As chocolate plays an intricate part of romance and being wooed in general I thought that this was the perfect dessert for a romantic meal for two. Last year I posted this recipe and a vegetarian meal of Butternut Squash and Feta Filo Parcels as the main course. I thought that I should spruce up the photography for this decilate and fingerlicking of dessert in order to it justice. I think that no romantic meal is complete without chocolate and this is my pièce de résistance for any meal..... a dark chocolate and vanilla pie served with soft whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar....perfect!
For the pastry case:
250g Plain flour
125g Chilled butter, diced
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp Cold water
370g Ready rolled shortcrust pastry
For the filling:
200g Dark chocolate ( minimum of 55% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp Coffee granules (optional)
175g Brown sugar
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
Note: This makes 420g of pastry, if you have some left over it can be stored in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. When the pastry is chilled sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface and roll out the dough into a 30cm circle. Lightly grease a 25cm or a 26cm loose bottomed flan tin and line with the homemade or shop bought pastry, leave a 2cm of pastry to overhang and trim away the rest. For that extra special touch, use the handle of a wooden spoon to press the pastry into the fluted edge of the flan tin, this gives a more professional look to the finished pie.
Blind bake the pastry case, fill the pastry case with baking paper and tip in either ceramic baking beans or uncooked rice, push the beans right to the edge of the pastry case and bake for 10 minutes in your preheated oven. Remove the baking beans and baking paper, from the pastry case and continue to bake at 190ºC/ 375ºF/Gas Mark 5 for a further 5 minutes.
For the filling:
Meanwhile, break up the dark chocolate and place it into a heavy saucepan with the butter and coffee granules (optional). Heat gently stirring occasionally until the chocolate and butter has melted and become smooth.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly (important otherwise the eggs will scramble). Add the cream, sugar and finally the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
When I am pouring the filling into the pastry case I prefer to place the flan tin onto the oven shelf first, then pour the filling into the pastry case, this prevents the filling from spilling over the sides of the flan tin while moving it from the kitchen counter to the oven (it's been known to happen!!) Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set.
Note: In the picture above I trimmed the excess pastry away before pouring in the delicious filling and it spilled over the edges while I carried it to the oven, so I suggest that you trim after the pie has been baked :)
Trim away the crust if necessary and allow to cool completely.
The filling will have risen while baking which will begin to settle and crack as it cools, this is normal.