Chocolate Pastry is so buttery and crispy, one bite crumbles into a thousand pieces and melts in the mouth, But despite its deep flavour and crumbly texture, chocolate pastry is far less common than you would think, often being over looked for its paler cousins, Pate Brisee and Pate Sucre.

Chocolate pastry is so often reserved for just chocolate fillings, but it can work with some much more. Perfect with caramel and nut fillings, it make an incredible crust to contrast a passion fruit tart, as a base of a cheesecake or to even encase some lovely poached pears and frangipane filling. Suffice it to say chocolate pastry shouldn’t be limited to just chocolate fillings, live a little and try some different fillings for a change.

For the best results and superior flavour from your chocolate pastry I would recommend using the highest quality cocoa powder you can. I use Valrohna 100%, but there are plenty of others that you can choose from.

The trick to this pastry, as with all pastry, is practice. Getting pastry right can be frustrating and you may need one or two attempts to get it just right. But trust me, if you follow this fool-proof method you’ll master chocolate pastry in no time and I’m sure you’ll agree it is well worth it!

— Al Brady


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INGREDIENTS

175g flour
50g cocoa
50g sugar
140g butter
3 egg yolks
20ml water


METHOD

To make the pastry:
Place the dry ingredients in a table-standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on a slow speed to combine the butter and flour together, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Once you have achieved a breadcrumb texture, add the egg yolks and water to the flour and butter and continue to mix until the pastry start to come together. Remove the pastry from the mixer and using your hands, lightly work the pastry together until a smooth ball is formed. Wrap the dough tightly in cling film and chill for an hour.

To cook the pastry: 
Preheat the oven to 190ºC (gas mark 4). Roll the pastry out to a 5mm thickness and carefully roll the pastry onto the rolling pin. Using the rolling pin for support, carefully lay the pastry over the tart tin and then using your hand carefully lift the pastry edges and press down into the base of the tin. Chill the pastry case for 30 minutes, to help prevent shrinking and cracking during cooking.

Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind until the pastry is dark and crisp around the edges, then remove the beans and return to the oven to dry out.

Once the base is crisp and dry, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Use the cooked pastry case as required.


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When it comes to pastry, don’t expect to be a master overnight! Practice makes perfect!
So here are a few tips to help you on your way to ultimate pastry proficiency!

 KEEP YOUR HANDS HIGH
When rubbing the butter into the pastry make sure to keep the fat as cold as possible. If the butter is too soft, you run the risk of the fat melting during the rubbing in stage, resulting in an oily dough that’s difficult to work with.

DON’T FORCE IT
Don’t force the dough together too soon. Continue to work the pastry until the dough starts to come together. If you force the dough together while still in a breadcrumb like state then the end result will be a crumbly dry pastry, almost impossible to roll.

AVOID OVER-WORKING
Avoid over-working the dough. More mixing than necessary will cause the gluten to develop, making the dough difficult to work with and producing a tough crust.

ROLL EVENLY
Roll the dough gently and gradually, ensuring an even thickness so the pastry cooks evenly. Flour and turn the pastry as necessary in order to prevent the pastry sticking.

CHILL PROPERLY
Chill the pastry thoroughly after forming the dough and shaping the dough. This will help combat the shrinking effect that occurs when the pastry is cooked. It will also set the butter in the dough properly preventing it from melting out when being put in the oven.