tap, wring it out and place the damp, crumpled piece right on top of the chocolate mixture, then put the jug into the fridge for 15 minutes. The mixture will still be warm, but will be the right temperature to ooze into the base without melting it.
Pour and scrape the mixture into the biscuit-lined flan tin and put back in the fridge overnight. Don’t leave it longer than 24 hours, as the base will start to soften.
Take out of the fridge for 10 minutes before serving, but unmould straight away. Sit the flan tin on top of a large tin or jar and let the ring part fall away, then transfer the dramatically revealed tart to a plate or board. Leave the tin base on.
Slice modestly – this is rich and sweet, and people can always come back for more – and serve with crème fraîche; the sharpness is just right here. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4–5 days, but the base will soften and the sides crumble a bit. That will not detract from your eating pleasure too much, but I still like to give it its first outing at optimal stage!