The importance of chocolate


It is a cold February morning as I write this column. The sun is coming out now, but it looks like we may have a cold week ahead. Next weekend is Valentine's, and many hearts can be melted with these lovely chocolate recipes that I have decided to share with you.

Chocolate tart

This is a lovely recipe and very simple to make. I should say that the better the chocolate you use, the better the outcome, but this works with any kind of chocolate.


For the pastry

6 oz butter

2 ½ oz icing sugar

2 egg yolks

8 oz plain flour

For the filling

3 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

1 ½ oz caster sugar

5 oz butter

7 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces


To make the pastry, you put the butter, egg yolks, and icing sugar into a food processor and mix together. Add the flour and make a smooth pastry. I like to let it chill in the fridge for an hour before I use it. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and lightly grease an 8-inch tart tin with butter. Roll out the pastry thinly and cook it in the tin blind in the oven for about 25 minutes until it is cooked through and a light brown colour.

Mix the eggs and the egg yolks and sugar together with an electric whisk until it becomes really thick. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Pour this on to the egg mixture while still warm and mix together.

Turn up the heat of the oven to 190ºC, pour the mix onto the pastry and cook in the oven for about five minutes. Remove the tart and let it cool, then serve the chocolate tart with some whipped cream. Simple as that, if you have never had chocolate tart before you just do not know what you are missing, as it is absolutely delicious, so give it a go.

Chocolate profiteroles

Everyone is familiar with chocolate profiteroles as they are on every restaurant menu, but they are so easy to make at home, and you can make them any size that you want.


You use a basic choux pastry and fill them with cream, then top with chocolate sauce.

For the choux pastry

200ml cold water

½ tsp caster sugar

3oz unsalted butter

A pinch salt

4oz plain flour

4 eggs, beaten

For the cream filling

1pint double cream

1 tbsp icing sugar

For the chocolate sauce

½oz butter

4tbsp water

6oz good quality plain chocolate, broken into pieces


Preheat the oven to 200ºC. To make the pastry, place the butter, water and sugar into a large saucepan. Place over a low heat to melt the butter. Increase the heat and add the flour and salt.

Remove from the heat and quickly beat the mixture vigorously until a smooth paste is formed, stirring continuously to dry out the paste. Once the paste curls away from the side of the pan, transfer the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, stirring vigorously until the paste is smooth and glossy. Continue adding the egg until you have a soft dropping consistency. It may not be necessary to add all the egg.

Lightly oil a large baking tray. Dip a teaspoon into some warm water and spoon out a teaspoon of the profiterole mixture. Rub the top of the mixture with a wet finger and spoon on to the baking tray. This ensures a crisper topping.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, if too pale they will become soggy when cool. Remove from the oven and prick the base of each profiterole. Place on to the baking tray with the holes facing upwards and return to the oven for five minutes. The warm air from the oven helps to dry the middle of the profiteroles.

To make the filling, lightly whip the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. When the profiteroles are cold, using a piping bag with a plain nozzle, pipe the cream into the holes of the profiteroles, or just cut the profiteroles in half and spoon in the cream with a teaspoon. To make the chocolate sauce, just melt the chocolate with the water and butter over a pan of boiling water. Stir without boiling until smooth and shiny.

Arrange the buns on a serving dish and pour over the sauce. There you are, your own homemade profiteroles, believe me when I say, they are so much more tastier when you have made them yourself.


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