OK, I am aware that these gaps are getting longer and longer. Most of the time nowadays I find myself uninspired to cook. Sure, there are those days when I chop up eggplants for a sautéed something something, but on other days all the work I want to do is to reach for my phone and dial KFC. And after finishing off almost half a bucket, I sit around rubbing my tummy and wishing I’d actually made something. No, it’s not a pretty picture.
I know that this sort of information should not be advertised on a site like this one, where I’m claiming to lead a life in food and gluttony. But in about two seconds I’m going to make it up to you.
Come on in to my kitchen everyone. It’s a rainy day and we’re having pie!
Pie is just right for a rainy day, if you think about it. You’re stuck inside with not a lot to do. You want to get your hands wet and you want the end result to be magnificent. Pie does that. Cake does that too…but all the effort that goes into a pie somehow makes you feel happier.
Pie requires you to pay attention. It requires you to wait patiently with a warm cup of Darjeeling while the crust chills in the refrigerator. It builds up your expectations as you smell it through the oven door. And then it makes you run for a tea plate and a fork.
I have an appropriate pie for you today. Its got chocolate (like you already didn’t know that) and beer. Yes beer.
I know you’re either probably rolling your eyes right now or not gasping in surprise. And why would you. What with all the Guinness Cakes in our lives, pairing chocolate with beer is hardly surprising at this point of time in Blogger Land. And that’s not where it stops. All that dark malt-y gorgeousness is followed by piles of dreamy boozy frosting. We know of the beer brownies, of the beer cake pops and of the beer puddings. In fact, sometimes I think food bloggers buy beer just so they can make a cake out of it. They’re saying, “Oh, we’re having a dinner party and all our friends are beer-drinkers!” but they’re secretly thinking “We’re making boozy chocolate cake sucker, and you ain’t gettin’ any!”
Oh well. My pie’s going to show them.
It starts with chocolate, as all great things should.
You go on to add a little hot double cream to turn it into a ganache, and this ganache then is added to a mixture of beer and sugar. This pot of heaven is then thickened with egg yolks and a sprinkling of flour. You stir in each egg yolk pretending to be a domestic Goddess in her kitchen, baking to feed her subjects. And then you add the flour.
Soon enough, because you were too lazy to not stir vigorously, you end up with slightly lumpy mixture. For a second it makes you want to start over again. But you won’t. The creamy mixture gives off beer-heavy fumes and you decide to go ahead with pouring it into a pie-crust, all golden and hot out of the oven.
This tart is something (see how I smoothly shifted from “pie” to “tart”). Its smooth and delivers the sort of boozy punch that even rum doesn’t. It’s a good way to spend a wet day. It’s a good way to lure your friends in to your home. They come in weary that I might just start stuffing their ears with food talk, but they forget everything once this is put in front of them. The pie is a good way to eat chocolate. It’s a good way to inhale your favourite brew. It’s a good way to excuse yourself when you pile a mountain of whipped cream on top of it.
It’s just basically good. Very good.
Chocolate Beer Tart
adapted slightly from the Homesick Texan’s Grandma’s Chocolate Pie
Note on Beers: You can of course use a chocolate stout or Guinness. The richness of the tart is pumped by the use of Guinness. But don’t shy away from using a regular beer or your favourite brew. Ultimately you should go with the beer that you want to taste in the final product.
What you need:
Your favourite tart crust. I frequently use this one but occasionally I use this too.
100 gms of dark chocolate 70% (forget Valhrona for a second and go with Green & Black’s or Lindt on this one), chopped into even pieces
1/2 cup of double cream
1 cup of beer (see head note)
1/4 cup of castor sugar
4 egg yolks
2 heaped tbsp of all-purpose flour
While your tart crust bakes in the oven, put the chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream till it starts steaming. Don’t let it boil over.
Pour this steaming cream over the chocolate and let stand for a minute. Stir the mixture till the chocolate melts completely.
Add in beer and sugar and stir till most of the sugar has dissolved.
Add the egg yolks one by one, stirring between each addition. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the eggy mixture and stir vigorously till you’re sure there are no lumps. Don’t be lazy, yes?
Put the bowl over medium heat. And stir constantly and firmly while the mixture thickens considerably. Stirring firmly is essential because you need to make sure the bottom does not catch and the eggs don’t scramble. The mixture won’t thicken much in the oven, so you need to get it to thicken as much as you want at this point itself. It took me about five minutes on medium heat to reach the desirable consistency. Take the mixture off heat and cool it down.
When the mixture is almost at room temperature, give it a stir to break the skin that’s formed on the surface.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked tart crust and pop into the oven.
After fifteen minutes, turn the oven off completely and leave the tart in to cook in the residual heat. The tart comes out when the oven is completely cool.
Ideally, the tart should be rested in the refrigerator for an hour so before you devour it. But go ahead and dig in really, I swear no one’s looking.