Chocolate fondant tartlet, cacao nib and hazelnut praline

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Shay Cooper's stunning chocolate fondant tartlet recipe has a surprise at its core – a delicious hazelnut praline paste that melts as it cooks. This recipe requires a lot of prep work, but each separate element can be made ahead. Then it's simply a case of assembling the tarts and baking for a mere five minutes – the perfect dessert for a dinner party.

First published in 2017




Chocolate sweet pastry

Cacao nib and hazelnut praline

Chocolate fondant

Nut crumble topping

  • 25g of cacao nibs, toasted
  • 25g of nibbed almonds, toasted
  • 25g of pistachio nuts, chopped (Shay uses Iranian pistachios)
  • 25g of pearl sugar

To serve

  • 4 tbsp of crème fraîche, Chantilly cream or mascarpone


  • 8cm fluted tart tins 4
  • 8cm cutter
  • Silicone baking mat
  • High-power blender
  • Piping bags
  • Sugar thermometer


To begin, make the sweet chocolate pastry. Cream together the butter and icing sugar, then add the eggs. Once incorporated, add the ground almonds and cocoa powder
Pass the flour through a sieve and add it to the mixture, along with the salt. Mix to combine, without over-working the dough. Shape into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 6 hours
After this time, remove the cling film and roll out to a 2mm thickness. Cut into 8cm discs and gently press the pastry rounds into the tart cases. Return to the fridge for 1 hour before using
Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
Cook the pastry cases for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool
To make the praline, roast the hazelnuts and cacao nibs in the oven until nicely toasted. Heat the sugar and water in a heavy-based pan until you have a golden caramel, then add the hazelnuts, cacao nibs and salt
Transfer the mixture to a silicone baking mat and allow to cool completely
Once cold, break into pieces and add to a high-power blender. Blitz until the mixture has the consistency of peanut butter. Transfer to a piping bag and chill in the fridge until ready to assemble the tarts
To make the chocolate fondant tart filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the surface of the water. Stir until it melts and reaches a temperature of 45°C. Stir in the butter and keep at 40°C
Add the eggs and sugar to a bowl and whisk until foamy. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl
Stir the chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs until smooth, then incorporate the flour and cocoa mixture
To assemble the tarts, half-fill the cases with the fondant mixture, then pipe rounds of the praline into the centre of each tart. Cover the praline with the remaining fondant mixture so that it comes just a little way from the top of the tart cases. Chill in the fridge until ready to bake
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
To make the crumble topping, simply mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl
Bake the fondant tarts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer to serving plates and sprinkle some of the crumble on top. Add a quenelle of crème fraîche and serve
  • 4 tbsp of crème fraîche, Chantilly cream or mascarpone

One of England’s up-and-coming, ultra-talented chefs with Michelin pedigree, Shay Cooper started cooking as a commis chef in 1997, before he was even out of school.

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