Tart from above plating.jpg

This post is in collaboration with 

It's our birthday week, and as Aaron turned 39 yesterday, we are the exact same age for 24 hours only! Today I round my age out to 40 years (young), and I don't know what it is about these round numbered birthdays, but I seem to reflect more than I usually do. I remember turning 30 not long after we moved to Wellington, and so much has happened since then. A few big ones like starting The Forest Cantina and releasing my books to buying our first home, having Leo and then Jah finishing school and recently starting his apprenticeship. A lot can happen in a year and even more over a decade, and as time seems to fly by, I realise that although the big moments truly are milestones and blessings, to also find joy and appreciate the small things in between too. 


This year instead of making a cake, I have made this decadent chocolate tart to celebrate with. My friends at Lewis Road Creamery released five new ice cream flavours last week and asked me to pair my favourite one with a special dessert. I absolutely love their Chocolate Truffle one….and their Burnt Butter with Caramel Swirl was a very very close second! I created this 'Birthday chocolate tart with hemp seeds, raspberries and chocolate truffle ice cream'. It's a seriously indulgent dessert, and not only makes the BEST birthday treat but would also impress at a dinner party or any special occasion

SERVES | 12 
TIME | Begin the day before | 1 hour to make the tart + chilling, cooking and setting time 

1½ cup flour

3 tablespoons castor sugar

115g Lewis Road Creamery lightly salted butter, cubed

1 free-range egg yolk
1-3 tablespoons ice-cold water 


1 cup (250ml) Lewis Road Creamery single cream
300g chocolate, finely chopped (I used 50% chocolate)

1 tablespoon butter

Edible gold leaf

Chocolate pearls (I used Valhrona) 
Freeze-dried raspberries 

Slithered almonds 
Hemp seeds

1 cup frozen raspberries 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon cornflower 


Lewis Road Creamery Super Premium Chocolate Truffle with Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream
Edible flowers (I used Thyme flowers) 
Seeds or ground nuts to sit the ice cream on, I used hemp seeds 
Freeze-dried raspberries 

Prepare a tart tin (mine was 21cm round) by greasing it with butter, getting into all of the grooves around the edges, then dust with flour and bang out the excess and set aside. To make the pastry for the tart, put the flour, sugar and cubed butter into a food processor and pulse until you get biscuit-like crumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon ice water and pulse again. Test to see if the pastry is ready by pressing some of the mixture together in your fingers - if comes together easily and holds its form, it's ready. If not, add 1 tablespoon more ice water, pulse and check again - repeat if needed. Press the pastry into the tin (it is very crumbly, so you won't be able to roll it), and I start by doing the edges and finishing with the base. I used my coffee machine tamp to press down the base, but you can use a spoon or a jar to really set it in there firm. NOTE: if you want a thinner base, you may not need to use all of the pastry. Set the tart base in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. This allows the butter to harden and the gluten to relax so that when you cook it the pastry won't shrink. Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Once the pastry has chilled, take a piece of baking paper (large enough to cover the tart and the edges of it) and screw up, then open it up and line the tart with it. Fill it with baking weights, dry beans or rice then bake for 15 minutes. This step, filling the tart with weights stops the pastry from rising. Next, carefully remove the paper and weights and bake again for a further 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Set aside to cool. 

To make the tart filling, heat the cream in a medium-sized pot until it is hot but not boiling, then add the chocolate and the butter - give it a swirl so the chocolate is covered with the cream, and leave to sit for a few minutes. Whisk the mixture together until you get a smooth, glossy ganache. Once the pastry has cooled, pour the ganache in to fill. If there are any air bubbles you can try and get these out by either banging the tin gently on a hard surface or by using a skewer to poke them out - you need to do this before the ganache sets. Once the ganache has cooled put it in the fridge until it has completely set, 4 hours minimum, but overnight is better. Once the tart is set, finished it by decorating with your chosen garnishes. Set aside until you are ready to slice - I like to bring the tart to room temperature before serving, I feel the chocolate is silkier when it isn't straight from the fridge. 

To make the raspberry paint - it's basically just a coulis but I add a little cornflower to thicken it quickly so that it can be brushed onto the plate and hold its shape. Put the raspberries and sugar into a pot with a tablespoon of water and cook over medium heat for around 4 minutes, or until the raspberries are soft and it starts to thicken slightly. Remove, and pass through a sieve and discard seeds. Mix the cornflour with a little cold water and set aside. Put the sieved raspberry liquid back into the pot, and over medium-low, heat cook it gently again and add a little of the cornflour water at a time (you may only need to use a small amount of the cornflower water), stirring and cooking until it becomes a 'thin paint' consistency. It thickens further as it cools. Set aside.

When you are ready to serve and slice the tart, to get perfect slices, heat a knife under hot water so the blade is warm and can glide through the base and chocolate with ease - making sure you wipe off the water with a tea towel before slicing. I rinse, heat and wipe with every cut I make. Take serving plates and paint some of the raspberry paint on and place a slice of tart in the middle of the paint. Add a little pile of hemp seeds (or crushed nuts etc) next to the tart for the ice cream to sit on. This not only adds texture to the final dish but also stops the ice cream from sliding around on the plate. Next, scoop some Lewis Road Creamery Super Premium Chocolate Truffle with Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream on top. Garnish the plate with edible flowers and freeze-dried raspberries. Serve and enjoy! 

NOTE: If you are making this for a dinner party and you want to get ahead with the prep for it, you can pre-scoop the ice cream in advance. Just scoop and refreeze in a single layer in a large container.