It’s a good marriage, but not used enough in home baking – pairing dark chocolate with hot chilli. This is a good (and gluten-free) introduction recipe, because the chilli is an infusion: not adding a kick, just a subtle taste sensation, balanced with coffee and lime.
For a chilli-free version, try my other recipe with candied lime slices.
Serves: 8 – 16
For the pastry:
- 200g gluten-free plain flour, plus additional for rolling
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g icing sugar
- 25g ground almonds
- 90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg, beaten (62-69g when weighed in the shell)
- Vegetable oil or cold butter, to grease tin
For the filling:
- 1 unwaxed lime: juice for filling, and largely grated zest for garnish
- 250ml double cream (250g if weighing)
- 100ml soured cream (95g if weighing)
- 150ml whole milk (155g if weighing)
- A 2 to 2 & 1/2″ piece of a red chilli, sliced in half lengthways and de-seeded
- 2 tsp instant coffee granules
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or mace
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 75g golden sugar (granulated or caster; white can substitute)
- 400g dark baking chocolate (anything over 50% cocoa solids), broken into squares
- 2 large eggs, beaten (62-69g each when weighed in the shell)
- Flaked almonds, to garnish
- Icing sugar, to garnish
- A sieve
- 1 large mixing bowl, plus 2 small bowls for beaten eggs and used baking beans
- A round, loose-based pie, tart or flan tin, 24-25cm in diameter and at least 3cm in height
- Baking/parchment paper
- A rolling pin
- Baking beans or beads for blind-baking
- A pastry brush
- A citrus grater, and citrus juicer
- An oven-safe plate
- 1 heavy-bottomed saucepan
- A slotted spoon
- A manual whisk
- A cooling rack
Making the pastry (see Pastry footnote):
- Sift the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and almonds into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until you have a consistency like breadcrumbs.
- Add 1/4 of the beaten egg, and mix wth your hands just until combined. Pull it together into a ball – if it seems too terribly crumbly, add a drop or two more of the egg just until the ball holds together. Flatten it into a thick disc and wrap in clingfilm. Put into the fridge for at least an hour.
- Largely zest the lime (from Filling ingredients) and leave on an oven-safe plate on the countertop.
- To save prep time, now do Filling Step 2 as it also needs 1 hour for the ingredients to infuse.
- Preheat oven to 190 C (170 C fan-assisted). Grease your tin and line with paper.
- Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll out the chilled dough approximately the thickness of a pound coin, to fit the tin so the pastry goes 3cm up the sides. If you’re using a fluted tin, ensure the pastry is pushed into each nook and cranny through the paper. Lightly prick it all over with a fork.
- Cover the pastry case with baking paper, and pour in baking beads/beans. Blind-bake for around 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Tip out the beads/beans into a small bowl, and remove the cover paper. Return the tin to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until the pastry’s browned but not burning.
- Remove the tin from the oven, and brush the pastry all over with the remaining beaten egg to seal it for the filling.
Making the filling:
- When the pastry has baked, turn the oven down to 150 C (130 C fan-assisted). Put the lime zest in – door ajar – to dry out.
- Whisk the lime juice, double cream, soured cream, milk, chilli, coffee, spices, and sugar in a pot on the hob until it’s reached the boil, and the coffee and sugar are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and infuse for about an hour. (But you did this already, while the pastry was chilling.)
- When the pastry has blind-baked and you’ve brushed it with beaten egg, heat the filling mixture again until it reaches the boil, and fish out the chilli pieces with a slotted spoon. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate pieces, and whisk manually until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time, whisking vigourously all the while to avoid scrambling.
- Remove the lime zest plate and close the oven door.
- Pour the filling into the pastry case, and drop from an inch height or so – carefully! – to remove any bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the tin halfway through for even baking, until set – i.e. the centre has only the slightest wobble when you wiggle the tin. Remove the tin from the oven and place on a cooling rack; leave to cool for at least an hour.
- Turn out the fully-cooled tart and transfer to a serving plate/platter. Sprinkle over some flaked almonds and the dried lime zest to garnish, then dust with icing sugar for serving.
- You need a hot knife to slice this properly – pour very hot water over, then wipe dry.
You don’t want the dough to be too damp, even though wetter pastry is easier to handle – it can be really tough in the baked tart, and it can also shrink out of shape when baked. Err on the side of just a teeny bit too crumbly – you’ll work it together when you roll it out, and you can always patch up in the tin.
It takes MUCH less egg than you think it will – so start with only 1/4 of a large beaten egg.
I started with the Great British Chefs recipe, but made it gluten-free, played with the cream ratios & toppings, and used fresh chilli instead of dried flakes (you could use 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, but pour the re-heated filling through a fine sieve to ensure the chilli flakes are removed before baking). I added coffee – which enhances chocolate flavours – and my inevitable spices, and put lime in the tart filling as well as using it as a garnish. I also (unlike me! ) added sugar, because the original recipe was a tad on the bitter side, even for me.