I first heard of Willie Harcourt Cooze on a Channel 4 documentary a few years ago. Willie gave up all all he had to pursue his dream and he went to South America with the hope of creating the purest cacao in the world.
As soon as the documentary finished, the unusually shaped cylinders of pure cacao hit the shelves and they were completely gone in hours. We had to wait in suspense for the restock of Cuban, Venezuelan Black and Rio Caribe. And the day they finally arrived i drove back home fast, as I could not wait to taste it. Greed is the excitement caused by the anticipation and I am greedy.
My tart today is seriously decadent. A wonderful chocolate crust brushed with local warm thyme honey encases a filling of ground hazlenuts, pure ground almonds and Cuban Cacoa from Baracoa. This is cooled down and brushed with a ganache of chocolate then topped with a scatter of bee pollen that looks like gold specs on the dark chocolate, bright yellow gold dust. Bee pollen is not produced here and it is imported to the island from other Mediterranean countries. The taste of this tart is as dramatic as the visual impact…
You will need a 12 inch tart dish
Heat oven to 170 degrees
Baking time about 30 to 35 minutes. Prep Time 30 minutes
Ingredients for Sweet Chocolate Pastry
50g Cocoa powder
100 g Butter
5g Baking Powder
3 drops Vanilla Extract
70 g Water
Sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the softened butter cut up into small pieces and rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla extract. Mix the sugar with water until it has dissolved and mix into the dry ingredients until they bind evenly. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for at least 15 minutes.
Ingredients for Chocolate Nut Filling
150 g Pure Ground Almonds
150 g Pure Ground Hazlenuts
150 g Sweet crumbs from left over cakes crumbled up like breadcrumbs
150 g cream or evaporated milk
100g cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Thyme honey
6 large tablespoons Grated Chocolate, I used Cuban chocolate from Baracoa
4 drops Vanilla Extract
Tip of a teaspoon instant coffee
To finish : 150 g Dark Chocolate, 15 g cream and bee pollen to scatter
In a large bowl mix the ground almonds and hazlenuts, sugar and sweet crumbs. Add sieved cocoa powder, grated chocolate, vanilla, instant coffee and mix well. Finally add the well beaten eggs, evaporated milk or cream and mix with wooden spoon until the mixture is even. Test for a dropping consistency and if necessary add another egg.
Grease the tart dish. Open the rested pastry with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Line the dish. Trim the pastry neatly and dock it with a fork. Spread the warm honey on the bottom of the pastry and then fill with the ground nut and chocolate mix. Take a spoon and dip in hot water and run over the surface of the filling to achieve a tidy finish. Bake in a hot oven at 170 degrees for 30- 35 minutes. When baked cool on a wire rack.
To finish off, melt 150g of Dark Chocolate and spread it on the tart. You can either use a palate knife but I like to brush it on with a large pastry brush in several layers. Decorate as desired. i have sprinkled bee pollen on mine and it looks beautiful. Store in an airtight tin. This tart will keep very well in an airtight container and in fact the flavour will improve.