170g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
1 medium egg
260g standard plain flour
30g good-quality cocoa powder
100g pecan nuts
125g caster sugar
40ml cold water
200ml double cream
250g milk chocolate
150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate
To make the pastry, in a large mixing bowl, lightly beat butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until a light, creamy consistency has been achieved. Add egg and mix until combined. Sift in flour and cocoa and mix to a paste. Only mix until the paste comes clean off the bowl. Be careful not to over-mix or pastry will become too elastic and doughy. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes or, even better, overnight. Gently re-work pastry before using, taking care to ensure it remains cold and firm. Roll out 300g of the pastry (freeze the rest for future use) on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and use it to line a 35cm × 10cm loose-bottomed tart tin, trimming the edges. Refrigerate for one hour.
Line the tart with aluminium foil and fill with baking blind material. Bake blind in a preheated 180°C (gas mark 4) oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake the case until dry and crisp (10 minutes).
To make the filling, spread the pecan nuts on a baking paper-lined oven tray and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over a medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, cook until caramel in colour (6–8 minutes), then pour over pecans. Stand until set (10 minutes), then blend in a food processor until roughly ground. Set aside until needed.
Bring the cream to a simmer over a medium heat, add milk chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in two-thirds of the praline mixture. Pour into the baked pastry case and refrigerate until set (1½ hours).
To make the Ganache Topping, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add dark chocolate. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat. Remove the set tart from refrigerator, spread ganache over tart, and then sprinkle with any remaining praline. Refrigerate until topping is just set (approximately one hour). Cut into slabs with a hot knife and serve immediately, and, if you must have something with it, a dollop of crème fraîche.
Recipe from Pie by Dean Brettschneider, £25
Photography: Aaron McLean, Published by Jacqui Small