Every now and then, I provide cakes for informal birthday parties in my boyfriend’s office. On the one hand, it gives me a reason for baking which is always a good thing. On the other hand, the guys are always pretty pleased with the results and give me some more money than necessary for the ingredients. I would not call it an income but it’s nice to get shown some appreciation in a measurable way.
To cater for a crowd of hungry engineers, I usually make a small round cake and a baking tray. The small one always has to be a chocolate cake – all guys are just the same when it comes to sweet things. A chocolate sponge filled and frosted with chocolate ganache and raspberry jam proved to be a real crowd pleaser. However, having already made the whole lot once this week, I decided to try something different. Additionally, the order came on short notice and I didn’t feel like going to the supermarket twice a day. Therefore, a quick look into the fridge: I always have a little supply of chocolate so the key ingredient was not a problem. However, there was almost no cream left and only a little cream cheese. Instead, a big tub of low-fat sour cream sat on the shelf. I’m not extremely fond of American cheese cake but don’t they throw sour cream into it? How would this pair with chocolate? Too sour or just a nice counterpart to cut down the sweetness? Partly out of curiosity and partly out of mere necessity, I decided to give it a shot.
Fortunately, I had some leftover shortcrust pastry in the freezer which just has to thaw. In the meantime, I start with the filling by melting 150g of chocolate. I add cream, cream cheese, and sour cream – and the stuff tastes far too acidic. What to do? After all, I don’t want to disappoint the guys. Frantically, I stir in four tablespoons of cocoa – still not chocolatey enough. Okay, more chocolate has to be melted. It’s getting better but still not sweet enough. Some icing sugar is stirred in, followed by some rum essence to lift it up a bit. And step by step, I start to feel like having created something really good! To balance the taste a little bit, I add a small egg yolk and notice that I really like it by now. However, I'm still a bit insecure. Would it get firm enough for slicing? Would it match the pastry base? Would the engineers like it?
I pour the filling into the tart shell. The smooth and shiny surface of my experimental tart looks already good to me but I want to dress it up with some walnut caramel. Those dark golden bits have a stunning look and add a much welcomed crunch.
The next day, the engineers clean their plates even faster than usual.
A fully baked tart shell, 20 centimeters in diameter.
(I used a recipe from the bible for German down to earth food - Hedwig Maria Stuber: Ich helf Dir kochen)
250 g dark chocolate
300g sour cream, light
1 ½ tablespoons cream cheese
4 tablespoons thickened cream
4 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons icing sugar
½ bottle of rum essence
1 egg yolk
A handful of walnut halves, chopped
4 tablespoons sugar
Break chocolate into pieces; melt over a bowl with hot water. Thoroughly stir cream cheese into the warm chocolate using a wire whisk.
Add cream and sour cream; add cocoa and icing sugar, stirring vigorously.
Add half of the bottle of rum essence, maybe ten drops. You could use real rum but I reckon the mixture would get too runny. Stir in egg yolk.
When the mixture has cooled completely, pour into tart shell and pop into the fridge until firm (or overnight).
For the walnut caramel, melt sugar over medium heat until golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in walnut pieces. Spread the sticky mixture on parchment paper using a knife. When cool to the touch and firm, chop into crumbles. Decorate the firm chocolate filling with walnut caramel. Chill the tart until serving.
My very own creation