A few months ago I read a restaurant review by Gourmet Chick and one of the desserts she mentioned was a chocolate mousse with a popcorn garnish. I was intrigued by this because I'd never considered putting chocolate and popcorn together. Ever since, I've had this combination floating around in the back of my mind.
I knew that I wanted to get popcorn flavour into the chocolate rather than just as a garnish but I wasn't sure how I would do it. I'm not really sure how I came up with it but the thought came to me that I could make a ganache and flavour the cream with popcorn before mixing with the chocolate, Eureka!
So this is my recipe (with a little help from Michel Roux for the pastry!) for a popcorn infused chocolate tart with a salted popcorn garnish. (In the end I decided that this title was a bit of a mouthful so settled on Chocolate Popcorn Tart!)
Chocolate Popcorn Tart
For the Sweet Pastry
250g Plain Flour
100g Icing Sugar
For the filling:
300ml Double Cream
40g Popcorn (I used Butterkist Cinema Style Sweet Popcorn)
400g Dark Chocolate (70%)
Popcorn to garnish (Blitzed with a good pinch of salt and golden caster sugar)
1. Preheat oven to 190C, Place the double cream and popcorn in a pan and set aside to allow the cream to absorb the flavour. For the Pastry: Place the flour in a bowl; make a well in the centre.
2. Place the icing sugar, butter and eggs in the well.
3. Start to combine the icing sugar, butter and eggs with your fingertips until combined then slowly start to bring in the flour from the perimeter and work into the mixture until a dough is formed and all the flour is incorporated.
4. Knead lightly until the dough is smooth (3 or 4 kneads should do it).
5. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
6. Lightly dust your surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is around 2mm thick. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin with your pastry. (Grease the tin if not non-stick). Trim excess and save for another day! Prick the base with a fork.
7. Place the flan tin in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill before blind-baking. This makes it less likely to shrink, but mine still shrunk a bit!
8. Place some greaseproof paper on your pastry base and fill with baking beans. Place on a preheated baking tray and blind bake for 20 minutes.
9. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to colour the base.
10. Remove from the oven; take the pastry shell out of the flan tin and cool on a rack whilst you prepare the filling.
|Always a terrifying experience! (Note the uneven shell, tut!)|
11. For the filling: Place the pan with the cream and popcorn on the hob over a medium heat and bring to just below boiling point.
12. Strain the cream through a sieve into another pan; pressing the popcorn with the back of a spoon to release as much flavour and cream as possible.
13. Return to the heat and again bring to almost boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted.
14. Pour your filling into the pastry shell; allow to cool before placing in the fridge to set. (30 mins -1hr)
15. For the Garnish: Whizz a couple of handfuls of popcorn in a mixer then add a good pinch of salt and sugar and stir through.
16. Once the tart has set, place under a preheated grill for around 30 seconds to get a nice glaze on the surface so the popcorn will stick.
|Not a perfectly smooth ganache, I think the popcorn in the cream had something to do with that!|
17. Sprinkle over popcorn and slice with a hot knife. Enjoy!
I was really pleased with the result of my experiment but it does need refining. The depth of the chocolate flavour from the 70% chocolate was a bit too much for the popcorn flavour in the cream; there was only the slightest hint of the popcorn running through the ganache. This was a shame because when I tasted the cream before adding the chocolate it was deliciously popcorny! I think it would work better with a combination of milk and dark chocolate to give the popcorn a fighting chance!
The popcorn garnish worked nicely as a crunchy note to add to the bite of the pastry. I was a bit conservative with the salt in the popcorn; it could have done with a bit more to season that deep chocolate. The extra sugar in the garnish was needed to lighten the richness of the ganache.
A small slice of this is enough as it is so rich but it goes down beautifully with a strong coffee! Have a go at this one; make a few improvements to it and then tell me how to do it better! Cheers,