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Prep 15min (+40min freezing and 15min cooling time)Bake 45minMakes 10-12 serves
This tart will satisfy any chocoholic tendencies! And if you're truly dedicated, it's also fabulous when made with 70% cocoa chocolate. Toasted walnuts are a great alternative to pecans.
cocoa powder or icing sugar, to dust
cream or vanilla ice-cream, to serve
1 quantity Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry, chilled as directed
75g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
100g (1 cup) pecans, toasted (see Baker's Tips), coarsely chopped
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the pastry on a lightly floured benchtop to about 3 mm thick. Carefully drape the pastry loosely around the rolling pin. Place it over an ungreased, round 23-cm (base measurement) tart tin with a removable base and unroll the pastry, being careful not to stretch it. Gently lift the edge of the pastry and ease it into the tart tin to line the base and sides and settle it into the corners. Use your fingertips to press it gently into the corners without stretching it. Then, working around the tin, press the pastry into the side using your thumb or finger. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim any overhanging pastry. Place the tins on a baking tray and place in the freezer for 40 minutes or until frozen.
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Bake the pastry case in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until just cooked.
- Meanwhile, to make the filling, place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Combine the egg, egg yolk, golden syrup and sugar in a medium bowl and, using a balloon whisk, whisk to combine. Stir in the chocolate mixture and then transfer to a jug.
- Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the warm pastry case and then pour the chocolate mixture over. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is slightly firm to the touch in the centre.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar and serve with cream or ice-cream.
- To toast the pecans, spread on a baking tray and cook in preheated oven at 180°C for 8-10 minutes or until golden and aromatic. Cool on tray.
- This tart will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Photography by Alan Benson.
Prep 1hr (+ 2hr cooling and pastry making time)Bake 45-50minMakes 12 small pies
Meat pies are the quintessential Aussie bakery favourite... But they are even better when homemade!
3 quantities Basic Shortcrust Pastry, each quantity shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling as directed
1 egg, lightly whisked
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
35g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1kg (2lb 3oz) trimmed chuck steak, cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces (see Baker's Tips)
60ml (2fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
250ml (9fl oz/1 cup) good-quality beef stock
500ml (17fl oz/2 cups) water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Season the flour with salt and pepper. Place in a large bowl with the diced steak and toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and cook half the diced steak, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until sealed. Remove from the pan, scraping any cooked-on bits from the base, and set aside. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and the remaining steak.
- Clean the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, celery and carrot and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute, stirring occasionally, or until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Return the steak to the pan with the stock, water and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low, cover with a piece of baking paper and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and then simmer for a further 1 hour, stirring frequently or until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, cover loosely and place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature (this will take about 2 hours).
- When ready to assemble the pies, preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C/350°C fan-forced). Unwrap one of the pastry discs and place on a lightly floured, cool bench top. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the pastry disc until about 3mm (1⁄8 in) thick. Use a 14cm (5½in) pastry cutter, saucer or upturned bowl as a guide to cut out 6 rounds, re-rolling any leftover pastry if necessary. Gently ease the pastry discs into the holes of an ungreased 12-hole 80ml (2¾fl oz/1⁄3 cup) muffin tray to line six holes. Use your fingertips to press it gently into the corners without stretching it – the pastry will reach above the top of the muffin pans and buckle slighlty. Repeat with another pastry disc to make 12 pastry cases in total. Divide the steak mixture between the pastry cases to fill (you may have a little mixture left over).
- Roll out the remaining pastry to about 3mm (1⁄8in) thick and use a 7cm (2¾in) round pastry cutter to cut out 12 lids. Use a small sharp knife to cut a small steam hole in the centre of each round (see Baker’s Tips). Place a lid over the mixture to cover each pie, brush each lid with the whisked egg and then fold the excess pastry from the bases over the top of the lids, crimping and pressing together to seal. Brush the top of each pie with some more of the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
- Bake the pies in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Stand the pies in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out and serving.
- You will need about 1.5kg untrimmed chuck steak for this recipe.
- You can also make the steam holes in the pastry lids by using a 1cm piping nozzle to cut a hole in the centre of each lid before placing it on top of the pies.
- These pies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in an oven preheated to 160°C/315°F (140°C/285°F fan-forced) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- To freeze, wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating (see above tip).
Prep 15min (+20min chilling time)Makes: Enough for a 23cm round tart case, a 24cm square tart case, ten 6cm individual tart cases, a 31cm x 10cm tart case or 24 tartlet cases (1 tablespoon capacity)
Shortcrust pastry, when you have a good recipe, is one of the simplest and quickest pastries to make. Here I have given lots of making ahead and freezing tips as well as three great variations to use in a selection of both sweet and savoury tarts and pies.
Ingredients225g (1½ cups) plain flour
Good pinch salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, diced
3-3½ tablespoons iced water
- Place the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the iced water over the flour and butter mixture. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until evenly combined and the mixture starts holding together. Press a little of the mixture between your fingers: if it holds together easily, there is no need to add more water. If it doesn’t, add the remaining ½ tbsp water and combine. The pastry should be soft but not sticky.
- Bring the pastry together with your hands and transfer to a lightly floured, cool benchtop. Lightly knead the pastry with your fingertips for about 30 seconds or until smooth and soft. Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
Baker's TipsMaking ahead
This pastry (and all the variations below) can be made up to 3 days before using. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry
Shape pastry into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then seal in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day). Stand at room temperature for 20-60 minutes (depending on the weather) until softened slightly, enough to roll easily.
Freezing uncooked pastry case/s
Place the pastry cases, still in the tin/s in the freezer until frozen. Either leave in tin/s or remove and seal in freezer bag/s or airtight container/s. Freeze for up to 1 month. Cook directly from the freezer or transfer to the fridge to thaw completely (this will take about 1 day) and blind bake or cook as directed in the recipe.
- Parmesan Shortcrust Pastry: Combine 40g (½ cup) finely grated Parmesan with the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Add 2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar or caster sugar to the flour and salt before rubbing in the butter.
- Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry: Reduce the flour to 200g (1⅓ cups). Sift with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons icing sugar and the salt before rubbing in the butter.
Photography by Alan Benson.