the bake off bake along, week 9

how funny– we all started bake off in the beginning of august and now instead of sundresses, i’m wearing hoodies to bake! i was pretty thrilled about chocolate week, because guys, i think that alternative ingredients week killed my baking mojo. i was such an ambitious, chipper little squirrel that first week with my madeira cake, but every week especially after that turning point, i have rarely liked my bakes. then i almost quit during victorian week, so it’s been a bumpy ride.

and perhaps you noticed… i didn’t even post a bake last week! i really wanted to, but with a weekend in the city planned, i only had friday afternoon to bake and that did not account for a re-bake, which is what i needed after my genoise sponge cake didn’t rise properly. 

so, onto the lovely chocolate week! for the first time in about a month, i was genuinely looking forward to the bake. i chose the signature, a chocolate tart and decided to make it a dark chocolate pumpkin tart! now that it’s october, i have two months to put pumpkin into every bake or meal i make with impunity. i would’ve never thought that chocolate would go so nicely with pumpkin, but it really does!

before the bake, i roasted a pumpkin to get pumpkin puree, which is not available to purchase in stores here if you can believe it. however, for the past two years i’ve found that roasting my own pumpkin, then scooping out and mashing the warm flesh makes perfectly wonderful fresh puree, no blender necessary. all’s you do is scoop out the innards, cut it into fourths, place it face down on a baking tray with paper underneath, and roast at 375F/190C for about an hour or until the flesh is soft.

first i made my chocolate crust from this recipe of martha’s– it came out so deliciously, i was eating the extra mixture. then i pressed it into my 8×8" pyrex instead of rolling it out, baked for about 15 minutes and put in the fridge, then freezer to cool. (i do intend to keep with the two and a half hour baker’s time limit, you know!)

then to make my two fillings: first, a dark chocolate filling (from this recipe) made with over two bars of dark chocolate, cream, vanilla, eggs, and salt. while that set a little, i made the pumpkin filling essentially the same way, but instead of vanilla, with the inclusion of autumn spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. mmmmm.

i have to admit that i actually did mean to layer the fillings, but since i’d never done this before, i was silly and didn’t bake the first layer separately before adding the second. so of course, the pumpkin kind of sunk into the chocolate, but i swirled it around, forming a nice marbled consistency instead. it’s not the most beautiful creation, but i did like the effect the marbling had in the end.

about about 35 minutes in the oven at 150 C (fan oven), i took it out when the filling looked set at least three inches from all sides, as i knew the middle would continue setting on its own even after removal from the oven.

my kitchen reeked of chocolate at this point and i was so pleased! but, the taste test? i sort of just zoned out in bliss with my eyes crossed and the richness of the chocolate, and the pumpkin tasted just like pumpkin pie with the same consistency. i didn’t finish my whole slice because it was soooo rich and i needed to pour myself something to drink to go with it.

let’s see what alex thought!
oh my….. this has got to be your best bake yet. i’m in trouble with this one! it’s like half brownie, half pumpkin pie.
do you think chocolate goes well with pumpkin?
yes, especially dark chocolate. 

so if you ever couldn’t decide on pumpkin pie or a chocolate tart– this one’s your answer! perhaps not my prettiest bake, but definitely a contender for most delicious. 

the final week is upon us, next week! bake off is ending! i don’t know whether to laugh or cry!