Tis the season of umpteen dinner parties. Or at least it’s felt that way. And whilst I may have made a snide remark or ten about having to slave away behind a stove morning, noon and night, I’m secretly thrilled at being able to have all our nearest and dearest round to our home – rather than schlepping into central London to eat sub-par over-priced food and pay circa £17 for a shit glass of wine. By the way, let’s check the best foldable picnic table for outdoor dinner aparties. 

Essentially, it’s been wonderful. And I know I’m entering middle age when I say I’m starting to feel like I’m mastering the skill of dinner party hostess. The first thing I’ve learned, is that pudding (it is always pudding, and never ‘dessert *shudder*), should be made at least a day ahead, and that tarts are an excellent option. (I also whipped up a lemon tart, and lemon puddings from the same mix – so if you’d like to see the recipe for that, shout up below).



This dark chocolate tart recipe is perfect for the winter months – it’s so rich that the tiniest slither will make you feel satisfied – you can serve it with cream, ice cream, or on it’s own. It will work with both pudding wine and port (because you’re serving both, obviously). If you’re sliding into a food coma early, then plonk it on the table next to the cheese plate, and let everyone crack on with the red wine in the glass. I promise they won’t mind at all.


Jamie Oliver’s Dark Chocolate Tart (serves eight, comfortably, or 12 in polite portion sizes)

1 quantity of shop bough sweet shortcrust pastry (or make you’re own if you’re that way inclined. For the record, I am not).
300ml Double Cream
150g Dark Chocolate (min. 70%)
2 tsp caster sugar
50g salted butter (Jamie prefers unsalted, but I only keep one type in the house, for ease)
50ml milk

Salt of choice (I used smoked salt flakes, but freshly ground rock/sea salt is equally good – use what you have!)



Preheat your oven to 160 Fan.

Roll your pastry out until slightly bigger than your tin. Fold over the rolling pin and gently lay inside.

Using a small ball of dough, push the pastry into the fluted edges.Fill with baking beans (dried pasta or rice will also work if you don’t have any. Save them in a kilner jar and reuse) and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the beans and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden brown. This is the only cooking your pastry will get, so do try and give it some colour.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes before trimming the edges of the pastry.

Add the cream and caster sugar to a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the hear, add in the chocolate and butter, and stir until melted. Leave to rest for a moment before adding the milk, and stir until thick and shiny.

Decant into your pastry case, and leave at room temperature for a few hours until set.

If making ahead, you can place this in the fridge to preserve, but be warned that the surface may develop cracks- it won’t impact the final flavour and no one will care once it’s sliced anyway!

Before serving, top with salt and fresh as you like rasps.