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Niall McKenna's chocolate tart and chocolate swirl meringue

THIS week's recipes are two tasty chocolate desserts that are sure to cure those sweet cravings.

Anyone who has ever been to my restaurants will know that I love a good dessert and these two are great for family meals or get-togethers.

The chocolate tart is a bit more complex as it involves making fresh pastry. However, if baking pastry is not for you, you can always buy a pre-made pastry case and make the creamy chocolate filling yourself.

The second is a staple at our dinner table, as I always crave something sweet after a savoury meal.

Meringues are so simple to make, and the addition of chocolate swirl makes them taste even better. Meringues can simply be enjoyed with fresh whipped cream or dressed up with fruit, cream and a raspberry coulis.

CHOCOLATE TART

Sweet Pastry

500g plain flour

250g unsalted butter

125g icing sugar

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 whole egg

A little cold water to bind

Milk Chocolate Tart filling to make one 30cm tart

375g 55 per cent chocolate

3 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

200ml double cream

175ml milk

Method

Place the flour, butter and icing sugar into a large clean bowl.

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.

Add the eggs to the mixture and using a cold knife stir until the dough binds together. If the mixture is too dry, add some cold water (a teaspoon at a time).

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 15-30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to cover the size of the tart case. Butter the case before placing the pastry into it.

Try not to rip or tear the dough as the case will become soft and break.

Prick the case with a fork, insert greaseproof paper in the interior and add baking beans.

Preheat oven to 180C and blind bake for 30 minutes. Remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until golden.

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie.

In a separate pan, bring the milk and cream to the boil.

Whisk the eggs before pouring the hot milk and cream mixture onto the eggs, whisking continuously.

Pass the mixture through a sieve and then pour onto the melted chocolate and whisk.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked tart case.

Place the tart in a preheated oven (160C) and cook for 10 minutes.

CHOCOLATE SWIRL MERINGUES

4 egg whites

225g caster sugar

1tbsp corn flour

1 rounded tbsp of cocoa

Method

Start by preheating the oven to 150C and lining a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Place the egg whites and the caster sugar in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water. You do not want the bowl to touch the water as the eggs will scramble but you do want the bowl to warm.

Stir the mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved and the mix has become hot.

Remove the bowl from the heat and set on the work bench.

Using an electric whisk, start to whisk the mixture until it becomes thick and glossy, then add in the corn flour and mix again.

Using a sieve add in the cocoa powder and then using a large spoon, fold in the mixture, only fold this twice as you do not want to lose the cocoa stripe.

Spoon the mix onto a baking sheet - approximately 6 large meringues should come out of the mix.

Place the baking tray in the oven and reduce the heat to 110 and cook for 1 hour 10 minutes.

Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven until the oven cools. Once cooled, remove from the oven and serve with fresh whipped cream.

 

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