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Beatrix Bakes · Chocolate Creme Brûlée Tart

Food

If there is one thing we can surely agree on in this crazy, messed up world, it must be the delicious-ness of creme brûlée. The sweet, smooth custard filling is universally agreeable, and that satisfying ‘crack’ of caramel could surely broker peace between the most bitter enemies.

Nat Paull from Beatrix in North Melbourne certainly thinks so. For her second offering in a month’s worth of decadent sweet treats, she brings us her outstanding chocolate creme brûlée tart.

13th March, 2018

Smoothing the chocolate custard over raspberries into the flakey pastry edible bowls. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Nat’s ‘last dessert’ meal – chocolate creme brûlée tart! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Have you EVER seen anything more delicious looking?! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

‘If I have the privilege of choosing and consuming a final chewable meal, may the last sweet to pass my mortal lips be crème brûlée – any flavour.’ Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Natalie Paull of Beatrix
Tuesday 13th March 2018

‘Not to be morbid, but if I have the privilege of choosing and consuming a final chewable meal, may the last sweet to pass my mortal lips be crème brûlée.’ – Nat Paull.

My career was sparked at the age of seven after baking a butter cake for my mother. I eschewed Dolly Magazine for food magazines, and worked for great Australian foodsmiths.

I started Little Bertha Bakery (wholesale) in 2005, which was sold in 2008 to make way for Beatrix. I named it Beatrix as an homage (albeit a little improper) to the old-fashioned suffix for female do-ers, like ‘aviatrix’ or ‘senatrix’. I am a female beater, thus Beatrix. And I love Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill character Beatrix Kiddo!

For this week’s Beatrix recipe, I’m excited to share one of my all-time favourites – chocolate creme brûlée tart.

Not to be morbid, but if I have the privilege of choosing and consuming a final chewable meal, may the last sweet to pass my mortal lips be crème brûlée – any flavour. No ‘last dessert’ would be complete without an edible bowl, and no edible bowl is as perfect to eat than our super flaky pastry.

If you can’t find a blowtorch, you can put a metal spoon into a gas flame and hold it close to the sugared top of the tart – it’s old school (and a bit dangerous) but it will do the job. Note that grams are equivalent to millilitres for all the liquid amounts. Weighing the liquid just gives you more accurate measuring.

Ingredients FOR THE FLAKY PASTRY

240g plain flour
Pinch fine sea salt
150g unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1cm cubes
70g iced water
20g egg yolk (1 egg yolk)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

INGREDIENTS FOR THE Brûlée CUSTARD

160g egg yolks (from around 8 eggs)
40g caster sugar
800g pure cream (best one is Bulla with its 45% milkfat)
1/2 vanilla bean (scraped out) or 10g of vanilla paste
100g deep dark chocolate – yep, use a 70% dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Pinch of good sea salt

Method

FOR THE BRULEE CUSTARD

Bring a pot of water to a simmer on the stove. It should have two inches of water in the bottom and the diameter of the pot should be the tiniest bit wider than the bowl. This is called a bain-marie.

Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, cream and vanilla together in a bowl.

Place the bowl on the bain-marie and whisk, increasing the speed and frequency as the custard comes up to 80°C. Use a thermometer here.

Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and whisk in the chocolate and the salt.

Stir often while cooling to lukewarm then cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed closely to the top.

Chill overnight.


FOR THE PASTRY

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the butter.

Rub the butter into the flour until the butter lumps are the size of peas – this will melt during baking, making the pastry super flaky.

Mix the water, yolk, and vinegar and add to the buttery flour. Bring the dough together – it should feel stiff and tacky all at once.

Flatten into a fat disc and rest for fifteen minutes before rolling in the fridge.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick and cut eight x 11cm circles. (Make cheese twists with the leftover dough!).

Press well into 9 or 10 cm deep tartlet tins and freeze (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Weigh the pastry down with another tin, patty pan or foil and then some raw legumes or blind baking weights- push the foil and weights hard into the corners.

Place in oven, then turn the oven down to 155°C immediately.

To assemble the tarts, divide one punnet of fresh raspberries between the baked tart shells.

Carefully spoon the chocolate brûlée mix on top, being gentle so the pastry doesn’t shatter (if you’re nervous, chill the pastry for thirty minutes before filling). Even out the top, but leave them ever so slightly domed.

Sprinkle castor sugar on top and melt the sugar to deep, rich golden brown with a blowtorch.

Allow the caramel to harden for a minute before serving

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