Bliss in a nutshell

I’m genuinely struggling to find the words to introduce this dessert.

I’ve decided I might print out a picture of it and wear in it a locket around my neck from now on.

This pistachio frangipane and chocolate fondant tart is a must-try. It’s as simple as that.

To speed things up, I’ve simply picked a song that summarises my feelings towards it. Please see below.

[Jennifer Paige – Crush, Hollywood Records/BMI, 1998]

Shopping list (serves 6 comfortably)
Pastry base:
Plain flour x 200g
Butter (frozen) x 115g
Caster sugar x 50g
Pinch of salt
Egg (chilled and beaten) x 1
Egg yolk (beaten) x 1

Pistachio frangipane:
Pistachios x 100g
Ground almonds x 50g
Unsalted butter x 75g
Caster sugar x 75g
Plain flour x 15g
Eggs x 2

Chocolate fondant topping:
Dark chocolate (70% cocoa) x 50g
Unsalted butter x 50g
Egg x 1
Cocoa powder x 10g
Baking powder x 1 tsp

Start by soaking the 70g of pistachio kernels in boiled water overnight. Blitz with a tablespoon of the water to make a thick paste and then set aside for later.

Grease a 23cm tart case generously with butter or rapeseed oil.

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and salt. Grate in the frozen butter, and use your fingertips to mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the chilled egg and incorporate into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least one hour in the fridge.

Flour your rolling pin and work surface liberally. Roll out the chilled dough, using small splashes of cold water to make it more malleable if necessary. Once it’s large enough to go into your case, with a little to hang over the sides, you are done.

Take your rolling pin to the edge of your dough, and carefully fold the edge onto the rolling pin, rolling it slightly towards you. You should now be able to lift the dough sheet off your surface, half hanging off your rolling pin.

Place on top of the tart case and carefully unroll your pin, lowering the dough evenly into place. Use your fingers to press the dough into the sides of the case, and prick the base with a fork a few times.

Place into the freezer for one hour.

Turn your oven to 220°C (fan)/240°C, and use baking beads and greaseproof paper to blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp to 180°C (fan)/200°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and egg wash the base and sides of the pastry with the egg yolk. Place bake in the oven for just five more minutes before removing.

At this point you can set about making the frangipane filling. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs and continue to whisk.

Add the pistachio paste and almonds and mix until completely incorporated.

Set your oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C. Pour the pistachio frangipane mixture into the pastry case, using a palette knife to spread it out evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes and then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Now time for the fondant topping.

Set your oven to 200°C (fan)/220°C

Melt the chocolate slowly in a Pyrex dish over a pan of simmering water. Add the butter and stir until completely incorporated and silky. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until foamy. Pour in the chocolate mixture along with the cocoa and baking powder.

Once fully mixed, pour this on top of the frangipane filling and smooth over once again with your palette knife.

Bake for just seven minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before grating a few more pistachio kernels over the top.

Serve warm and gooey, with ice cream if you like.



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