Soured Cream and Dark Chocolate Tart with Candied Lime

I have a similar recipe including chilli, which I and others love, but my regular tasters prefer the tart without it. I used only soured cream here (no double cream), so this version whilst having more sugar is also pleasingly tangy – and still is gluten-free.

The candied lime slices are easy to make, and produce a stylish decoration.

Serves: 12 – 24 (see Alternative Kit footnote)

For the pastry:

  • 200g gluten-free plain flour, plus additional for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 unwaxed lime, finely grated zest only – save the juice for the filling
  • 90g cold unsalted butter, cubed; plus additional to grease tin
  • 1 large egg, beaten (62-70g when weighed in its shell)

For the filling:

  • 1 lime, juice only (see Pastry Ingredients)
  • 300ml soured cream
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 170g golden granulated or golden caster sugar (white will suffice)
  • 400g dark baking chocolate (50-70% cocoa solids), broken into chunks
  • 2 large eggs, beaten (125-135g in total when weighed in their shells)
  • Icing sugar, to garnish (optional)

For the candied lime slices:

  • 2 unwaxed limes
  • 150g white granulated or caster sugar, plus additional for dusting as required
  • 350ml water


  • 1 large mixing bowl + 2 small bowls (for beaten eggs and used baking beans)
  • A fine grater and citrus juicer
  • Clingfilm
  • A round, loose-based pie, tart or flan tin, 24-25cm in diameter and at least 3cm deep
    (see Alternative Kit footnote for individual-sized portions)
  • Greaseproof / parchment paper
  • A rolling pin
  • Baking beans or beads for blind-baking
  • A pastry brush
  • 1 heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • A chopping board and very sharp knife
  • 1 large / deep frying pan
  • Tongs
  • A manual whisk
  • A cooling rack
  • An icing sugar duster (optional)

Making the pastry (see Pastry footnote):

  1. Stir the flour, cinnamon, sugar, almonds, and lime zest in a large bowl with a fork. Add the cold butter and rub in with your fingers until you have a consistency like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add no more than 1/4 of the beaten egg, and mix with your fingers just until fully 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 30 minutes, or overnight (see Overnight Prep footnote).
  3. Preheat oven to 190 C (170 C fan-assisted). Grease your tin and line generously with paper.
  4. 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 at least 3cm up the sides. If you’re using a fluted tin, ensure the pastry is pushed into each nook and cranny through the lining paper. Lightly prick it all over with a fork.
  5. Cover the pastry with more 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 bowl to cool, and discard the covering paper. Return the tin to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until the pastry’s browned.
  6. Remove the tin from the oven, and brush the pastry all over with the remainder of the pastry egg to seal it for the filling.

Making the filling:

  1. Turn the oven down to 150 C (130 C fan-assisted).
  2. Heat the lime juice, soured cream, milk, coffee, spices, and sugar in a pot on the hob until it’s almost reached the boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate pieces, and whisk manually until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the 2 beaten eggs a bit at a time, whisking vigourously all the while to avoid scrambling.
  3. Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for around 30 minutes, until set – i.e. the centre has only a small wobble when you wiggle the tin. Remove the tin from the oven and place on a cooling rack; leave to cool while you make the candied lime, or about 1 hour.

Making the candied lime slices, and serving:

  1. Quarter each lime lenthways, then slice each section thinly (about 1/4″ wide).
  2. Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a large frying pan, and add the lime slices. Let them boil around 10 minutes, flipping them over with tongs once or twice.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and leave until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup (approx. 30 minutes), flipping occasionally.
  4. Remove the lime slices to some greaseproof paper, pour/drizzle the remaining syrup over each, and allow to cool. If they’re a bit too sharp for your liking, sprinkle a pinch of caster sugar over each.
  5. Turn out the tart from the tin and remove the lining paper when fully cooled, then place the lime slices. You can also dust with icing sugar if you like.
  6. It’s best to use a hot knife to slice this – run the knife under very hot water, then dry with a towel.

Pastry Notes
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.

Overnight Preparation
To save time on the day of baking, you can make the pastry the night before (Steps 1 & 2) and leave in the fridge to chill. Let it come up to room temperature before rolling.

If doing this, you can make the candied lime slices too, and leave them overnight on the counter.

Alternative Kit
You could use these same ingredients to make 24 individually-sized tartlettes.
1. You’ll need two nonstick 12-hole Yorkshire pudding tins (or other shallow muffin/bun tins), generously greased. Use a 3″ (7.5cm) diameter cutter on the pastry to get 24 discs, and press into each tin hole.

2. Prick each pastry case all over with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes (turn the trays halfway through for even baking).

3. Remove each pastry case from the tins to a cooling rack, and brush with beaten egg as per Pastry Step 6 to seal them. Put the pastry cases onto 2 baking sheets.

4. After the filling is heated on the hob, spoon it into each case, and bake for around 15 minutes.
5. If doing this, you only need 1/2 the filling (about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons per pastry case).

Save the rest to marble in when you next make home-made ice cream; or, just make 1/2 the filling amount.
6. A simple dusting of icing sugar works better with smaller tartlettes like these, rather than the candied lime slices.


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