We all need one or two dessert recipes that wow friends and family and do not require hours in the kitchen cooking and decorating.
Until now I have had three of these desserts but now I have a fourth and I must say its going to be on regular rotation when I need to make a dessert.
Desserts that need decorating are my least favourite thing to do. I am openly honest when I say I lack creative flair and ability therefore icing, cake decorating, piping and fondant skills are definitely not my forte or something I long to do (but secretly wish I could do!).
This tart is simple to make. There are some quick hacks that you can use if time is of the essence, but if you have the time the making of the meringue and pastry is not overly time consuming and then you can whip out that piping bag and give it a crack like I did!
A lot of people find meringue difficult so here is a few tips:
Your bowl and beater needs to be 100% clean and dry;
Egg whites need to be at room temperature;
Do not put more than 2-3 drops of food colouring into the egg whites. If you want a more vibrant colour use a gel.
You must put the sugar in slowly a little bit at a time and make sure its fully incorporated before you add more.
Do not open the door during baking and leave the meringue in the oven until it is totally cool.
The tart is quite rich and does not need a lot to accompany it and the addition of the small meringue kisses adds the crunch and a bit of wow factor without making it to heavy to finish a meal. Top with some whipped cream and strawberries and you have an eye and stomach pleasing dessert which family and friends will love.
You will make more meringue kisses than needed they can be stored in an airtight container for 7 days and still be a great little snack treat to have.
Prep time 2.5 hours (including setting time of tart and decorating)
2 cups of plain flour
3 tbs cater sugar
150g cold butter chopped
2-3 tbs iced water
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
2-3 drops of pink food colouring
200g good quality dark chocolate
600m thickened cream
Fresh strawberries to decorate
In a food processor add flour, butter and sugar and blitz until it makes a fine crumb.
Add the iced water and knead until the dough is smooth (approx 5min by hand) or use the dough insert in your food processor.
Roll into a ball and cover with cling wrap and place in fridge for at least 30min.
Preheat oven to 100 degrees and line a baking tray with paper and set aside.
Place egg whites and food colouring in your food processor and whip until stiff peaks have formed.
With the mixer running SLOWLY (yes capitals because you must go slowly) incorporate the sugar 1tsp at a time making sure the sugar has dissolved before you add more.
When all the sugar has been incorporated continue to mix for an additional 2-3 min to ensure the sugar has dissolved.
Place meringue in your piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe small amounts on to the tray.
Place in oven and bake for approx 40min or until the meringue easily comes off the baking paper.
Turn oven oven and leave the door slightly open for the meringues to cool.
When cool place in an airtight container.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out until you have approximately 3mm thickeness.
Spray your tart case (I used a long rectangle but you can use a large round tart case or individual tart cases its up to you) with cooking pray and carefully place the dough inside the case(s) and then pierce the bottom with a fork.
Place baking paper over the top and place uncooked rice or baking balls on top of the baking paper and bake for 10 min. Remove the baking paper and bake for an additional 10min and then remove from the oven and cool in the tray.
While the pastry is baking chop your chocolate into small pieces and set aside.
Place 1/2 cup thickened cream in a saucepan and over a low heat stir the cream until hot (do not boil the cream).
Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted and you have a smooth glossy chocolate sauce.
Poor over the pastry and place it in the fridge to set (about 1 hr).
When the tart is set its time to decorate!
Whip the remaining cream until firm and place into a piping bag with a star nozzle.
At intervals place meringue kisses and in between each kiss pipe some whipped cream.
Add your fresh strawberries and your tart is now complete!
Quick Hacks if time is of the essence!
You can use store bough shortcrust pastry and then blind bake the pastry before adding the chocolate mixture.
Both Coles and Woolworths have meringue kisses which are perfect to use for this recipe!