This is my go-to dessert when I *really* want to impress...
There's just something about the combination of fresh, tart raspberries offset against the richness of white chocolate and a hint of sourness from creme fraiche, with a crispy dark chocolate pastry encasing it...
Painting the cooled pastry case with a thin layer of dark chocolate means you're not going to get the dreaded 'soggy bottom', and keeps in all the lovely, juicy raspberry filling. It might look a little scary, but trust me - baking is definitely my weak point, and so this one is pretty foolproof and nowhere near as difficult as you might think!
So, now you just need an excuse to make one... right?
This recipe makes six to eight portions, but I also like to double it up (as in the photo above) to feed a crowd.
2 tbsp Chambord black raspberry liqueur (or you could use Cassis)
200ml creme fraiche
225ml double cream
175g good quality white chocolate (e.g. Green & Black's)
Optional extra raspberries, mint leaves and icing sugar to decorate
For the pastry
120g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp good quality cocoa powder (e.g. Green & Black's, plus a little extra for dusting etc.)
1 tbsp icing sugar
60g chilled butter (plus extra for greasing)
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsp ice cold water
Dark chocolate, melted, to paint inside of pastry case (30-40g should be enough)
Firstly, prepare the filling and leave to cool. Heat the creme fraiche in a pan with 100ml of the double cream until piping hot (don't boil), then break the white chocolate into it and leave for a minute. Stir until the white chocolate has all melted and mixed evenly with the cream. Cover with cling film, with a couple of holes punched in it, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Next, place the raspberries in a bowl with the liqueur, very lightly crush them with a fork, just enough to let a small amount of juice out, and leave to macerate while you make the pastry.
For the pastry, sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a food processor. Add the cold butter and blitz briefly until combined. Add the egg yolk, and a tablespoon of ice cold water and process again until the pastry comes together. You may need to add a second tablespoon of cold water. Once the pastry comes together, wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200C / 400F. Grease a 22cm tart tin (if you have doubled up the quantities, use a tin 28-29cm - mine is fluted, as you can see!).
Sift some flour, mixed with a little more cocoa powder onto a pastry board (or you could roll it out onto cling film, to make it easier to pick up and place in the tin). Roll out the pastry thinly, and then place in the tin, pressing in the edges (it's easiest to use a little ball of pastry to press it into the edges, especially if your tin is fluted!) and leaving an overhand (it will look neater if you trim it after cooking).
Place some foil or non-stick baking paper over the base, and weigh down with baking beans or coins (ceramic beans, or even just some old dried beans you won't use are fine - keep them set aside for future baking occasions!). Place in the oven and bake blind for 20 minutes. Then remove the beans and foil/paper and bake for a further 10 minutes until crisp and slightly coloured. Set aside to cool (still in the tin)
completely. Once cool trim the edges carefully with a sharp knife, then melt the dark chocolate (I find it easiest done in bursts in the microwave), and paint the inside of the pastry case (it looks neater if you don't paint the chocolate on the top of the rim that you've just trimmed, but keep it all inside).
Pop into the fridge for the chocolate to set (this won't take long). Take the white chocolate/creme fraiche/cream mixture out of the fridge. Drain any excess juices from the raspberries into it and mix in, then whist the remaining double cream until thick, but still soft rather than rigid (if you over-whip, you can rescue it by adding a little milk, and slowly mixing in with a whisk). Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
Arrange the crushed raspberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pastry case. Carefully 'blob' the white chocolate filling over the top, and gently smooth over (a rubber spatula is a good tool for this). Chill for at least another hour before serving, preferably more.
Just before serving, dust very lighty with a hint of cocoa powder (you don't want a thick layer), and if desired, arrange some raspberries tumbling over each other in the centre with a few mint leaves tucked in, anda little dusting of icing sugar over the fruit.
Serve to delighted recipients... if you wanted to gild the lily, you could even knock up a quick raspberry coulis with some raspberries and sugar in a pan, to serve on the side.