Reub's journey

27 April 2011

Decadent British tart

Saul  and Daniella with John and the boys

 Last month we had delightful guests from the UK who were traveling across the US, soaking it all up. If you are curious about that, check out Saul's blog: I can't wait until he has a chance to write about their time in Texas, and hope that eventually he gets around to writing about Oregon. (I hope he is brutally honest and pays no attention to the fact that I will read every word he says. Seriously, what good is it if people can't say what they really think?)  I enjoyed Daniella, Saul's exotically beautiful and intensely intelligent wife, a fabulous blend of Italian and British, two of my favorite nationalities on the planet.

Usually I quietly keep to myself that I am a fan of style and fashion; couture and's all art, you know. But Daniella didn't mind a bit, and even shared an attraction to paisley rain boots.

While they were with us I baked a pie from last summer's blueberries. Gotta use these things up before it's time to pick them again.

So they left,  and apparently knowing that I couldn't resist, Daniella sent me a link to a very very decadent Pecan Crust Bourbon Chocolate Tart recipe.

Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian
Which brings me to today's topic, falling at least partially in the "Things I Should Have Known" category.

Number 1:  British recipes are metric. Good for them, because this is more accurate, and completely sensible. Bad for me, who once interpreted a 45km speed limit in Mexico to mean 60mph. (In my defense, it was flat, straight, and in the middle of the Sonoran desert, so why not? I paid $10 USD to get out of that one.)

 So, with the aid of Google I found the best conversion chart ever. It converts everything! However, when I should've been converting ingredients, instead I was busy discovering that I weigh a mere 9.643 stone, which sounds terrific.  (Eddy, who has been on a diet for months, weighs a mere 0.023 tonnes, and I am just 6.5 nautical miles from work.)

Number 2:  OK, back to the recipe. In Britain, what do they mean by "dark chocolate?"  I didn't know, so I went out and bought 3 different kinds: Hershey's Special Dark, Ghardelli's Bittersweet, and Nestle's Dark Chocolatier (for "decadent desserts" and twice the price of the others).  I used all of the Nestle's, some of the Ghardelli's, and a little of the Hershey's.

Number 3: Bourbon tastes terrible and I wondered if it would actually ruin this recipe.

 Number 4: Thought to self: "I have been hoarding these pecans from Alabama forever. Should I waste their beauty by grinding them to a powder and putting them in a crust?"

Number 5: "Golden syrup" is awesome and I am so proud that I have it. Great on peanut butter. Not exactly a health food, but then I'm not preparing granola here.

I should have known John wouldn't like it in his coffee, though.

Number 6: What is an 18cm round, deep tart pan? Instead I used a tiny muffin pan, bought for my daughter when she was 4 years old. And an 8 inch pie pan, not very deep. Close enough. Looking at this photo I wonder why my fingernails have developed ridges, and imagine that it's not a good thing.

Number 7: What is "double cream"? Probably whipping cream; I discovered that the carton in the fridge contained exactly 2 Tbsp, far short of the 300ml called for, so I substituted 1% milk. (You would too, admit it, late on a Sunday afternoon, instead of driving the 3 miles 4.828 km into town to buy more cream.)

Next time, I will probably use heavy cream instead of 1% milk, and this tart will be firmer, more like its picture in The Guardian.  Maybe I'll have the right sized pan; that'll help too. The chocolate was great. The bourbon was excellent, not all boozy and nasty, but just as it should be. There's enough left in the bottle to make six more of these things.

The pecans, sacrificing their beauty for the sake of the crust, were to die for.

There are two pieces left. A week ago I weighed 9.643 stone. If I eat both of these I may edge up to 9.714 stone. That sounds like nothing! I'm going to go for it.


  1. Oh my! Oh MY!!! (And I thought you were describing a woman in your title.)

  2. LOL. Oh that tart looks great. And I love the boots, they remind me of a rain slicker my sister had in the 60s. I think they would be a perfect match.

  3. oh, does that look good. two years ago my son made a pecan with brandied figs pie for Thanksgiving (it also called for golden syrup). no one really cared for it but me. I loved it and ate the whole damn thing (not all at once but over about a week) serving it up to myself with vanilla ice cream. yum!

  4. Ha Patience! I know the title was a bit ambiguous. I hope it wasn't too disappointing.

    Rebecca: I wonder what happened to that slicker. I could use it here in rainy OR.

    Ellen: I'm so glad you admit to eating the whole damn thing, b/c I think I ate most of this. John simply wasn't fast enough.

  5. I finally, after silence and a extreme change in my diet have a chance to respond! Heavy cream is the closest American cousin to double cream. In the UK you can get it sooooooooo thick its amazing.

    Dark chocolate would not be Hersheys, us Brits dont even consider it chocolate :( I'd say Green and Blacks is chocolate, or trader joes do some amazing dark chocolate.

    But it still looked yummy, I'll be sending you more recipes now you have the metric down :)

  6. Daniella: Now that you're vegan, heavy cream probably doesn't sound so great. I never thought about going to trader joes for chocolate, but I bet they do have some good stuff. Next time!
    Yeah, keep those recipes comin'


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