This is a combination of a chcolate tart recipe I have known for sometime, and a twist of my own imagination! I feel that it is one that some might shun, for the flavours are kinda out there….but they are flavours that go well together and I must say, I am a great advocate for trying out new ideas..so have a try and see what you think!

Herbs don’t have to accompany only savoury dishes, and I decided to try this because of a ‘Panacotta with Orange and Bay syrup’ recipe that I love! It actually works really well and the textures make it a really fun pudding becasue there are so many!

Now firstly, before you do anything, if you have a week to spare, then set aside a pot of sugar and pop in a few bay leaves, say two or three. This infuses the sugar very subtly, much like putting vanilla in sugar will make a ‘vanilla sugar.’ If you don’t have this sugar by the time you come to make the pudding then it’s not the end of the world, but without it, you’ll just have a Chocolate Orange Tart instead..without the twist!

Ingredients: Serves 12
Ready made puff pastry/some sweet short crust pastry (I’d go for the latter if you have time, but for a quick and easy pud, the former is your safest bet!)
350ml double cream
400g dark chocolate
1 tbsp coca powder
4 Eggs
A dash of vanilla essence
Grated zest of 3 oranges
The bay sugar (or just sugar if you haven’t made it)

Method:
Roll out the pastry until it is fairly thin and line your tart tin. Poke a few holes in the bottom. If you are going down the shortcrust route, then bake it blind for ten minutes in a preheated oven at 180 oC.

In a heavy based saucepan, heat the cream until almost boiling, but not quite. When it is really hot, add the chocolate and stir until it is al melted. Now add the cocoa powder and whisk in. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla essence and eggs, whisking in thoroughly. Finally, add the orange zest. Now put this mixture into the tart base and bake in the oven for roughly 40mins, or until it has reached the stage where it is slightly wobbly but mostly set. As it cools, the filling will set more anyway.

When the tart has cooled down completely, sprinkle the top generously with the sugar.

Now for the fun bit! If you have a blow torch, use it to crystalise the sugar to the point of burning it, but not quite! The other option is to put it under the grill, although this doesn’t have quite the same effect becasue it slightly melts the very top of the chocolate. But that doesn’t matter, so long as you achieve the crunch!

When you cut the tart, the sugar will obviously crack a little, but the tart will be moussy and delicious and it tastes soooooo good!