Throwback Thursday: Rich chocolate tart

Throwback Thursday: Rich chocolate tart
Tony Jackman’s rich chocolate tart. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A great chocolate tart is one of the most glorious things anyone can turn out in the kitchen, whether at fine restaurant level or a home cook having the guts to make one for a dinner party finalé.

One Sunday morning in Chichester, West Sussex, two decades ago, I turned a page of The Times to find a recipe by Marco Pierre White for a chocolate tart. I’d never made a chocolate tart before then.

But one part of the recipe in particular grabbed my attention. Once all was ready and done — the pastry made, the pastry case blind baked, the filling added — you were told to put it in a preheated oven, shut the oven door, turn the oven OFF, and leave it alone in the turned-off oven for 45 minutes.

So I did. Three-quarters of an hour later I opened the oven door and there it was: a perfect, beautiful chocolate tart.

Lo, behold and blow me down with a feather.

White has been one of my heroes ever since.

That recipe also contained glycerine, which I had to go and buy at Sainsbury’s. The recipe below has no glycerine in it, nor is it that recipe that I found in The Times 20 years ago. And, though I was tempted to try that turned-off oven trick, I chose to bake it instead in the usual way.

White, and other celebrity chefs, almost invariably use only expensive dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate for their tarts. This is one of those kitchen sacred cows that I think needs to be challenged.

Think about it: there’s more to chocolate than that bitter bite that has its charms but can be overwhelmingly, well, bitter. I prefer a balanced result of that dark chocolate bitterness with the delicious sweetness we want from chocolate. And the creaminess.

So, instead of the 500 g of 70% cocoa solids chocolate that people like White prefer, I mixed it up.

For this tart, I use 100 g of 70% Lindt, 300 g of Cadbury’s Bournville, and 100 g of ordinary old Dairy Milk. It’s sweet but it’s bitter, and it’s everything you want in a chocolate delight.

I find that this combination of chocolate styles gives you everything you want in lovely chocolate flavour. And by using only one slab of Lindt, and paying much less for the rest of the chocolate, you’ve slashed the costs considerably.


For the chocolate filling:

100 g Lindt 70% chocolate

2 x 150 g slabs of Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate

100 g Dairy Milk chocolate

30 g extra Dairy Milk chocolate for chocolate curls

3 large eggs

150 ml full cream milk

250 ml fresh cream

For the sweet pastry:

175 g unsalted butter

80 g icing sugar

Icing sugar for dusting

2 egg yolks

25 ml cold water

250 g plain flour


Cream the butter and icing sugar together with a whisk. 

Beat in the egg yolks.

Add a little of the 25 ml cold water and the flour. 

Add the remaining water and mix for two minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 60 minutes.

Dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out the pastry.

Line a 20 cm tart dish with the pastry. 

Chill for an hour without trimming the edges.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and blind-bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin, and only then should you trim the edges of the pastry.

Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a suitable heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. 

Melt it slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. 

Add the milk and cream to a saucepan and bring to a slow bubble.

Pour this into the eggs while whisking vigorously.

Pour it into the molten chocolate through a fine sieve while stirring.

Trim the edges of the cooled tart base if necessary.

Pour the chocolate filling into the tart base.

Put it in the 180°C oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave it inside while the oven cools, with the door ajar.

Remove from the oven and leave it to cool on a rack.

I prefer chilling it before serving, so just pop it in the fridge, covered with cling film, until needed.

Dust with icing sugar, shave some chocolate curls on top, slice and serve. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Siobhan Hanvey says:

    hi Tony

    Does it make a difference what kind of cream you use? I have tried one of your recipes in the past – the Clafoutis which was excellent so I’m keen to give this a blast.

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