John Whaite's Caramelised Walnut and Baileys Chocolate Silk Tart
- 20cm tart ring/tin
- Piping bag with plain writing nozzle
- Dry rice/beans (to use as baking beans)
For the Chocolate Pastry
- 125 g caster sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter softened
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 1 medium egg
- 180 g plain flour plus extra for dusting
- 20 g cocoa powder
For the Caramelised Walnuts
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g walnuts roughly chopped
For the Filling
- 125 g milk chocolate
- 125 g 60% dark chocolate
- 50 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 30 g light brown muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 50 ml Baileys Original Irish Cream
- 50 g double cream
- 2 tbsp Baileys Original Irish Cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- First make the pastry. Put the sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy and the sugar has more or less dissolved into the fat. In a small bowl beat the salt and egg until broken down, then add to the bowl with the butter mixture and beat in – the mix may curdle, but that’s totally normal, just beat it until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Sift over the flour and cocoa powder, then use a butter knife or dough scraper to cut everything together until the mixture starts to form small clumps. As soon as it does, use your hands to bring the pastry into a cohesive dough – though don’t overwork it. It will be quite soft, so scoop it onto a piece of clingfilm, flatten into a disc, wrap up, and chill for at least 30 minutes – though the longer the better.
- While the pastry chills make the caramelised walnuts. Set a medium, dry saucepan over a fairly high heat. Once the pan is hot sprinkle in the sugar and allow to melt. If the sugar starts to burn, give it a gentle stir and remove it briefly from the heat. Allow the mixture to melt and turn a dark, rusty copper colour. When it does, throw in the walnuts and stir to coat, then tip onto a piece of baking paper and allow to set and cool for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
- When the pastry has chilled, knead it very briefly to soften it, then dust the worktop and a rolling pin liberally with flour. Roll the pastry out until it is about 4mm thick and use it to line the tart ring/tin. Ensure the pastry is tucked right into the corner of the tin and allow the surplus pastry to hang over the sides. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper, then unwrap it and use it to line the pastry case. Fill the baking paper with dry rice/beans, so they come all the way up the sides of the pastry. Bake the pastry for 20 minutes, then remove the rice/beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then use a serrated knife to carefully saw away the overhanging pastry – save it for decoration.
- Roughly chop the cooled, caramelised walnuts. Scatter all but a small selection into the base of the pastry case.
- To make the filling, put the chocolates and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir gently every now and again, until everything has melted together. Set aside, then put the sugar, eggs and Baileys into a separate heatproof bowl. Whisk together, again over the heat, just until the mixture is much looser and feels hot when you dip a finger in it – if it scrambles, you’ll have to start again, so keep the mixture moving when it’s over the heat.
- Pour the hot egg mixture into the melted chocolate and whisk together until you have a very smooth, very glossy and impossibly silky mixture. Pour the mixture into the pastry case, covering the walnut pieces completely. Allow to cool and set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Whip the cream, Baileys and icing sugar until the cream just holds its shape, then spoon randomly over the silk pie. Decorate with the reserved pastry crumbs and chopped caramelised walnuts, then serve.
About John Whaite
John Whaite is a British food writer and cook. He studied at Le Cordon Bleu, though his love of food came from learning at his mother’s knee. He writes frequently for UK publications, such as the Telegraph, and is resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine. He is also co-host of ITV’s hit daytime show, Chopping Block.
Food has always been John’s passion. He grew up on a dairy farm where he learned about British produce and the importance of supporting local food producers and artisan crafters. His parents also owned a fish and chip shop, where John started his first job – as potato peeler – at just 10. Even earlier than that, he was always keen to make ‘a living’ from food, selling bags of pick and mix to his peers at school – without the teachers knowing, of course.
Gaining a first class degree in Law from the University of Manchester after declining a place to study at Oxford University, John decided to hang up the gown and don the apron, a decision spurred on after he won the third series of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.