Dark chocolate and hazelnut tart with raspberry, pink peppercorn and crushed meringue ice cream

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Elly McCausland presents her entry to this year's Godiva Chocolate Challenge - a sumptuous dark chocolate ganache tart, set in a beautiful hazelnut pastry. Nestling inside the meringue and raspberry ice cream is a hint of pink peppercorn for a spicy surprise.

First published in 2015

My entry for the Godiva Chocolate Challenge emphasizes the luscious simplicity of molten dark chocolate. Blended with thick double cream and a pinch of vanilla salt, a dark chocolate ganache sets to quivering silkiness in the heat of the oven, surrounded by a short, buttery hazelnut pastry that evokes the taste and aroma of crunchy praline and reflects the origins of Godiva as a producer of exquisite pralines in Belgium, nearly 100 years ago. The combination is given depth and freshness by a scattering of freeze-dried raspberries, little pink shards that glisten like jewels on top of the dark ganache. It’s velvet-smooth, luxuriously rich and not too sweet, emphasizing the complex interplay of flavours found in dark chocolate. For me, this recipe is all about simplicity and emphasizing the purity and complexity of high-quality chocolate: this tart highlights that simplicity, allowing nothing to complicate the aromas of the dark chocolate other than cream, eggs, sugar, and a little vanilla salt to lift the flavours.

The sweetness comes from the accompanying ice cream, featuring two essential components: meringue, to celebrate the launch of Godiva’s new Mousse Meringue collection; and a touch of pink, to reflect the fact that 10% of its sales will go to Breast Cancer Now. The ice cream base is simple cream with a generous infusion of fresh vanilla, churned until thick and then rippled with crisp crumbled meringue and a tangy raspberry coulis. For an extra touch of pink, I’ve enhanced the coulis with a smattering of crushed pink peppercorns, dried berries with an incredible spicy, citrus flavour. They emphasise the natural sharpness of the raspberries and cut through the sweetness of the custard and meringue. Pink peppercorns also work wonderfully with dark chocolate, emphasizing its layers of spicy, floral aromas. The ice cream pairs perfectly with the bitter chocolate and the nutty pastry, cutting through the richness of the ganache. It’s delicious on its own, but provides a beautiful contrast with the tart, both in terms of taste and aesthetics: I love the summery pink and white rippled colours, reminiscent of that retro classic Arctic Roll, but made infinitely more grown up and luxurious by being paired with a very sophisticated, dark and delicious chocolate tart.




Hazelnut pastry

Dark chocolate filling

Meringue ice cream

  • 250ml of whole milk
  • 300ml of double cream, or Jersey cream
  • 140g of caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 100g of meringue nests, homemade of shop-bought

Raspberry coulis


Start by making the ice cream. Place the milk, half of the cream (keep the rest chilled in the fridge), the sugar and the salt in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pan, and throw the pod in too. Heat until just below boiling point, then leave to infuse for 1 hour
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl or jug and whisk well. Pour the cream mixture from the pan into the bowl, whisking constantly. Pour everything back into the saucepan and put back on the heat
Heat gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a loose custard consistency – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir constantly and keep the heat low, or you risk getting a pan full of scrambled egg! It will take a while, but be patient
When the mixture has thickened, strain through a sieve into a large jug (you can wash the vanilla pod, dry it and add to a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar), add the rest of the cream, whisk well and leave to cool to room temperature (to speed this up, put the jug in a bowl of ice-cold water and ice cubes). Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours
To make the raspberry coulis, put the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and peppercorns in a small bowl, stir well and leave for 1 hour to macerate
After this time, push the mixture through a sieve into a bowl using the back of a spoon, until you’re left with a sieve full of seeds and a bowl full of raspberry coulis. Chill in the fridge until needed (discard the seeds in the sieve)
When ready to churn the ice cream, have your meringue, coulis and cream mixture ready, as well as a 1l ice cream tub. Break the meringue into chunks and scatter about a quarter of the pieces over the bottom of the tub. Drizzle with a quarter of the coulis
Churn the ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine until set, then spoon a third of it over the meringue and coulis. Add another layer of meringue and coulis on top of the ice cream, place more ice cream over the top, and continue layering until you’ve used up all of the ingredients – work quickly so that the ice cream doesn’t become too soft
Put the lid on and freeze for at least 4 hours before eating to firm up. Remove from the freezer around 10–15 minutes before you want to serve the ice cream, to make it easier to scoop
To make the pastry for the tart, sift the flour and icing sugar into a food processor and add the hazelnuts and salt. Blitz the hazelnuts with the flour to fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs – don’t overmix
Add the egg yolk and pulse again, then add the water 1 tsp at a time until the dough just comes together when pressed with your fingers. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to a thickness of around 0.5 cm. Use to line a loose-bottomed tart tin, pressing the pastry into the corners using a small ball of excess pastry
Trim the pastry case to 1cm above the edge of the tin (to allow for shrinkage during baking). Chill the case in the fridge for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, return the case to the oven and reduce the heat to 150°C/gas mark 2. Bake for a further 10 minutes
Remove and trim the top of the pastry case in line with the tart tin, discarding the excess. Turn the oven back to 160°C/gas mark 3
Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Stir in the chocolate and leave to melt, then stir to combine
In a large jug, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Gradually add the molten chocolate mixture, whisking constantly
Pour this mixture into the baked pastry case and put it into the oven (it helps to put it on an oven rack and lift the whole rack back into the oven, to keep it stable)
Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the filling has only a slight wobble (it shouldn’t be completely firm, but it shouldn’t still look like liquid in the centre either). Scatter over the freeze-dried raspberry pieces and leave to cool on a wire rack before removing from the tin
To serve, dust the tart with a little icing sugar around the edges. Cut into slices using a heated knife (either use a blowtorch or dip in boiling water and dry quickly with a tea towel). Put a slice on each plate, garnish with a few raspberries and scoop a ball of the raspberry ice cream and place it alongside the tart

Elly McCausland is a food writer based in Yorkshire. She is a keen gardener and loves cooking with home-grown produce.

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