Another amazing dessert entries in the Godiva Chocolate Challenge competition. Danny's dessert is an adventurous take on a chocolate tartlet that ‘dares to be different’ by adding some bacon to the mix. Yes, bacon and pork scratchings too!
Whenever I think of chocolate, for some reason I always hark back to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
. Not the book but the film. And not the film with Johnny Depp and his eerie rictus grin but the original slightly twisted and dark version born out of the Seventies, starring Gene Wilder and that boy who never amounted to anything else. It’s the start of the movie that made the biggest impression on me, where the opening credits show hundreds of chocolate bars rattling through a production line.
Cocoa beans get scattered down pipes; chocolate buttons and shapes cascade over steel trays; vats of molten sweet lava bubble and steam in the background; and biscuits and wafers trundle along conveyor belts and get smothered in glorious liquid brown chocolate. The impact that sequence made on me when I was a kid was something else I can tell you. Even the electric shock I got from dust and static after licking the television screen didn’t put me off. Making chocolate and working with it looked like this wonderful, gorgeous, magical thing. Although as a child, I would probably argue that eating chocolate was even better.
Having played around with a lot of chocolate in the kitchen lately, I would still argue that eating the stuff was better than cooking with it because trying to coming up with a humdinger of a dish for the Godiva Chocolate Challenge
has been slightly fraught. Chocolate, though glorious, can be unforgiving sometimes and when tempering chocolate, there is a clue in the name of this particular technique as to what can happen. As such, on a couple of occasions, bowls of grainy, crystallised gloop have been plonked down in front of happy children whilst Dad goes off and shouts at himself at the bottom of the garden.
But I think I got there with this adventurous take on a chocolate tartlet that ‘dares to be different’ by adding some bacon to the mix. Yes, bacon.
Actually, pairing cured rashers of pig with chocolate isn’t too much of a stretch of the imagination these days what with the advent of bacon jam and I hear that you can find bars of luxury chocolate flavoured with streaky on some shop shelves. However, in my self-absorbed opinion, what sets this dessert apart is the addition of a pork scratching snap. Admittedly, this is an idea half-inched from fellow food blogger Zoe Perrett
who shoved a slab of chocolate-coated crackling under my nose at a supper club recently. But I reckon my shard of caramel, delicately flavoured with desiccated pork fat, is slightly more refined.
In fact, the addition of bacon doesn’t overpower this dish at all. There is still that decadent hit of bitter cacao, delivering those flavonoids which contract the pupils in your eyeballs. But with the addition of salty sweet bacon nuggets into the mix, I do sincerely believe that this dish goes into warp overdrive.
Could this be a dessert straight off the Willy Wonka production line? I like to think so.
Candied bacon and chocolate tartlet with pork scratching snap, crème fraiche and caramel sauce
For the sweet pastry
100 gms of butter, cubed and cold
50 gms icing sugar
175 gms plain flour
For the filling
225 mls double cream
1 tbs caster sugar
150 gms Godiva dark chocolate pellets
125 gms streaky bacon, finely chopped
2 tbs of golden syrup
For the pork scratching snap (this makes loads by the way)
200 gms caster sugar
25 gms butter
50 gms pork scratching, chopped finely
For the caramel sauce
100 gms double cream
50 gms soft light brown sugar
50 gms butter
Crème fraiche, to serve
First make your sweet pastry (or pâte sucrée) by blending the butter, icing sugar, plain flour and eggs in a food processor and mix until everything comes together into a ball of dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Then preheat your oven to 160C and butter four individual tart tins, 10cm across.
Roll out your pastry to a thickness of about 5mm and line your tart tins. If your pastry sticks, a good tip is to roll it out between two sheets of cling film (tip from @tomsdinner
on Twitter). Prick the pastry and place the tins in the freezer for 15 minutes, then blind bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Leave to cool.
Next make your candied bacon by frying the streaky pieces in a pan until they are cooked through and slightly crispy. Place in a bowl and stir through the golden syrup. To refine further, place in a food blender or processor and pulse very briefly to make smaller nuggets.
To make the chocolate filling, put the cream and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and mix until the chocolate has melted. Add roughly two-thirds of the bacon nuggets (keeping some back for presentation) and mix further and then pour the sauce into the cooked pastry cases. Leave to set at room temperature for an hour or so.
To make the pork scratching snap, place the sugar in a saucepan and gently heat until it melts and forms a caramel. Jiggle the saucepan slightly to help it on its way and do keep an eye on the caramel, as in my experience it can burn very quickly. Add the butter and the chopped pork scratchings and mix together. Then pour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, spreading and thinning with a pallet knife and leave to cool and set. Once set, cut or smash with the back of a knife to create shards.
Finally, make the caramel sauce by heating the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, take off the heat and then mix through the cream.
To serve, drizzle the caramel sauce over your plate of choice, place the chocolate tart on top, add a quenelle of crème fraiche and a shard of the pork scratching snap and then dot a small spoonful of the remaining candied bacon onto the crème fraiche.